Best Americans to play in the English Premier League

A rundown of the top ten US imports to the EPL

Major League Soccer's standing in the world game has risen considerably over the past couple of decades. Many stars have ventured to the Premier League. Some have failed, but many have succeeded.

Here, Planet Sport highlight 10 of the best American soccer players who dazzled during their time in England.

Christian Pulisic

Christian Pulisic signed for Chelsea in January 2019 but spent the rest of the 2018/19 season on loan back at Borussia Dortmund. The man from Hershey, Pennsylvania scored 19 goals from 127 appearances for the German club and arrived at Stamford Bridge to much fanfare.

After making a low-key start to his career in west London, he began to repay some of the £58million ($78.6million) transfer fee, scoring a 'perfect' hat trick at Burnley in October of the 2019/20 season. He became the youngest scorer of a hat trick in Chelsea history.

The 22-year-old scored his first Champions League goal against Valencia in November 2019. Injury kept him out at the start of 2020, just when he had started to show promise, but the delay to Premier League soccer due to the Covid-19 pandemic gave him time to recover. After the resumption in June, the attacking midfielder scored four goals as Chelsea finished fourth in the league.

Despite a history of injury problems, Pulisic boasts a ratio of one goal every four games for Frank Lampard's Chelsea side and is already on target to better his goal and assists stats from his time at Dortmund. Meanwhile, at international level, he already has 14 goals from 34 caps.

DeAndre Yedlin

DeAndre Yedlin signed for Tottenham in August 2014 and, having returned on loan to Seattle Sounders in the MLS, formally began his Spurs career in January 2015. That spanned just 11 minutes, however, as he failed to make the grade in north London.

Able to operate as a right back or wide midfielder, the 27-year-old was loaned to Sunderland in September 2015 before moving to local rivals Newcastle United on a five-year deal in August 2016.

The Seattle-born defender has blossomed at St James' Park and become a regular in the Magpies' starting line-up. Despite not being considered a goalscorer, he has found the net three times for the north-east club.

Having won the Championship title with Newcastle in 2016/17, he has adapted to life in England's top flight and is known as a hardworking and solid performer. However, Yedlin's future could lie away from Newcastle as manager Steve Bruce now seems keen to sell him.

Brad Friedel

Goalkeeper Brad Friedel played 451 Premier League games for four different Premier League clubs.

He joined Liverpool in 1997 but, after just 31 appearances in three years, moved to Blackburn Rovers in 2000. After one season in the old First Division he was promoted with Rovers, playing seven seasons in the Premier League.

It was while he was with Rovers that he began his record run of 310 consecutive Premier League appearances. He put the feat down to "luck".

Three years at Aston Villa followed before he made the switch to Tottenham, making 50 appearances before hanging up his goalkeeping gloves in 2015.

Friedel will be remembered fondly in the English game for his work ethic and dedication to his craft. He also made 82 appearances for the USA national team, playing in two World Cups.

Tim Howard

Tim Howard left the MLS to join Manchester United in 2003 as the replacement for Fabien Barthez and began his Old Trafford career in fine style.

However, errors crept into his game, his confidence dwindled and soon he was no longer considered an automatic first choice. He won the FA Cup in 2004 and the League Cup in 2006 but left for Everton at the end of the 2005/06 campaign.

After a period on loan at Goodison Park in the 2006/07 season, he signed permanent terms and became established as the number one keeper at the club. Howard made 441 appearances for the Toffees, including a run of 210 consecutive Premier League games.

Having left Everton in 2016, he continued his career with Colorado Rapids and now plays for Memphis 901 in the USL Championship.

He made 121 appearances for the USA national team and was part of the squad at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He also helped USA win the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2007 and 2017.

Already a legend on Merseyside, he wrote himself into Everton folklore with his parting words.

He told fans: "I will remain an Evertonian for life. This will always be my team, my club."

Kasey Keller

Kasey Keller completes the trio of keepers on the list having played for Leicester City, Tottenham, Southampton and Fulham.

Keller made his name outside of the Premier League with London club Millwall before moving to Leicester in 1996. The man from Washington state made 99 league appearances for the Foxes and lifted the League Cup in his first season.

He left in 1999 to join Spanish club Rayo Vallecano, but was back in the Premier League with Spurs two years later. After acting as backup to Neil Sullivan, he then established himself as number one, playing every minute of both the 2002/03 and the 2003/04 seasons.

Keller was loaned to Southampton and played four games for Saints in 2004/05 and then left Spurs to join German club Borussia Monchengladbach in January 2005.

However, he was not done with English soccer and returned to play 13 league games for Fulham in 2007/08.

Keller's reflexes and shot-stopping ability marked him out as one of the best US stars to have played in the Premier League.

Clint Dempsey

Having starred for New England Revolution, Dempsey joined Fulham in January 2007. Dempsey scored his first Fulham goal in a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in May of that year, effectively saving the club from relegation.

Despite starting many games on the bench in the next season, the Texan eventually became a regular starter and scored a stunning winner against Italian giants Juventus in the Europa League in March 2010.

His most prolific season for the west London club came in 2011/12 when he scored 23 goals from 46 appearances in all competitions, earning himself a move to Tottenham. He scored 12 times in 43 outings for Spurs but left for Seattle after a year.

He returned to Fulham for a two-month loan spell in early 2014 but failed to add to his goal tally. He ended his Fulham career with 232 appearances and 60 goals.

Dempsey made 141 appearances for the USA national side and scored 57 goals. He won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2005, 2007 and 2017 and was part of the USA World Cup squads in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

Brian McBride

Brian McBride played alongside Dempsey at Fulham, making 154 appearances for the club after signing in January 2004. McBride made his name with MLS side Columbus Crew and spent time on loan with Preston North End and Everton.

The striker scored four goals from eight appearances with the Toffees, playing under David Moyes at both loan clubs. Success followed at Fulham, with 41 goals in all competitions.

McBride won the club's Player of the Year award in 2007 and 2008 before moving back stateside to join Chicago Fire.

Never a prolific goalscorer, the Illinois-born star was a firm fans' favourite with Fulham and was named captain, while also playing 95 times for the USA.

Carlos Bocanegra

Carlos Bocanegra was another American to play for Fulham, with the defender making 133 appearances for the London team. A center half by trade, he occasionally played at left back for the club while also operating as a holding midfielder.

Like McBride, he was very popular among the club's fans and also captained the side.

Despite playing at the back, Bocanegra was Fulham's second top-scorer with five in the 2006/07 campaign, behind compatriot McBride.

The Californian, who made 110 appearances for the US national side, also played for Rangers in Scotland and spent time with Rennes and Saint-Etienne in France.

Claudio Reyna

Claudio Reyna moved to the UK from Germany in 1999, making 91 appearances for Glasgow giants Rangers before moving south to join Sunderland in December 2001.

The midfielder's time on Wearside was relatively short, with a serious knee injury keeping him out for most of the 2002/03 campaign.

He left for Manchester City in the summer of 2003 and he went on to play 77 games for the Citizens, scoring four times. Unfortunately, injury continued to plague the New Jersey-born ace, and he failed to fulfil his potential in the English game. He ended his career at the New York Red Bulls in 2008.

However, he is considered a legend among American fans, with 112 USA caps, and eight goals, under his belt.

Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan completes the list despite making only 22 appearances during two loan spells with Everton.

While starring for LA Galaxy, he was loaned to the Toffees for a short stint in January 2010 and again two years later. He scored twice in his first spell, prompting the Merseysiders to ask for a loan extension, only for him to honour a commitment to return to LA.

While failing to score in his second loan period at Goodison Park, the California native provided seven assists.

The striker is widely regarded as the greatest-ever US player. He is second behind Cobi Jones in the list of all-time appearances for the United States men's team, with 157 caps and 57 goals.

By Neil Foster