Picking the Top 10 All-Time Americans in the EPL
Americans in the English Premier League have been making many headlines recently, including Clint Dempsey’s hat-trick, Tim Howard’s 80 yard wonder goal, Landon Donovan’s second successful loan stint and Brad Friedel’s contributions to Tottenham’s Champions League chase.
With Americans in England flourishing, let’s take a look at the top 10 American players to play in the English Premier League.
In England, Howard won the 2004 FA Cup starting in goal for Manchester United, was named to Best XI in England in 2004, led Everton to the FA Cup final in 2009 after stopping two penalties against former club Manchester United in the semifinals and holds Everton’s record for clean sheets.
With 43 goals in 171 appearances for Fulham, Clint Dempsey is arguably the best American field player in European history.
Last season, Dempsey set the American record for goals in a single season Premier League campaign with 12, a record which looks like he will beat this year because he already has 10 goals with 14 games to go.
Dempsey also holds Fulham’s all-time goal-scoring record, was voted Fulham’s Player of the Year for 2010-11 and led Fulham to the Europa League final in 2010.
With 450 appearances in the Premier League, Brad Friedel has established himself as one the league’s most consistent goalkeepers.
Friedel has started every single game in the Premier League going back to the 2003-4 season in a streak that has set the record for consecutive starts in the EPL, the soccer equivalent of Cal Ripken and Brett Favre’s accomplishments.
In his career in England, Friedel has won the 2002 League Cup, was the 2010 League Cup runner-up, was the Player of the Year for Blackburn and has been voted to the Premier League Starting XI team.
With 159 EPL appearances and 45 goals, Brian McBride was the first American to become a regular goal-scorer in England.
McBride’s warrior-like playing style earned him Fulham’s Player of the Year Honors twice, and during his career McBride did so much to endear himself to Fulham’s fans that one of the bars inside Craven Cottage was renamed “McBride’s.”
The first American to play in the English Premier League, Harkes accumulated 137 appearances in England’s top division.
Even though his goalscoring record is not that impressive, Harkes does have a few notable goals, including England’s Goal of the Year in 1990. Harkes was also only the second American to score at Wembley.
In his career, Harkes won the 1991 League Cup starting against Manchester United and started in both the FA Cup Final and the League Cup final in 1993.
Reyna also had successful stints in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg and in Scotland with Rangers.
In four seasons with Fulham, Bocanegra garnered 115 appearances and eventually captained the side, a rare honor for an American playing in Europe.
In his long European career, Bocanegra has also played for two clubs in Ligue 1 in France and currently plays in Scotland for Rangers.
Picking up 115 appearances in the Premier League with Fulham, Reading and Wolves, Hahnemann has amassed over 300 league appearances in English football.
During his career in Europe, Hahnemann has earned a number of dubious distinctions. In 2007, Hahnemann set the record for making the most saves in the Premier League. In 2010, Hahnemann was ranked as the best goalkeeper in Europe by the Castrol Index despite being routinely pummeled as the goalkeeper for Wolves.
Wegerle was the first American to accumulate a double-digit goal total in the English Premier League, racking up 13 goals for Blackburn and Coventry City in the early 1990s.
Wegerle’s journeyman-like career in England saw him pick up 174 appearances in all leagues for an astonishing six teams.
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