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5 American players to look out for in MLS 2020

  • Here are the top 5 American players you should be looking out for in the 2020 MLS season.
Vaibhav Joshi
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 23 Jan 2020, 21:31 IST

Seattle Sounders
Seattle Sounders

The 2020 season of the MLS will see the league hit the quarter-century mark, and it’s safe to say that football (or soccer, as the locals still insist on calling it) has come a long way in the States since the first-ever season kicked off in 1996. There was a time when the MLS was considered just a retirement home for washed-up former superstars looking to make a quick buck.

Ever since David Beckham signed for LA Galaxy back in 2007, a litany of big names have followed suit in during the fag end of their careers. From Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Patrick Vieira, Andrea Pirlo, and David Villa to the more recent arrivals (and subsequent exits) of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, there is perhaps still a suspicion that the MLS is only too eager to welcome European stars who are ‘past it’.

At the same time, the MLS has also been losing its top home-grown talent to clubs in Europe, with players like Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard giving their best years to English clubs. Even today, even though the United States has been providing the footballing world with some of the hottest young prospects, the likes of Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Josh Sargent have all chosen to move across the Atlantic.

However, over the years, the US has proved itself to be a desirable destination for its top local talent, which is why around half of the top American players in and around the national side are currently playing in the MLS. And, with the league expanding its reach to include two more clubs in 2020 (Beckham’s Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC) talented American footballers have the opportunity to forge a long career at a high level while staying in the States. On that note, here are five American players currently playing in the MLS you should be looking out for when the 2020 season kicks off on February 29.


5. Walker Zimmerman, LAFC

Zimmerman pictured during a United States training session
Zimmerman pictured during a United States training session

While most of the spotlight is usually on attacking players like Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi whenever LAFC play, centre-back Walker Zimmerman has quietly emerged as one of the key members of their solid backline. Zimmerman is a large and mobile central defender who is equally adept at making blocks near his goal as he is snuffing out attacks high up the pitch. At 6’3’, he also happens to be a handy set-piece target and contributes with the occasional goal as well.

The 26-year-old has been on a steady upward trajectory since signing from FC Dallas in 2017, breaking into the US national team and also finishing as Defender of the Year runner-up in 2019. Having become much more efficient with the ball since his move, Zimmerman was rewarded with a new four-year deal in January 2019 and looks set to kick on from a strong season and claim the Defender of the Year award for himself in 2020.

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Published 23 Jan 2020, 21:31 IST
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