Top 10 American Soccer Players of All Time
Football (or “soccer” as they call it, overseas) is not the most popular sport in the United States compared to American football, basketball and baseball. One might find it surprising, considering it is actually the most popular sport in the world.
The World Cup is one of the most important events after the Olympics. However, just because football is not popular in the United States does not mean there are not any great football players. Today, we are going to take a closer look at the best American football players of all time. The ones that made history, whether it was only in America or even in Europe.
1. Christian Pulisic
Christian is arguably the best American football player right now. He plays as a winger of attacking middle fielder. He signed with Borussia Dortmund when he was only 16.
His performances with the U17 squad were so impressive that he immediately was called up to play with the first team. He signed with Chelsea FC (English Premier League) in January 2019. He is one of the most expensive American players ever, as his transfer cost 71.3 million US dollars.
He was only 18 when the USMNT first called him up and has scored 14 goals since that day. Right now, Pulisic is only 21 but it is safe to say he is the best American player of his generation and has a great career ahead of him; that is why Pulisic deserves to be at the top of the list.
2. Landon Donovan
If you are a big football fan, you have probably heard of him at least once or twice. Landon is retired but the winger has made US football history. He is the USMNT’s best all-time scorer with Clint Dempsey, and he holds the record for the most assists.
He was capped 157 times and scored 57 goals in his international career. In Europe, he played for prestigious clubs such as Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Everton. In the US, he mostly played for LA Galaxy and was considered as a legend in this club. He is their second most capped player ever.
Overall, in his senior career, Landon made 511 appearances and scored 200 goals. He has had a great impact on American football.
3. Clint Dempsey
Just like Landon Donovan, forward Clint Dempsey is also a USMNT legend, and ties with Landon Donovan as the all-time top scorer. He is the nation’s fourth most capped player ever with 141 caps and 57 goals.
In Europe, he played five years for Fulham where he established himself as their lead goal scorer in the Premier League. He scored 50 goals and made 184 appearances overall with them.
He was then transferred to Tottenham Hotspur, but only stayed a year, before going back to the US to play for the Seattle Sounders FC where he spent the end of his career and scored 47 goals. He ended his senior career with 404 appearances and 129 goals.
4. Tim Howard
Tim Howard is America’s most legendary goalkeeper. His nickname: “Secretary of Defense”.
His best performance was during the 2014 World Cup during the USMNT’s match against Belgium where he managed to save 16 goals, breaking the record for most saves in a World Cup match. He is the most capped goalkeeper in the USMNT history. He was signed by Manchester United in 2004 but his performances were not consistent enough, so he was loaned to Everton in 2006 where he managed to make a name for himself. He spent most of his career in this club and made 414 appearances before going back to the US to finish his career.
5. Michael Bradley
Former USMNT captain Michael Bradley is considered as one the best box-to-box middle fielders in America, which means he is as good as an attacker as he is as a defender.
He has been capped 151 times and scored 17 goals with the national team. He played for several renowned clubs in Europe such as Borussia Mönchengladbach, Aston Villa or Roma. Bradley has been playing for Toronto FC since 2014 where he is the captain and has made 200 appearances and scored 11 goals so far. He is both a leader and a very important player.
6. Brian McBride
With 96 caps and 30 goals, forward Brian McBride is the fifth all-time goal scorer from the USMNT. He played three world cups and even came out of retirement to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he served as captain.
As far as his club performances go, he scored 137 goals and made 417 appearances. He played shortly for multiple clubs in Europe without really standing out before joining Fulham where his performances improved more and more each year.
Overall, in the four years he played there, McBride scored 33 goals. He is one of the most highly regarded players of the club and a bar was even named after him in Fulham.
7. Cobi Jones
Yet another midfielder who has had a huge impact in USMNT’s history. He appeared in three world cups, scored 15 goals overall and was capped 164 times, making him the nation’s most capped player of all time.
Cobi Jones started his senior career directly in the Premier League, which is impressive for an American football player. He played for Coventry City then joined Vasco Da Gama, a Brazilian club and ended up signing with LA Galaxy just a few months later where he became a legend.
He spent the majority of his career there, appeared 306 times and scored 70 goals. He played his very last game in 2007 and the club retired his number. He ended his senior career with 334 appearances and 73 goals.
8. Damarcus Beasley
Unlike most of the players I mentioned before, Beasley is not a midfielder or a striker, he is a left-winger. With a total of 126 appearances and 17 goals, Beasley is the seventh most capped player in the USMNT’s history.
As far as his senior career goes, Beasley has scored more goals in the Champion’s League than any other American player. He started his career with the Chicago Fire where he made 98 appearances and scored 14 goals. Then, signed with PSV Eindhoven where he scored 4 goals during the 2004–2005 UEFA Champions League. He then played for Manchester City and the Rangers (Scottish Premier League) before making his comeback in America. Beasley ended his senior career with 427 appearances and 46 goals.
9. Eric Wynalda
Wynalda is a pioneer of American football. With 34 goals and 106 appearances in the national team, he used to be the all-time leading goal scorer until Michael Donovan came along. In 1992, the forward made history by becoming the first American to play in the Bundesliga.
He played for FB Saarbrücken for two years where he made 61 appearances and scored 21 goals. He spent the second half of his career in America, where he played for several clubs such as Miami Fusion, Chicago Fire or Baskersfield Brigade before retiring and becoming a commentator. Wynalada ended his senior career with 220 appearances and 64 goals.
10. Claudio Reyna
Middle fielder Claudio Reyna is considered as one of the best USMNT players of all time with 111 caps and 8 goals. After his time playing for the University of Virginia’s football team, Reyna went straight to the Bundesliga (German Premier League) where he was recruited by Bayer Leverkusen in 1994.
He also played for Wolfsburg and Scottish Premier League club Ranger before joining the Premier League in 2001, where he played for Sunderland then Manchester City. Reyna was a great player, but he was too prone to injuries, which really affected his international performances as well as his club performances. He ended his senior career with 282 appearances and 23 goals.