After a promising first season at Chelsea, Christian Pulisic is being tipped to go from strength-to-strength with the current national team coach Greg Belhalter suggesting he has the potential to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid. At only 21 years old, he certainly has the ability to become one of the most successful American imports in the English Premier League’s history. Here we take a look at which US players have previously made the biggest impact in the world’s most popular soccer league.
Howard played over 250 games in the Premier League having signed for Manchester United in 2003 before joining Everton in 2007. He won an FA Cup with United in 2004 and was also named in the PFA Team of the Year for that season. Somewhat surprisingly, given United’s general dominance during the 2000s, Howard never claimed a Premier League title with the club.
Indeed, no American has ever earned a Premier League winner’s medal (despite boasting 45 different representatives down the years). Pulisic will hope to rectify this peculiarity with his side Chelsea currently at 10/1 odds to win the title this season with NetBet Sport. Nevertheless, Howard is fondly remembered in England, especially by Everton fans, and even boasts a Premier League goal to his name after a wind-assisted freak clearance against Bolton Wanderers drifted into their net.
Another goalkeeper, Brad Friedel made 450 appearances in the Premier League (more than any other American) and established himself as a safe pair of hands at several clubs, most notably Blackburn where he was named Player of the Year in 2003. The US have certainly produced a number of talented goalkeepers with Kasey Keller, Brad Guzan and Marcus Hahnemann all making an impact in England. Friedel, however, had the greatest longevity and remains the record holder for the longest run of consecutive league games played with an incredible 310 games spanning an eight-year period.
57 goals and 19 assists in the Premier League put Clint Dempsey at the top of the charts for Americans in both categories. Dempsey is arguably the best outfield player the US has fielded in Premier League history. He was named Fulham’s player of the season in the 2010-11 season and was a key part of the side which went all the way to the Europa League Final in 2010. He also played for Tottenham Hotspur and although he only enjoyed moderate success with the North London club, he was still able to claim seven league goals in his sole season for the side.
The US has produced a number of other memorable players who have graced the Premier League down the years, including Landon Donovan and Claudio Reyna. There is still an awareness, however, that a true American superstar has not yet taken the Premier League by storm. Pulisic perhaps represents the best opportunity for this to change, such is the enormity of his potential with youth still very much on his side. Time will tell if the Chelsea starlet is able to establish himself as one of the world and Premier League’s very best players.