By 90Min
May 05, 2019

It is widely known that Americans love their country, and this stereotype holds true for football players as well. US footballers normally aren't the first people to jump at an opportunity to test their mettle on the other side of the Atlantic, resulting in very few American stars ever making a huge impact on the biggest leagues in the world.

Despite the norm, there are still a decent amount of US internationals who have decided to make the jump and made a solid impact on their respective leagues.

Here are the nine most successful American players to move from MLS to Europe.

Michael Bradley (Heerenveen, Borusia Monchengladbach, Aston Villa, Chievo, Roma)

Michael Bradley,Borja Valero

Michael Bradley has been the scapegoat for the United States' failed run to the 2018 World Cup, but this doesn't make his success in Europe any less impressive. Bradley played some top football while in Italy, surprising everyone when he decided to make the move back to MLS in 2014.

Throughout his career in Europe, Bradley developed into one of the best central players the United States has ever seen. The 31-year-old's ability to pick the ball up in front of his back four and ping a ball directly into the path of a winger has not been matched by any American midfielder in recent history.

Kasey Keller (Millwall, Leicester, Rayo Vallecano, Tottenham, Southampton, Borusia Monchengladbach, Fulham)

Kasey Keller

Keller played professional football for an incredible 23 years across four different countries. Now retired, Keller was the first American goalkeeper to cement himself as a starter in the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga.

On the national team level, the goalkeeper played in four separate World Cups for the US and helped the team win three Gold Cups. Keller was a real spark for Americans thinking about heading overseas to test themselves in Europe.

DaMarcus Beasley (PSV, Manchester City, Rangers, Hannover)

Thierry Henry,DaMarcus Beasley

Beasley is arguably the best American defender to play in Europe. Beasley's career took him to the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Germany, Mexico and the US where he won plenty of silverware along the way.

Now 36, the full-back has claimed two Eredivisie titles, a KNVP Cup, two Scottish Premier League titles and several awards in MLS. Beasley has also played in four World Cups for the United States and is tied for second on the list of all-time appearances on the biggest stage for his country.

Clint Dempsey (Fulham, Tottenham)


Dempsey's move to England didn't initially pan out, but a turning point came when he scored the game-winning goal against Liverpool to ensure Fulham's safety in the Premier League. After this goal, 'Duece' would go on to win the Fulham Player of the Year award twice and currently holds the club record for goals scored in the Premier League.

Dempsey's success earned him a move to Tottenham where he spent just a single season before returning to MLS to finish his career. Dempsey is a hero among USMNT supporters after he carried the squad in the 2014 World Cup and is currently tied with Landon Donovan at the top of the US national team's goalscoring chart with 57 goals to his name.

Brad Friedel (Galatasaray, Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa, Tottenham)

Brad Friedel

Friedel is US football's equivalent of Cal Ripken Jr. Friedel holds the Premier League record for consecutive matches played, featuring in 310 straight games between 2004 and 2012 for Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham. Friedel became a fan favourite during his time at Tottenham, helping the squad reach the Europa League in two separate seasons.

Between Friedel and Keller, the early 2000s were a prosperous time for American goalkeepers in Europe, setting the stage for many other players to make the move.

Brian McBride (Wolfsburg, Fulham)

Javier Mascherano,Brian McBride

McBride enjoyed his most successful spell in Europe during his five seasons with Fulham. The forward bagged 33 goals in 140 appearances for the Cottagers and helped them to mid-table finishes in each of his seasons with the club.

Stateside, McBride helped grow MLS during the important early years of the league, becoming one of the stars of American football in the 90s and 2000s.

Tim Howard (Manchester United, Everton)


An all-time favourite among US football fans, Tim Howard earned himself the nickname the 'Secretary of Defence' after his stunning performance in the 2014 World Cup. At club level, Howard began his European career under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and held down the starting role until Edwin van der Sar took over in 2005.

Howard was the main man between the sticks for Everton for almost a decade, helping the squad to some of their best finishes in club history. When Howard moved from England back to MLS in 2016 he was regarded as one of the best players in United States history.

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