5 Americans who had successful stints in the Premier League
While football – or “soccer” – is still a growing sport in the USA, and Major League Soccer is now attracting some genuine superstars (albeit aging ones for the most part), the list of American players who have succeeded in leagues abroad remains a relatively small one.
With that said, there have been some players from the States who have made a strong impact in the Premier League since its inauguration in 1992/93.
Following in the footsteps of John Harkes – the first American to play in the Premier League – these five players have probably been the most successful imports from the States to the world’s most popular league.
#1: Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey wasn’t the first American to make his way to Fulham in the mid-2000’s – when he signed for the Cottagers in January 2007, he joined up with compatriots Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra, but he almost certainly made the most impact in the Premier League.
Dempsey cost a fee of £2m – it doesn’t sound much, but at the time it made him the most expensive American import in Premier League history.
It didn’t take him long to settle in, either – he made 10 Premier League appearances in his first season and scored his first goal in a 1-0 win over Liverpool – the goal that effectively saved Fulham from relegation.
Over the course of the next 6 seasons, Dempsey was one of Fulham’s most consistent performers – helping them to a surprising appearance in the 2009/10 Europa League final and scoring 23 goals in 46 games in 2011/12, making him Fulham’s top scorer for that season.
His form that season earned him a £9m move to Tottenham, and while he wasn’t quite as big a success at White Hart Lane he did provide some memorable moments, most notably his 93rd-minute equalizer in a game against Manchester United in January 2013.
That would be his final full season in England, as the summer of 2013 saw him sign with MLS side Seattle Sounders, although he did spend another 2 months on loan at his old club Fulham.
When his Premier League career was over, Dempsey had 57 goals in 218 games – a respectable total by anyone’s standards.