Central defense is probably the most difficult position on the pitch to fill properly. As a result, the men who prove capable of playing central defense properly tend to do so for a long time.
So it is with the history of American soccer, where many of the names you will see listed in the next ten slides will be familiar to you. You will probably know these names because they are players who wore the stars and stripes for years on end.
The proper accord given to central defenders extends even to the way history records the position they play.
When you look up other field players, they get called things like "winger," "midfielder" and "forward." Little effort is made to say which side of the pitch they played on or whether they attacked or held in the midfield.
When you look up center-backs, though, you find that they are uniformly called just "defenders." Anyone brave enough to be the last line of defense before the goalkeeper probably deserves such a simple title.
Here are the 10 greatest central defenders in the history of United States soccer.