Here’s a roundup of the top-10 American soccer players in Europe.
World Football (soccer) ranks as one of the world’s most popular sports with billions tuning in to watch some of the sport’s most prestigious events. While soccer has gained so much popularity than other popular sports in the world, the case is different in the USA, which features some of the best actions.
Of the over 3 billion fans that watched the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, America accounted for just 11.4 million. In the 2017 Super Bowl held in the same year (2018), about 111.3 million Americans tuned in. In a 2018 Gallup poll, just 7% of American adults regard soccer as their favorite sports to watch.
All this proves that world football popularity in America is slipping. Despite soccer’s unpopular in the country, America still has produced some of the most talented youngsters who are making waves in Europe’s top-flight leagues.
In this article, we review 10 of these youngsters from America doing impressively well in European football leagues.
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The Top American Soccer Players in Europe
10. John Brooks (VfL Wolfsburg)
One of Bundesliga side, Wolfsburg defenders, Brooks made a move to the top German club, from Hertha BSC, another German club, in 2017 for €20 million. The German American center back represented Germany at the U-20 level before sticking with the decision to represent the USA. Brooks has represented the USA senior football team at various tournaments, such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Copa América Centenario. Due to injuries, the US male senior team has not fully used the potentials of this incredible 27 years old, but in the future, we hope that changes.
9. Duane Holmes (Derby County)
The name Duane Holmes may not be recognized in England, where he plies or in the USA. But that comes as no surprise as the 25 years old has had various stints at minor league clubs in England with the latest being Derby County. The midfielder debuted for the USA male senior side in 2019, in a match against Jamaica.
Holmes, who had the privilege of choosing between representing the USA or his motherland, England, but went with the former, was part of the 23 man squad named to the Gold Cup. But he had to be dropped due to injuries. Holmes’ stint in England gas been without individual laurels and also trophyless, but that may change soon.
8. Zack Steffen (Fortuna Düsseldorf)
Those familiar with Major League Soccer (MLS) and the US male national football team, the name Zack Steffen, would be recognized. His first stint as a professional goalkeeper was for the German side, SC Freiburg. He had to leave college to pursue a professional football career.
After a season with Freiburg, Steffen moved to MLS side Columbus Crew SC in 2016. His 2018 season in the MLS was memorable as he claimed a place in the MLS Best XI and also won the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award. Steffen’s performance that season brought him to the attention of EPL clubs such as Manchester City, who parted ways with $7 million to deliver him from North America to Europe. Steffen, who is currently on loan to Bundesliga side, Fortuna Düsseldorf, has been the goalkeeper for the US senior side since 2016.
7. DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
Newcastle United’s no. 22, DeAndre Yedlin has had an impressive stint with some of EPL top clubs such as Tottenham Hotspurs. Before moving to England, Yedlin played for the Seattle Sounders F.C., where he made the MLS All-star team in 2013 and 2014.
His 2014 season was particularly impressive as he claimed the U.S. Soccer Young Athlete of the Year award, which saw him move to Tottenham Hotspurs. After a short stint on loan at Sunderland, Newcastle United paid £5 million to sign him on a five-year contract. Since 2014, the right-back has been playing for the U.S. senior football team. He played at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
6. Tyler Boyd (Beşiktaş)
Born to a New Zealand father and American mother, Tyler Boyd, who grew up in New Zealand, plays as a Forward for the Turkish football club, Beşiktaş. Most MLS fans would not be familiar with Boyd as he has not played in the MLS.
Before his European football career, Boyd played for various New Zealand football clubs such as Wellington Phoenix F.C. He had multiple stints for clubs in Portugal, Primeira Liga, before arriving in Turkey. Boyd had represented New Zealand in all youth football tournaments and only switched allegiance in 2019. He played for the U.S. team at the 2019 Gold Cup.
5. Timothy Weah (Lille)
The son of football icon and president of Liberia, George Weah, Timothy Weah, had great help in his football career right from an early age. As young as 13, Weah had trials for clubs such as Chelsea. The Paris Saint-Germain Academy product, debuted professionally for the PSG senior side in 2018, after signing a deal the previous year.
The young Weah could not solidly find a place in the star-studded PSG line-up and had to go on loan to Celtic for six months before settling at Lille in 2019. Timothy Weah, who has been playing for U.S. national team at various levels right side his teenage years, debuted for the senior side in 2018.
4. Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
Twenty years old Josh Sargent is fondly the youngest player ever to score at a FIFA U-20 World Cup after achieving the feat in 2017 at the age of 17. The forward who previously trained with German side F.C. Schalke 04, had his first professional football stint Europe with Werder Bremen, where he has been since September 2017. In 2018 he was called to join the U.S. senior national football team.
3. Weston McKennie (F.C. Schalke 04)
Since the age of 6, Weston McKennie has been playing football, which has helped build him to become one of USA’s youngest football talents. 2016 proved to be a decisive year for the 21 years old forward who turned down a football scholarship offer from the University of Virginia and also a professional contract from MLS side, F.C. Dallas, to play professional football in Europe.
After spending a year in F.C. Schalke 04 academy, he was named to the first team, where he has been since 2017. McKennie played at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and also grabbed a hat trick at the CONCACAF Nations League.
2. Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig)
In less than two years in Europe, Tyler Adams has fared well at Bundesliga side, RB Leipzig. The star who appeared at the 2019 DFB-Pokal final, against German football giant, Bayern Munich, played for the New York Red Bulls, before moving to Leipzig in 2019. The Red Bulls Academy graduate played for the U.S. national football side at U-17 and U-20 levels, before he earned his senior year at in 2017.
1. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
In the English Premier League (EPL), the name, Christian Pulisic, will be greeted with instant recognition and approval. The famous young American star has won hearts in England after spending only a short while in the country. Before his January 2018, £58 million transfer to Chelsea, Christian Pulisic, had been with Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund, where he won the 2016/17 DFB-Pokal.
From age 17, Pulisic has been playing for the U.S. senior football team. His top football exploits have earned him several individual laurels such as the 2016 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year, the 2017 and 2019 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year as well as the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Best Young Player Award.
With the arrival of fresh talents, Ziyech Hakim and Timo Werner at Chelsea, in the 2020/21 season, you can expect Pulisic to pull another fantastic performance, which will win more hearts in London.
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Which notable American soccer players in Europe do you think should be on this list? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.