In the past few years, the place to be for any American playing soccer in Europe was Fulham. Well, looks like that's not the case any more.
Of the seven Americans that have joined Fulham in the past nine seasons, only one is left - Clint Dempsey.
Here are all the Americans that have played or are still playing for the Cottagers:
Marcus Hahnemann - played for Fulham from 1999-2001; now plays for Reading in the Championship
Carlos Bocanegra - played for Fulham from 2004-2008; now plays for Stade Rennais in the French Liege 1
Eddie Lewis - played for Fulham from 2000-2002; now plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer
Kasey Keller - played for Fulham from 2007-2008; now plays for Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer
Brian McBride - played for Fulham from 2004-2008; now plays for the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer
Eddie Johnson - joined Fulham in 2008; now on loan to Cardiff City
Clint Dempsey - joined Fulham in 2007; still playing for the Cottagers
So what's happening to all these Americans? Why have 3 different Americans left Fulham in the past year? There are several reasons why.
Relegation Scare: First off, there was the relegation scare last season. Fulham had an awful campaign in the 2007/2008 season. They ended up 17th on the table with only 36 points. They only missed relegation by goal difference with Reading. Let's face it, Kasey Keller isn't the greatest goalkeeper around and Brian McBride isn't able to keep up with European soccer anymore.
New Manager: After four years at Craven Cottege (2003-2007), Chris Coleman was given the boot. Then, Lawrie Sanchez was put temporarily in charge. He didn't do much either and in December of 2007, he was kicked out. Now, a new manager is in charge and he has high hopes for Fulham. Roy Hodgson managed to steer Fulham clear of relegation but nothing much more yet. He hopes to improve the state of Fulham and lead them to at least the UEFA Cup. With all the great players at the Craven Cottage, it should be attainable for Fulham...eventually.
New Players and Loss of Faith: Fulham has players that are capable of doing well. The addition of Zoltán Gera has strengthened the Cottager's attacking midfield, a spot that Clint Dempsey excels at. After the scare of relegation, it seems that Hodgson doesn't trust Dempsey. In fact, Dempsey doesn't expect to play much anymore for Fulham and has thought of the possibility of leaving.
So what do you think? Is Fulham no longer the place to be for Americans? If not, what European club is now? Let me know what you think.