The stock of American players is rising all the time, with many USMNT stars now featuring for clubs in the English Premier League, widely acclaimed as the biggest and most competitive league in the world.
John Harkes paved the way back in 1992, and since those modest years, the Premier League has welcomed more than 40 soccer players from across the pond.
In this article, we take a look at the top 10 American soccer players to have played in the EPL.
1. Clint Dempsey
With 57 goals in 218 appearances, Clint Dempsey is the leading American goal scorer in Premier League history.
He scored 50 of those EPL goals while playing for Fulham, the club represented with great distinction between 2007 and 2012. (He actually returned to Fulham for a very brief loan spell at the start of 2014).
Dempsey’s other seven goals came during a one-season spell at Tottenham Hotspur in 2012-2013.
Dempsey wasn’t an out-and-out No. 9, but such was his finishing prowess that he was constantly a threat in the opposition box during his playing days. Along with his goals, he had 19 Premier League assists in his glittering collection.
Shame that sports betting wasn’t legal across most of the US during Dempsey’s heyday. With sportsbooks now offering player prop bets and SGPs amongst their numerous sports betting promos, the former Fulham and Spurs man would have been a popular pick with his versatility and productivity.
Widely regarded as the greatest American outfield player, Dempsey was twice named Fulham’s Player of the Season, and was instrumental in their epic run to the Europa League final in 2010.
2. Brad Friedel
If Clint Dempsey is America’s greatest outfield player, there is a strong argument for Brad Fieldel to be considered the greatest US player in any position.
Friedel is not only an American great; he is a Premier League great. He made a total of 450 EPL appearances, keeping 132 clean sheets in the process.
He even managed to score a goal for Blackburn Rovers against Charlton Athletic in February 2004. Friedel also holds the record for most consecutive appearances in the Premier League, having featured in 310 straight matches between August 2004 and October 2012!
The American spent 18 seasons in the Premier League, turning out for Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham.
3. Tim Howard
Following Friedel on our list is another goalkeeper, Tim Howard, whose lengthy stint in the Premier League saw him play for Manchester United and Everton.
Howard and Friedel share quite a few characteristics (apart from being bald American keepers, that is!).
They both finished their Premier League careers on the same number of clean sheets (132), and scored one goal!
Howard had his goal-scoring moment in the sun in January 2012, when he spectacularly found the net from his own penalty box for Everton against Bolton. His CV also includes 3 EPL assists.
Howard joined United from MLS in 2003, and had a decent start at Old Trafford, but his appearances and performances faded as the seasons progressed, prompting a move to Everton in 2006 on a loan deal that eventually became permanent.
Over the next decade, he was the mainstay in the Everton goal, making a total of 354 appearances to take his overall EPL tally to 399.
4. Christian Pulisic
In terms of natural ability, Pulisic is one of the greatest ever American players, but to many observers, he underachieved at Chelsea.
He did have a rough time with injuries, which increasingly limited his productivity with the London club up until his exit to AC Milan in 2023.
Despite all of that, he still managed 20 goals and 9 assists in 98 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, and was part of the Chelsea squad that won the UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Club in 2021.
Pulisic joined Borussia Dortmund in Germany as a 16-year-old prodigy in 2016, and such were his talents that he commanded an American record fee of £58 from Chelsea in 2019.
The general feeling is that Pulisic did not quite live up to his full potential in the Premier League. He’s still got time on his side to stage a return and complete his unfinished business in England.
5. Brian McBride
Brian McBride is one of many American players that has represented Fulham. Such was his impact in West London that he was named captain of the club in 2008, and had the club’s sports bar at Craven Cottage named after him upon his departure.
Having already had loan spells at Preston North End and Everton, McBride joined Fulham in 2004 and would go on to represent the club until 2008.
During that period, he scored 32 Premier League goals, playing a huge role as the Cottagers sensationally escaped relegation in 2008.
Overall, McBride made 148 Premier League appearances, scoring 36 goals (4 with Everton and 32 with Fulham), and creating nine assists. He was named Fulham Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.
6. Claudio Reyna
With over a century of international appearances that spanned four World Cups, Claudio Reyna is one of the greatest American players ever.
And it is only fitting that he also had his day in the English Premier League. He had more than his day in England.
Having already featured for Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg in Germany, and Rangers in Scotland, Reyna made the switch to the Premier League in 2001, when he signed for Sunderland.
In 2003, the midfielder moved to Manchester City, where he would spend the next three and a half seasons.
Injuries prevented England from seeing the very best of Captain America, but he still played 105 Premier League matches, contributing 7 goals and 4 assists.
7. Kasey Keller
Before the days of Friedel and Howard, there was Kasey Keller. A veteran of four World Cups, Keller’s status as one of America’s finest doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves.
He was the No. 1 choice at Leicester City between 1996 and 1999, manning the sticks a total of 99 times for the Foxes in the league. Keller was also first choice at Tottenham between 2002 and 2004, playing all 76 league games within that period.
His EPL powers waned post 2004, but he had already made his mark as one of the first Americans to consistently command a regular shirt in a Premier League club.
With 201 appearances (and 55 clean sheets), Keller is the fourth most-capped American footballer in the Premier League, with only Friedel, Howard and Dempsey ahead of him. (Unlike the other two keepers on this list, Keller didn’t manage to score any EPL goals, but he did get one assist!).
Most of those appearances were for Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur.
He also played for Southampton and Fulham (of course) before calling time on his long EPL career.
8. Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan never actually had a full season in the Premier League, with his two stints at Everton designed to help him keep fit and busy while MLS was off.
He first arrived at Merseyside in January 2010, playing 13 matches and scoring two goals. He even managed to bag the Everton Player of the Month award during that time.
Donovan returned in January 2012, and added three more assists to his Premier League accolades.
In total, he scored 2 goals and provided 6 assists in 17 EPL matches.
His time in England was short and sweet, leaving many to ponder what might have been had one of America’s finest forwards spent more time on the country.
9. Goeff Cameron
You might be wondering what Goeff Cameron is doing on this list, but when you look at the cold, hard facts, you’d agree that he deserves his place amongst America’s greatest Premier League exports.
Cameron played all of his EPL career with Stoke, a rather unfashionable side regularly ridiculed for their supposedly unattractive brand of football, but they remained a consistent Premier league team for a decade (2008 – 2018), with Cameron being a big part of the team for the latter half of that period.
Cameron joined Stoke in 2012, and would play 168 times, scoring 2 goals and contributing 4 assists for the Potters before leaving in 2018 – the season they were relegated.
He is fifth on the list of most capped American players in the Premier League, with the only outfield ahead of him on the list being Clint Dempsey.
10. John Harkes
John Harkes does not have the most glittering EPL numbers, but he deserves his place on this list for just being the first American to play in the Premier League.
Before the Premier League was officially born in 1992, Harkes was already playing for Sheffield Wednesday, who won promotion to the old First Division in 1991.
He played 29 times during that inaugural Premier League season in 1992 – 1993, scoring 2 goals in the process. He also played for West Ham and Nottingham Forest in his latter years in England.