It was a huge year for Americans playing abroad in Europe as American footballers took another big step forward in proving they can compete among the best in the world.
Highlighting this season were the moves to big clubs by Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley as well as Brad Guzan’s Player of the Year performances and Jozy Altidore’s 31 goals.
Here is how they rank, from No. 10 to No. 1.
It wasn’t the most outstanding season for Tim Howard in Everton’s net, but 35 starts in one of the best leagues in the world speaks for itself. Everton will finish this season sixth in the English Premier League and Howard’s usual, dependable play was a big part of that.
Since moving to Helsingborg following his failed move to Rangers, Alejandro Bedoya has had a return to form, scoring eight goals in all competitions in 28 appearances for the club.
His form is widely expected to earn him a return to the United States men’s national team this summer as part of the team’s Gold Cup roster.
Although his team, Hoffenheim, have had a terrible campaign, Fabian Johnson has been one of the lone bright spots for the squad. As one of the better attacking left-backs out there, Johnson has picked up three goals and four assists this season.
Sacha Kljestan has once again put together a solid season for Anderlecht in the Belgian league, starting 29 games for the league leaders.
Over the past two years, Kljestan has become one of Anderlecht’s most dependable players, starting an amazing 64 games and helping the team to the championship last season.
John Anthony Brooks, who is a dual international, helped lead Hertha Berlin to the Bundesliga 2 championship this season and promotion to the top flight of German football for next season.
Brooks started 25 league matches for Hertha and, although he is also eligible to represent Germany, is now expected to represent the U.S. in the Under-20 World Cup this summer.
Cameron has started 28 of Stoke’s league games this season and appeared in 34 of the team’s 37 league matches. Even though Cameron has been dropped from Stoke’s starting XI in recent weeks, overall his season has to be considered successful. Cameron was even awarded ESPN’s Midseason Defender of the Year award.
Terrence Boyd has quietly had one of the best seasons for Americans in Europe, scoring 16 goals for Rapid Vienna in the Austrian Bundesliga. Rapid are also in position to once again qualify for the Europa League with three games to go.
After a nightmarish summer transfer window that went down to the last day, Clint Dempsey eventually settled in quite nicely for Tottenham, finishing the campaign with 12 goals highlighted by game-tying and game-winning goals against Manchester United.
Heading into the final game of the EPL season, Dempsey’s Spurs are still in Champions League contention.
Love him or hate him, Jermaine Jones once again put in a solid European season. Heading into the last game of the Bundesliga season, current club Schalke sit in the last qualifying spot for the Champions League.
Jones earned 22 league starts in the heart of Schalke’s midfield and appeared in the Champions League six times this season.
While Aston Villa did not have a great season, narrowly escaping relegation, Brad Guzan was outstanding this season in the Villa net.
Shortly after the season began, Guzan won the job over Irish international Shay Given and never looked back. Guzan frequently bailed out the porous Villa defense over the course of the campaign and won for himself both of Villa’s Player of the Year awards, one voted on by the fans and the other voted on by the player’s themselves.
On a team level, it was a bit of a mixed bag for Jozy Altidore’s AZ Alkmaar this season. AZ finished only six points above the drop zone, but also won the Dutch Cup.
On an individual level, Altidore soared, scoring 31 goals in all competitions this season—a record for an American playing in Europe. Altidore also scored the game-winning goal in AZ’s Dutch Cup victory over PSV Eindhoven just over a week ago.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnDHalloran
Follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/AmericanTouchline