Five Most Important American Soccer Players of the Decade

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Five Most Important American Soccer Players of the Decade

The past decade was an exciting one for American soccer. Some of the most talented players this country has seen yet exploded onto the scene.

Major League Soccer experienced growth to 15 teams with three more to come in the next couple of years. Teams began profiting, soccer-specific stadiums were built, and the Designated Player rule brought a handful of international superstars stateside.

American players, usually passed over in foreign leagues, got an incredible amount of respect and were bought by some of the biggest clubs in the world, like AC Milan and Manchester United.

As for the national team, it was the biggest decade the team has ever had.

The United States team qualified for three World Cups (2002, 2006, and the upcoming 2010 World Cup). Their magical run to the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup was the country's best World Cup finish since 1930.

They won three CONCACAF Gold Cups (2002, 2005, and 2007) to go along with a second-place finish in 2009 and a third place finish in 2003.

The team also was the 2009 Confederations Cup runner-up, losing in the final against Brazil, 3-2. Making the appearance in the tournament more impressive was their 2-0 victory against number one ranked Spain, stopping the country's 35-game unbeaten streak.

The previous 10 years were very important to the growth and success of soccer in the United States. Many players stepped up and achieved things previous eras would have thought impossible.

So here are the five most important American soccer players of the past decade.

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