Definitely American soccer has come a long way, especially after United States was awarded the 1994 World Cup even without their own league. In that time there were in fact not enough USA soccer players registered with professional clubs in premier division leagues. The 1994 World Cup finals smashed FIFA’s attendance records in prior events. Still America had to struggle to establish soccer as a popular sport for the public. But for now a time, we all know the changed scenario. There are a so many American Soccer Players ply their trade for major clubs in Europe, in respect with the previous condition. So finding out 10 best American soccer players or USA soccer players means only the consideration after 1994. The US Soccer Team has had mixed results in terms of their actual World Cup performances. The 1998 and 2006 group exits have been counterbalanced by a historic visit to the quarterfinals in 2002.
Also a place in the round of 16 in 2010 remarks the comfortable growing of soccer in America. Of course the 2014 Brazil World Cup was a bit tough job for such a soccer-developing country like USA. Anyway, there has been enough big names in the arena of American soccer that can easily prove this sport is very much on the upswing. And these best American soccer players are capable of competing with the very best the sport has to offer at current stage.
Best American Soccer Players | USA Soccer Players:
Some of the best American soccer players have found major success while playing in European clubs. There are also others, who have mostly seen their careers flourish while competing at home in MLS (American Soccer League). Anyway it’s already proven that the USA soccer players are good enough to compete with the best in the world football.
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Along with helping the USA National Soccer Team, some younger players are coming up the ranks.
Let’s check out, who are the best American Soccer players since 1994?
10. Kasey Keller
Actually Kasey Keller is a native of Olympia. And probably WA never experienced a ton of World Cup success like him. He went to four finals, where he was considered the number one keeper for a less confident US side. Yes, those USA soccer players failed to make the round of 16 in 2006. But surely his reputation overseas set new standards for where American goalkeepers could ever imagine.
Kasey Keller played regularly for Borussia Monchengladbach, Millwall, Rayo Vallecano, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur. Obviously he was the first American soccer player to be a regular in the English, German and Spanish top competitions. With 101 caps to his name, Kasey Keller is now a color commentator for the Seattle Sounders, where he closed out his playing days of soccer world.
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09. Tim Howard
I think Tim Howard’s achievements as a goalkeeper are even bigger. If you try to consider the way he’s fared on an international stage, you will definitely find much more difficulties. The New Jersey native got his start between the sticks for Manchester United. Before that time, he became the permanent fixture at Everton in English Premier League. The great American soccer player has racked up 97 caps with the USMNT. Previously he was also the number one keeper at the South Africa World Cup 2010 and Brazil World Cup 2014.
May be at 35 years of age, it was his last appearance in a World Cup finals and we all know he tried the best out of him. Tim Howard is considered the number 9 of our list of top 10 best American soccer players in 2015.
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08. Cobi Jones
Relatively brief stints with Coventry City in England and Vasco da Gama in Brazil, Cobi Jones would find by far his greatest club success as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1996. But as a matter of fact he has retired in 2007 and became an assistant coach with the Galaxy for recent years. He was a very remarkable among the then USA soccer players.
He is the most capped player to ever don the Stars and Stripes in international fields. With 164 caps and 15 goals to his name, he is the 8th of this list of top 10 best American soccer players in 2015. After appearing for the team at home at the 1994 finals, he went for two more World Cups in 1998 and 2002.
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07. Earnie Stewart
Now a days there are plenty of internationally-bred USA soccer team players. You just simply look at Germany for proof of this, midfielder Earnie Stewart was arguably the first to establish himself as a part of USMNT. Despite playing most of his club career in his native Netherlands, Stewart ended up gaining 101 caps and 17 goals for the Stars and Stripes. He also made it to the World Cup in 1994, 1998 and 2002.
He was particularly a big part of the latter team that made it to the quarterfinals. Undoubtedly he is one of only a few best American soccer players to play in three World Cup finals.
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06. Eric Wynalda
Eric Wynalda is arguably one of the best attacking players in US National Soccer Team. He is the first USA soccer player to establish himself by playing in Germany before returning stateside in 1996. The native of Fullerton, California racked up 107 caps and 34 goals. He made it to his third World Cup finals in France in 1998. Another case where USA soccer players did not score any goals following an insipid effort by the USMNT that saw them finish dead last.
Wynalda has since moved on to coaching. Currently he coaches the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL. He is our 6th pick as best American soccer players in 2015.
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05. Clint Dempsey
The last World Cup in Brazil also saw the great US soccer player as captain of the U.S. national team. I think there aren’t many that would argue against his title. The most experienced recognition goes beyond his native United States as a member of Fulham. And it led to a somewhat unsuccessful stint at Tottenham Hotspur then. The Texas native is still one of the most counted on members of the national team as an attacking midfielder.
With 36 goals and 103 caps for the national team under his belt, Dempsey is the 5th best American soccer player in our list. With two goals scored at the World Cup South Africa, he also guided the U.S. out of a difficult Group G in Brazil last year.
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04. Brian McBride
Brian McBride’s career outside American soccer began with unsuccessful belongings with Wolfsburg, Preston North End and Everton. But eventually he found his niche at Fulham and became regular from 2004 to 2008. Spending a large part of his career with the Columbus Crew in the MLS, he was named goal machine in his own right.
McBride scored 30 out of 96 caps with the national team of America. There has been also three goals performed from the 1998 and 2002 World Cups in his career. He is considered the 4th of our list of top 10 best American soccer players in 2015.
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03. Claudio Reyna
The former USA National Soccer Team captain Claudio Reyna is often called as “Captain America” to his supporters in Britain. He ended up earning 111 caps and eight goals for the Stars and Stripes. He appeared in total four World Cups – 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. His performances in the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan being good enough for him to get on the Team of the Tournament as its only American representative following their visit to the round of 16.
Reyna spent his club career mainly in Europe, playing in Germany, Scotland and England. The latter years also saw him enjoy his longest stay with one club as a member of Manchester City in English Premiere League.
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02. Brad Friedel
At the age of 43, Brad is still playing as a goalkeeper, sometimes just as a backup. This totally an incredible accomplishment for anyone from the USA soccer players. Brad Friedel has achieved thanks to spending years living in England. He only played one game at France 98 and then the entire tournament four years later in Korea and Japan. Still his World Cup record is arguably better than most American goalkeepers.
The great American soccer player retired from international football somewhat early in 2005. The Ohio native’s record with Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur has sealed his reputation as one of the best goalkeepers, America has ever seen.
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01. Landon Donovan
Probably the most popular and most famous of the best American soccer players in history, Landon Donovan has very little left to prove as far as his reputation is concerned compared to his American peers. The most successful part of his short-lived stints in Europe is arguably his two loan moves to Everton in 2010 and 2012. Also his success as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes and then Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS (American Soccer League) is bested only by his international career.
In total 156 caps and 57 goals (five of which came in the World Cup) and one of which he scored against Mexico in 2002 to bring the USA to the quarterfinals. Last year’s World Cup was quite a misery for the best American Soccer player, getting out of the precious squad. But that doesn’t change a bit to his popularity among the general soccer fans in America. All these consideration makes him the first choice as best of the USA soccer players in our list.
I have been a big fan of US players playing in Europe (primarily EPL, England Championship, Bundesliga). I have watched their development for the past 10 years, plus. And have followed several player’s career, closely.. These professional club leagues a are leagues I can see on TV week in and week out.
I watched most of Clint Dempsey’s games at Fullham and Tottenham, and I believe that he is the best US player we have produced. His last year with Fulham, he was ranked as the 5th best player in the entire EPL, which is a spectacular accolade for anyone. Why he then went to Tottenham (under some cloud of disgrace at Fulham…as he refused to play for that team while still under contract) and back to MLS, is a puzzle to to me. He got to be head and shoulders the best US born player in terms of skill and ability to make a positive difference in any game he got into.
Besides Dempsey, I have followed the European careers of both Erich Lihaj, and Jonathan Spector. Both got the same kind of criticism Dempsey, in the beginning, got in English football…not good enough. Spector went from Manchester United, to the Championship and finally back to MLS and has recently retired. Lihaj still is on the Hull roster in the Championship.
I have come to the conclusion that any professional soccer player requires the complete confidence of his manager to thrive and develop. Both Spector and Lihaj were badly managed while in the EPL. And their careers were arrested and wasted to great extent, in spite of the fact that both had what it takes to be excellent players. They were both coached badly on the USMNT, for the most part, and their talents wasted. It seemed that when they were played out of position or were put on the field with inferior talent, any “mistake” they appeared to make was exaggerrated and their abilities were doubted.
I have also been a fan of Geoff Cameron who is still a better defender than any of the lot the USMNT now fields. Unfortunately, he has been seriously injured several times and is now in his mid thirties. But he can still play very well. Stoke, who he gave his all for for about 5 years, dumped him last year and were awful defensively as a result. He has had some very good games for his new team, Queens Park Rangers last season, until he was intentionally fouled and seriously injured, as a result. He can play any number of positions… right back, center back and midfield, and play them all at a high level. He has been left off the USMNT squad, so far, but is still as a good a defensive player as anyone that squad can put on the field.
I have sensed a strong anti US player bias in England where the US player must somehow be superior in every phase of the game before he is allowed on the field. and even small mistakes…which every player makes sooner or later, is reason to keep him on the bench or off the roster for many games.
Not so much of this bias appears in the Bundesliga, where talent is nurtured more carefully. Currently, there are US men who can play the game at the highest levels, being developed there. I am keeping my eye on Weston Mckinnie, who is the heir apparent to Dempsey, in my view. Sticking him strictly on defense is a huge mistake I hope Greg Burhalter will not make. There are still no US strikers of great quality, but I believe that if Jordan Morris left MLS and went to Europe, he could be great one.
Landon Donovan should have kept at it with Everton. As it was, he was an ok winger for them…nothing too special.
It is well known that the US has produced several world class goal keepers over the years like Tim Howard, Brad Freidl and Kasey Keller and Brad Guzan,(who unfairly shared the blame for the relegation of Aston Villa a few years ago with Erich Lihaj, in my view) The manager of that team quickly threw them under the bus, when the team began playing worse and worse. Again, without having the confidendce of the manager, the play of both worsened, needlessly and Guzan has never gotten back to his highest levels of performance, even in MLS. Although Lihaj has had some steller games in the Championship.
I am a firm believer that talented US players need to prove themselves in Europe’s big leagues, during their best years. That is minimally, what players for the USMNT need to do if that team is to go anywhere….not to Mexico or Scandinavia or Asia.