The USA has not been a soccer energy on the world stage, clearly, however the nation has produced some distinctive particular person performers — many who’ve loved success on the worldwide stage.
Right here is our record of 25 American-born soccer gamers who’ve stood out over the many years. Listed in alphabetical order.
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The New Jersey native debuted on the skilled degree for the New York Purple Bulls in 2006, and has additionally performed for membership groups in Spain, Turkey, England, Netherlands and Mexico. A member of the 2010 and 2014 United States’ World Cup groups, Altidore ranks third amongst all American purpose scorers on the worldwide degree with 42. He additionally ranks among the many nation’s leaders with 115 profession appearances for the nationwide squad. One of many extra energetic and passionate gamers in U.S. soccer historical past, Altidore is named being one of many extra bodily strikers to play the sport.
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Walter Bahr, Midfielder
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Many have come and gone in sporting the USA males’s nationwide staff package, however Bahr has stood the check of time in terms of the legends of American soccer. For years, Bahr captained the nationwide staff, and he assisted on Joe Gaetjens’ memorable purpose throughout the USA’ 1-0 upset victory over England in the course of the 1950 World Cup. Bahr performed for the nationwide membership from 1948-57, and was inducted into the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame in 1976. Two of his three sons, Matt and Chris, had been advantageous skilled soccer gamers, and even higher place-kickers within the NFL.
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The free-flowing lengthy hair might need been Balboa’s trademark, however he was additionally greater than a good footballer. Born in Chicago, however primarily raised in Southern California, Balboa posted greater than 120 caps for the USMNT, which he captained throughout his profession, and have become the primary American to make 100 worldwide appearances. A standout on the backline for the 1990 and ’94 U.S. World Cup groups, Balboa, who performed in MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX, registered 13 targets en path to incomes a spot within the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame.
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DaMarcus Beasley, Wing/Defender
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The one American male to play in 4 World Cup groups (2002-’14), the not too long ago inducted Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Famer recorded 126 caps for the U.S. males’s nationwide soccer staff. He scored 17 targets within the course of. In the meantime, when it got here to the membership degree, Beasley performed within the Netherlands, Mexico, Germany, England, and, most prominently, was a five-time MLS All-Star whereas a member of the Chicago Hearth and Houston Dynamo. Beasley retired from skilled play in 2019, concluding a stellar enjoying profession that started whereas starring for the U.S. Underneath-17 squad.
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One other captain of the UNMNT, Bocanegra has starred on each degree he performed. From making a reputation for himself as an all-time nice at UCLA within the late Nineteen Nineties to twice being honored MLS Defender of the Yr to posting 110 appearances and 14 targets for the nationwide staff. Along with his membership success in MLS, Bocanegra additionally performed professionally in England, Scotland, France and Spain. He is additionally discovered success within the sport post-playing days. As of 2023, Bocanegra was technical director and vp for MLS facet Atlanta United.
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Michael Bradley, Midfielder
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As of 2023, Bradley, a part of an awesome American soccer household, was nonetheless going sturdy in MLS whereas in his mid-30s. Additionally a former captain of the USMNT, Bradley has performed in two World Cups and recorded 17 targets whereas sporting 151 worldwide appearances for the U.S. (third-most all-time by any American). Along with his nationwide staff and MLS service time, the place he gained a championship with Toronto FC in 2017, Bradley has performed in a number of the world’s most prestigious membership divisions like Eredivisie, Bundesliga, the English Premier League and Serie A.
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Paul Caligiuri, Midfielder
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With greater than 108 nationwide staff caps, Caligiuri was identified for his stellar defensive prowess within the midfield. That mentioned, one among his 5 worldwide targets is among the many most celebrated in American soccer historical past. In November 1989, Caligiuri was liable for the one rating (Dubbed the “Shot heard ’round the world.”) in the USA’ 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago to qualify for the 1990 World Cup. In that occasion, Caligiuri additionally scored the People’ first World Cup purpose since 1950. Along with these USMNT moments, the Corridor of Famer performed professionally in Germany and MLS.
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One of many true stars of American soccer, Dempsey shined each for membership and nation. On the worldwide degree, Dempsey ranks fourth amongst People with 141 caps (from 2004-17), and his 57 targets are tied for probably the most by a U.S. participant. When it got here to membership ball, Dempsey recorded 57 targets between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League, which was sandwiched between stints in MLS for New England and Seattle, the place he mixed for greater than 70 targets. Dempsey, who scored in three completely different World Cups for the U.S., was inducted into the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2022.
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So, who shares the U.S. report for worldwide targets with the aforementioned Clint Dempsey? That may be Donovan, an icon of American soccer. Donovan’s 157 caps from 2000-14 additionally rank second amongst U.S. internationals. ESPN even named Donovan the best American soccer participant of all time. He was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Yr 4 instances, gained six MLS Cups and is that league’s all-time chief with 136 assists, and among the many prime three with 145 profession targets. Donovan, who scored 3 times in the course of the 2010 World Cup, is one among three People to submit a purpose in additional than a kind of occasions.
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Brad Friedel, Goalkeeper
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One of the crucial reliable performers, not solely in American soccer historical past, however within the sport itself. Friedel’s remaining skilled sport was simply days previous his fortieth birthday in Might 2011, whereas suiting up for Aston Villa of the English Premier League. Actually, his 310 consecutive EPL match appearances is a report. Friedel, who additionally performed in Denmark, Turkey and MLS’ Columbus Crew, manned the USMNT internet greater than 80 instances (1992-2005) throughout his storied profession, and was a part of three World Cup sides for the People.
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John Harkes, Midfielder
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The longtime, standout midfield staple and captain for the USMNT (greater than 85 worldwide appearances from 1987-2000), Harkes has the excellence of being the primary American to play within the English Premier League, as a member of Sheffield Wednesday, starting in 1990. He additionally spent high quality time in MLS with D.C. United, New England and Columbus. A member of the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame, Harkes was a part of two U.S. World Cup squads, and scored six worldwide targets throughout his sensible enjoying profession.
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Tim Howard, Goalkeeper
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Fierce, decided and passionate — just some phrases to explain the venerable Tim Howard. No goalkeeper in U.S. soccer historical past has made extra worldwide appearances than Howard’s 121 from 2002-17. Once we discuss American soccer royalty and a real fan favourite, Howard, who was a part of three World Cup groups, is up there with the likes of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey. In the meantime, on the membership degree, Howard made practically 330 appearances for Everton, the place the New Jersey native is among the many most outstanding non-English figures to play within the Premier League.
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Eddie Johnson, Ahead
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Starting in 2004, the Florida native spent practically a full decade representing the USA on worldwide degree, and was a part of the 2006 World Cup staff. As of July 2023, Johnson ranked within the prime 10 amongst all American gamers with 19 worldwide targets. Whereas Johnson performed professionally in England and Greece, he spent a majority of these enjoying days in MLS, the place he tallied greater than 60 targets whereas enjoying for FC Dallas, Kansas Metropolis, Seattle and D.C. United. He was named MLS Comeback Participant of the Yr in 2007 and 2012.
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One other title synonymous with American soccer, Jones is the all-time U.S. chief with 164 worldwide caps. He additionally scored greater than 12 targets whereas starring for the USMNT from 1991-2004. Jones was one of many early stars of Main League Soccer within the U.S. after spending time enjoying professionally in England and Brazil. He posted 70 targets and gained two MLS Cups throughout his stellar 11-season run with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Corridor of Famer was then a part of the Galaxy teaching employees earlier than having fun with a profitable profession within the broadcast sales space.
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One in every of three American keepers to report greater than 100 caps for the nationwide staff, Keller was a part of 4 World Cup rosters from 1990-2007. That longevity helped Keller turn into one of the vital reliable and revered performers within the historical past of American soccer. The Corridor of Famer was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Yr in 1997, 1999 and 2005. Although Keller started and ended his skilled membership profession enjoying within the States, he’s thought of the primary American goalkeeper to characteristic prominently in elite European leagues Bundesliga, English Premier League and La Liga.
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Alexi Lalas, Defender
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One other iconic determine in American soccer, Lalas was not solely identified for his prolonged facial hair and wild coiffure — he is additionally thought of probably the greatest defenders to ever play the sport. Lalas posted greater than 90 caps whereas enjoying for the USMNT from 1991-98, and likewise recorded 10 targets in the course of the course of. A member of the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame, Lalas was the primary American to play in Italy’s top-tier Serie A division earlier than having fun with a profitable MLS profession, the place he gained a championship with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002.
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Joe-Max Moore, Ahead
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One other nice American purpose scorer. The Oklahoma native and former UCLA standout, Moore recorded 100 caps as a world from 1993-2001. In the meantime, his 24 targets rank among the many prime 10 by all American gamers. Moore’s 4 targets towards El Salvador from 1993 are tied for probably the most in American historical past. He was a member of three U.S. World Cup groups (1994, 1998, 2002) and took half within the 1992 Summer season Olympics. Moore performed in Germany to start his skilled membership profession, which additionally included stops in Ecuador, England and MLS, the place he scored 90 targets for New England from 1996-99. Moore was inducted into the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2013.
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Not solely did Meola take pleasure in a protracted and profitable enjoying profession for membership and nation, however he is lengthy been an awesome ambassador for the sport. One other American keeper with not less than 100 worldwide caps, Meola was a member of U.S. World Cup groups in 1990, 1994 and 2002. On the membership degree, Meola’s biggest success got here in MLS, the place the New Jersey native was a neighborhood favourite for the NY/NJ MetroStars, and gained a championship with Kansas Metropolis in 2000, when he was additionally named MLS MVP. Meola ought to be thought to be the primary true star American goalkeeper, paving the way in which for the likes of the aforementioned Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller and Tim Howard to shine.
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Brian McBride, Ahead
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Hailing from suburban Chicago, McBride was a pure scorer who notched 30 targets for the USA nationwide staff whereas making greater than 90 appearances from 1993-2006. McBride was a member of three U.S. World Cup squads (1998, 2002, 2006) and inducted into the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2014. Throughout a profitable membership profession in Europe and America, McBride grew to become a fan favourite whereas enjoying for Fulham throughout the pond in between MLS stints with Columbus and his hometown Chicago Hearth.
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Eddie Pope, Defender
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Pope’s tenacity was a trademark of his play on the backline, which included greater than 80 appearances for the U.S. nationwide staff, a tenure that started in late 1996 and lasted practically a full decade. Pope additionally loved a prolonged MLS profession (1996-2007), starring principally for D.C. United, the place he gained three championships (1996, ’97 and ’99) and was named the league’s defender of the yr in 1997. Pope, who has remained an important a part of rising MLS following his enjoying days, was inducted into the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2011.
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The present celebrity of U.S. soccer, Pulisic debuted on the nationwide degree in 2012, as a part of the Underneath-15 squad. Since then, he is totaled 47 targets spanning simply over 100 caps. A formidable 25 targets have come by means of 60 appearances on the senior degree. Often called “Captain America,” it is truthful to say Pulisic is probably the most proficient participant, from a pure expertise standpoint, on this record — or that America has ever produced. He totaled 30 targets whereas enjoying for European giants Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea, and now is able to exhibit for AC Milan. Solely in his mid-20s, Pulisic has already been named U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Yr 3 times.
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One in every of most celebrated American gamers of all time, Reyna recorded 112 caps for the nationwide staff from 1994-2006. He was a part of 4 World Cup, three CONCACAF Gold Cup and two U.S. Olympic groups. On the membership degree, Reyna spent most of his skilled profession enjoying in Germany, Scotland and England earlier than ending up with a short stint on New York Purple Bulls. Nonetheless, Reyna stayed in MLS through government roles with New York Metropolis FC and Austin FC. He was inducted into the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2012.
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Peter Vermes, Defender
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One more product of New Jersey, the American hotbed of soccer. Although Vermes’ time on the nationwide staff wasn’t as prolonged as others on this record, he posted 11 targets spanning 66 appearances in the course of the Nineteen Nineties. Following a strong profession enjoying in Europe, Vermes established himself as probably the greatest backline abilities in MLS historical past. In 2000, he was named MLS Defender of the Yr whereas serving to Kansas Metropolis win the league championship. As of 2023 season, the Corridor of Famer is the longest-active supervisor in MLS whereas persevering with to information Sporting Kansas Metropolis.
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Eric Wynalda, Ahead
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Lengthy lauded for his sensational footwork with the ball, Wynalda preceded the likes of Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan when it got here to goal-scoring prowess. His 34 targets whereas enjoying greater than 100 video games with the nationwide staff at the moment rank fourth all time. Wynalda was additionally among the many first American gamers to take pleasure in success enjoying membership ball in Europe. From 1992-’94, he scored 34 targets for Germany’s 1. FC Saarbrücken. The Corridor of Famer finally made his option to MLS, the place he hung out within the late Nineteen Nineties and into the 2000s.
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A more moderen American star, Zimmerman has registered 42 worldwide caps from 2017 as much as 2023, and was a part of the 2022 U.S. World Cup staff. One other standout product from UCLA, Zimmerman has loved a profitable profession in MLS. The All-Star actually got here into his personal with Los Angeles FC, after which gained back-to-back Defender of the Yr awards in 2020 and ’21 because the anchor of Nashville SC‘s backline. Along with his physicality within the opponents’ defensive-third, the 6-foot-3 Zimmerman is an offensive drive within the field through set items.
A Chicago native, Jeff Mezydlo has professionally written about sports activities, leisure and popular culture for practically 30 years. If he may do it once more, he’d attend Degrassi Junior Excessive, Ampipe Excessive and Grand Lakes College.