10 Best American Exports to the Premier League
There have been numerous Americans that have played and are currently playing in Europe.
However, only a special crop have been able to break in and succeed in the English Premier League.
Here are ten Americans who have reached the coveted top flight of English soccer and left a mark not just for U.S Soccer, but also for their perspective clubs as well.
Remember, this list is determined on the player's resume in England, not their overall European body of work.
#10: Joe-Max Moore
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Joe-Max Moore left MLS and the New England Revolution towards the end of 1999 for Everton. The English club paid $50,000 to MLS for his contract and eventually Moore signed a $600,000 per season deal.
His Premier League career started almost fairy-tale like — Moore scored in his first five games.
In the three seasons he played for Everton, Moore had 52 appearances and eight goals. An injury at the 2002 World Cup led Everton to not renew Moore's contract in 2002.
#9: Jonathan Spector
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After a stint with Manchester United that saw Jonathan Spector being loaned out for the majority of his stay, West Ham United signed the American defender in mid-2006. He made his debut for West Ham at the UEFA Cup and eventually played in 28 matches his first season.
Despite having a rocky sophomore season for The Hammers, Spector played in 27 matches during the 2009-2010 season, mostly at left-back.
Spector opened his scoring summary in 2010 during a League Cup match over former club Man United, and later scored his first EPL goal over Everton.
Spector played 101 games for West Ham before being shipped to Birmingham City.
#8: Carlos Bocanegra
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After playing four seasons with the Chicago Fire, Carlos Bocanegra signed with Fulham at the beginning of 2004. He primarily played at left-back and in 2007 received the distinction of captain for the first time.
That same season he was Fulham's second leading scorer (5) behind Brian McBride.
Bocanegra reached his 100th cap in 2007 but was released by the team the following year. In 134 games, he found the back of the net eight times.
Bocanegra had a short stint with St. Etienne before landing at Rangers.
#7: Jay DeMerit
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Jay DeMerit's struggle to the top flight of English soccer culminated in a play-off final against Leeds United in 2006. He headed in the first of three goals that guaranteed his team, Watford, a spot in the English Premier League.
His work in helping Watford reach the EPL was rewarded with a contract extension through the 2009-2010 season.
During his 188 appearances, DeMerit was named vice-captain, and eventually captain in 2006. He lost the captaincy but regained it in 2007, and played with Watford till 2010.
DeMerit scored 9 goals for Watford, but none was more important as the one that got them into the Premier League.
#6: Roy Wegerle
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Roy Wegerle might not have technically been American, but he came here from his native South Africa, played at the University of South Florida, and earned U.S. citizenship.
After playing for couple of English clubs, he signed a contract with Queens Park Rangers in 1989.
During the 1990-1991 season, Wegerle finished third in the scoring chart of the First Division, and earned the “Goal of the Season”. He played for QPR one more season and garnered a total of 65 appearances with 29 goals, before being sold to Blackburn.
While at Blackburn, Wegerle helped the Rovers reach the Premier League in 1992 but never broke the first team after that.
Wegerle’s final stop at the top flight was with Coventry City. He had 53 appearances and nine goals for Coventry before his contract expired in 1995.
#5: Brian McBride
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Brian McBride first got his taste of the EPL with Everton after his former Preston North End's coach David Moyes asked for the forward's services on a loan. In eight games, McBride scored four goals, proving his ability at the top flight of English soccer.
At the beginning of 2004, Fulham signed McBride from MLS for $1.5 million. He found the back of the net five times in 18 games during the 2003-2004 season.
Two years later, McBride became the top scorer of the season for Fulham with 12 goals and was given the captaincy in August 2007.
His mark that season helped Fulham remain in the EPL and earned him ‘Club Player of the Year” honors, which he won again in 2008. In 151 games for the Cottagers, McBride has tallied 41 goals.
McBride's intense work rate made his popularity grow by Fulham fans that they named a bar inside Craven Cottage in his honor, "McBride's".
#4: Tim Howard
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Manchester United signed Tim Howard with a $4 million transfer from the NY/NJ Metrostars. Early on, he helped Man United win the Community Shield and later the 2004 FA Cup, which made Howard the first American to win a FA Cup.
However, for several seasons thereafter Howard saw himself in a battle with Roy Carroll. After Manchester brought in Edwin van der Saar in 2005 to be the starting keeper, Howard was loaned to Everton.
Howard started the 2006-2007 season with Everton and later was offered a permanent contract through the 2012-2013 season. He became the starting keeper for The Toffees immediately, and so far has notched just under 200 appearances.
In 2009, he helped Everton reach the finals of the FA Cup after beating his former club, Manchester United, in a penalty shoot-out.
During the 2008-2009 season Howard set the club record for clean sheets and was given the captain's armband for the first time in December 12, 2009 against a matchup with Chelsea.
#3: Marcus Hahnemann
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The following season in the EPL, he had thirteen shutouts and helped Reading finish in the top ten. However, during the 2007-2008 Reading fell back into the Championships, even with Hahnemann recording the most saves (139) in the EPL.
In 2009, Hahnemann joined Wolverhampton, and after he gained the starting goalkeeper position, was ranked as “the Best Goalkeeper in the World” according to the Castrol Performance Index.
After a second season with Wolves, which ended badly for Hahnemann, he was released and signed a short-term deal with Everton.
#2: Clint Dempsey
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His first goal for The Cottagers came against Liverpool and helped Fulham avoid relegation. The following season, Dempsey played 45 minutes in the 2010 Europa Final, making him the first American to play in a European final.
In the 2010-11 season Dempsey scored 10 goals, and later in April 27, 2011 broke Fulham's Premier League goal scoring record with 33 goals.
To date Dempsey has scored 42 goals in 194 appearances for Fulham.
#1: Brad Friedel
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Brad Friedel has played for four different teams since entering the Premiership in 1997. His short stint with Liverpool led to a starting role with Blackburn. He was the starting goalkeeper for the Rovers from 2000-2008 while creating many memorable and historic moments in the EPL.
He helped Blackburn win the League Cup in 2002, and was named Blackburn's ‘Player of the Year’ and the EPL's Best XI during the 2002-2003 season.
In 2004, he scored in the run of play, making him the second goalkeeper ever to do so in Premier League history.
Following the 2007-2008 season, Friedel found himself playing for Aston Villa. During his three seasons at Villa Park, Friedel was able to break the record of consecutive Premier League games played after his 167th appearance in 2008.
Three years later, Friedel reached the 250 mark for consecutive Premier League games played and still holds the record to this day.
After his Aston Villa contract expired, Friedel has gone on to play for Tottenham on a two-year deal.
Friedel has recorded 408 EPL, 45 FA Cup, and 26 UEFA appearances.