According to the CIES Football Observatory, the United States had the fifth-most exported players out of North, Central and South America in 2019. Only Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Uruguay had more. Fast forward to 2021 and there are plenty of fantastic players from the United States playing in the top European leagues but the question is, who are the best US football exports?
Best Exports Out of the USA
USA Takeover in Europe
We begin with goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who won 82 caps for the United States and played over 500 games in Europe. In a career that spanned 20 years, Friedel played for Galatasaray, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, and Tottenham Hotspur. Friedel holds the Premier League record for most consecutive appearances at 310 and it is unlikely this will ever be beaten. He is currently Aston Villa’s and Tottenham Hotspur’s oldest-ever player and holds the record for the highest number of appearances in the English Premier League by a North or South American player.
Next, we come to Clint Dempsey and it is easy to see why he is regarded as one of the best US football exports. He is the first American to score at three consecutive World Cups and enjoyed a fantastic career at Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League. Dempsey played for several years in the English top-flight, scoring 72 goals across all competitions. Dempsey was the first American player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League and helped Fulham to the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League final, famously scoring in the 82nd minute of the Round of 16-second leg against Juventus. Dempsey won the Fulham Player of the Season twice and is undoubtedly one of the best US football exports.
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Moving on with the best US football exports and we come to another goalkeeper in Tim Howard. He became the first American to win the FA Cup in 2004 with Manchester United and also picked up the League Cup in 2006 with the Red Devils. Having initially moved to Everton on loan, Howard made the transfer permanent in 2007 and went on to make over 350 appearances for the Toffees.
Much like Clint Dempsey, striker Brian McBride left the United States to play in the English Premier League for Fulham. He was voted Fulham Player of the Season on two occasions, named captain, and has since had the sports bar at Craven Cottage named in his honour.
Looking at the current day and we have seen plenty of exciting talent leave the United States to play in European leagues. Christian Pulisic is the current star of the USMNT and has tasted success in the UEFA Champions League for Chelsea, Weston McKennie recently made a move to Serie A giants Juventus, Sergino Dest plays for Barcelona in Spain, and Tyler Adams is at RB Leipzig, having started his career at New York Red Bulls.
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