Since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, 37 different Americans have had at least one cap for a Premier League team. Some have been a great success, some have been a disappointment, some we’re still waiting to find out about. With the MLS growing rapidly and the amount of Americans being produced and sent to Europe increasing, it is an exciting time to be a fan of the United States national team. So in this list I’m going to highlight the top six Americans in my opinion to ever play in the Premier League.
6. Carlos Bocanegra
Starting our list off is UCLA graduate himself Carlos Bocanegra. Carlos played between 2004-2008 for Fulham making 116 appearances scoring 8 times. Carlos was always a powerful explosive defender who could play centrally or out wide. Carlos currently is an ambassador and director of football for the newly forming Atlanta United FC joining the MLS next season.
5. Jonathan Spector
Jonathan has played his entire career in England beginning at the Manchester United academy and making his way into the first team from 2003-2006 (but only made 3 appearances). Jonathan was then sent to West Ham where he made 101 appearances scoring once between 2006-2011. In 2011 Jonathan moved his trade to at the time Premier League team Birmingham where he still plays today.
4. Brad Friedel
Our second UCLA graduate on the list, this time legendary American goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Brad first moved to the Premier League in 1997 when he moved to Liverpool where he remained until 2000 making 25 appearances along the way. Brad was sold to Blackburn Rovers where he remained for eight years making 287 appearances (scoring once!). In 2008, he moved to Aston Villa making 114 appearances, until he moved to Tottenham in 2011 where he remained until he retired in 2015. He made 50 appearances at Tottenham and holds the record for being the oldest player to make an appearance for the club in a competitive match.
3. Brian McBride
Despite only making 140 appearances from 2004-2008 for Fulham, Brian was easily one of the best Americans to bring his trade to England. He scored 33 goals in those four years. His combination of pace and technical knowledgeable of the game, Brian is an American soccer legend who easily could of played more in England.
2. Tim Howard
Known as “The Sheriff” to many Americans, Tim is a living American soccer legend who played the majority of his career in the Premier League. He began with Manchester United in 2003 until 2005 where he made only 45 appearances. He was sent to Everton first on loan in 2006 and then permanently the following season. 352 appearances all together, scoring once, is remarkable. Despite his form for Everton falling off over the last season, he should go down as a hero with Evertonians.
1. Clint Dempsey
Captain America, The Prodigal Son, Deuce. Whatever you know him as, Clint Dempsey was a sensation in the Premier League. Signing for Fulham in 2007, Dempsey made 184 appearances for them until he left in 2012. Along the way he scored 50 goals. Clint moved to Tottenham, where he stayed for one season but made 29 appearances scoring seven times. In the 2010-2011 season, Clint was voted Fulham Player of the Year and was the team leader in goals with twelve. He led Fulham to their first Europa League spot.
How long will these players remain the top six? No one can be certain with players like Matt Miazga and Deandre Yedlin on the up and up, Americans are taking world football by storm and soon to be taking the Premier League by storm. God Bless the USA.