Since the creation of the English Premier League 28 years ago, a vast number of nationalities have christened the hallowed turf of UK football grounds. But, only a very small minority have come from across the Atlantic. Those that have, however, have left a vital legacy.
Just three Americans currently play in the top flight of English football: Christian Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin and Indiana Vassilev of Chelsea, Newcastle and Aston Villa respectively. All three of their sides will be in action at the weekend as the business end of the season approaches with Villa maintaining odds of 1/6 to be relegated. You can also check out other free soccer picks that will be available for every top flight game from now until the end of the season.
But, just which five Americans deserve their place as the Premier League’s best?
For the best of America, one name would top any and that is Brad Friedel. A 44-year-old when he retired at the end of the 2014-15 season, his tally of 310 consecutive appearances from 2004 to 2012 etched his name into the record books.
557 career appearances for the likes of Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur is no mean feat and the goalkeeper also went on to become Villa’s and Spurs’ oldest
ever player. A superb bet to shut out the opposition, Friedel amassed an outstanding 132 clean sheets in 450 Premier League appearances.
There seemed to be something in the goalkeeping water in the States as another bald-headed enforcer made his name at the back for a decade. Tim Howard began his England career at Manchester United, winning the FA Cup and League Cup, but appeared just 45 times before moving to Everton.
After signing on an initial loan deal, Howard moved permanently, making 354 appearances for the Goodison Park side. And, his clean sheet-to-appearance record betters that of Friedel’s with 132 shut outs in 399 top-flight games.
Howard’s 121 caps for the States is also the highest of any American goalkeeper in US history.
From saving goals to scoring them, Clint Dempsey proved a cult hero at Fulham after moving to Craven Cottage in 2007. The American scored 50 goals in 185 appearances for the London side, but the striker made history by becoming the first American to ever play in a major European final against Atletico Madrid in the 2010 Europa League finale.
Voted Fulham’s Player of the Year in successive seasons, Dempsey became the first American to notch a hat-trick in the top flight and the first to net 50 goals. Having enjoyed such a great career at Craven Cottage, the striker was snapped up by Spurs in 2012, though he scored just seven times in 29 games. Dempsey went back to Fulham on a loan spell in 2014, where he played five times.
Fulham had an affinity with Americans in the 2000s as Brian McBride became the first transatlantic capture for the London club in 2004. Made captain in 2007, McBride became another popular figure at Fulham, winning the club’s Player of the Year after helping to guide the Cottagers away from relegation.
After 33 goals in 140 games over a period of four seasons, McBride left for his home nation at the end of 2008.
There is one more to add to Fulham’s American experiments too: Carlos Bocanegra. The left-back arrived in London at the same time as his fellow countryman McBride and went on to make 116 appearances, netting eight times.
A formidable presence at the back, Bocanegra even captained Fulham briefly in 2007. The defender also scored 14 goals for the States in the process of earning 110 caps