Top 15 United States Soccer Players of All Time

Who is the best United States soccer player?

In the United States, the popularity of football (soccer) is still far behind the popularity of basketball and American football. However, in the last 20 years the United States soccer team has started to show consistent performances, even managed to reach the top 20 of FIFA World rankings. Not only that, the soccer league in the United States (Major League Soccer) also received more recognition as they bring a lot of world's best players such as David Beckham, Lothar Matthaus, Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and many more to play in the competition.

In this article, I present a list of 15 best U.S. soccer players of all time. They do not only perform well at national team level, but some are even able to claim prestigious titles in Europe with their own respective clubs.

15. Freddy Adu

Freddy Adu's talent as a young soccer player was greatly admired. He was regarded as the future of the United States and many pundit predict he would be a world star. Adu signed a contract as a professional footballer at the age of 14 years and to this day still holds the record as the youngest goal scorer in MLS. His great dribbling skills and techniques even made Adu was regarded as "The Next Pele." Unfortunately, Adu failed to answer the hopes and expectations of the American public. His career in Europe with Benfica and Monaco failed miserably. He even had to play in various clubs in the lower division of Turkish League. I included Adu in this list not because of his football talent, but more because of the sensation and record that he made at his early career.

14. Alexi Lalas

Alexi Lalas is a retired soccer player who became the icon of the United States national team in the 1994 World Cup. At the tournament held in his country, Lalas stole the show with his impressive performances. He was known as a defender who possessed high stamina and strong physical ability. This player joined an Italian club, Padova, for one season; but eventually returned to the United States after the club was relegated. Lalas was selected as the best athlete of the United States in 1995.

13. Jozy Altidore

Almost the same as Freddy Adu, Altidore showed great potential at a young age. He debuted as a professional soccer player at the age of 16 years. After two years of playing in MLS, he decided to go to Europe and played for various clubs such as Villarreal, Xerez, AZ Alkmaar, and Sunderland. Compared Adu, Altidore's performance is much better and consistent. He even managed to win the KNVB Cup at AZ Alkmaar and also became the top scorer of the tournament.

12. Tony Meola

Tony Meola was the number-one goalkeeper of the US national soccer team in the 1994 World Cup. His performance in the tournament was pretty good, where he was able to help his country reach the second round. After the tournament, Meola told the coach that he wanted to switch careers into an American football player. It made his coach angry, and for five years Meola was not called up to join his country national soccer team. The most memorable individual achievement ever achieved by Meola was when he was selected as the best MLS goalkeeper of 2000.

11. Marcelo Balboa

Balboa captained the United States national team in the period of 1990s. His career with the U.S. national team took place in the period 1988-2000. In a period of twelve years, Balboa played in 128 matches and scored 13 goals for his country. He was also twice elected as the best athlete in the United States in 1992 and 1994.

10. Brad Friedel

Brad Friedel is one of the most experienced goalkeepers in the Premier League. In a period of 17 years, Friedel joined Newcastle United, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa. His performance was quite consistent, and he was even included into the Premier League All-Star team in the 2002-03 season. In addition to that feat, Friedel also holds the record as the player with the number of consecutive appearances ever in Premier League, with a total of 310 appearances in a row.

9. Jeff Agoos

Jeff Agoos was a defender who became a mainstay of the U.S. national team in the 1990s. This player spent his entire career played in MLS competition and won five league titles. Agoos was also included in the squad of the United States that won CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2002. Throughout 15 years of his career, he played in 134 matches and scored four goals for his country.

8. Brian McBride

The best period Brian McBride's career occurred when he played for Fulham from 2004 to 2008. During this period, McBride scored many important goals for his club, even twice selected as the best Fulham player. Not only that, he also was trusted to be the captain of Fulham before moving to the Chicago Fire. Dempsey played in the World Cup 1998, 2002, and 2006; and became the United States' first player to score goals in two different World Cup tournaments.

7. Tim Howard

Tim Howard is one of the best United States goalkeepers of all time. He became the number one goalkeeper of Manchester United before moving to Everton in 2007. Though to date Howard has not won any single trophy with Everton, he has achieved a status as a respectable player of the club. For seven years, his position as number-one goalkeeper at Everton is almost irreplaceable. At Everton, Howard also scored a goal in a match against Bolton Wanderers in 2012.

6. Claudio Reyna

Claudio Reyna is a retired playmaker who played for the United States in the period 1994-2006. Reyna was known as a creative midfielder who can also be positioned as a defensive midfielder or a right-back. His career in Europe was also pretty good, where he joined Glasgow Rangers, Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester City and Sunderland. In the UK, Reyna was dubbed as "Captain America" ​​because of his status as a captain his national team.

5. DaMarcus Beasley

Judging from the number of trophies that he won, Beasley is the most successful United States soccer player in Europe. He won two Scottish League titles with Rangers and two Eredivisie titles with PSV Eindhoven. The players who was born in 1982 was also known for his ability to play in various positions, ranging from left-midfielder, wing defender, striker and attacking midfielder. He also holds the record as the U.S. player who scored the most goals in the Champions League tournament.

4. Kasey Keller

Kasey Keller is the best United States goalkeeper of all time, even better than Tim Howard, Brad Friedel, and Tony Meola. He participated in four World Cup tournaments and played in La Liga, Bundesliga, and the Premier League. Although he has never won any prestigious trophy in European competition, the quality of Keller as a goalkeeper cannot be doubted. He was known as a reliable penalty-stopper and made a lot of amazing saves.

3. Clint Dempsey

Just like Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey also underwent a period of scintillating career at Fulham. Playing in the period 2007-2012, Dempsey made a record as Fulham's all time top scorer in the Premier League competition. He also became the first U.S. player to score a hat trick in the Premier League, in a match against Newcastle United in 2012.

2. Cobi Jones

With a total of 164 appearances, Cobi Jones holds the record as the player with the highest number of caps for the U.S. national team. The midfielder joined Coventry City and Vasco da Gama before spending 11 years of his career playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy. His best season occurred in the 1997-98, in which Jones was selected as the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year and made 19 goals and 13 assists. His outstanding contribution to the LA Galaxy makes his jersey number, 13, officially retired by the club.

1. Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan deserves to be named as a soccer legend in the United States. Currently, he holds the record as the top scorer in U.S. national team, leading goal scorer in MLS history, and also recorded the highest number of assists in MLS. He was also elected as the Best Young Player of the World Cup 2002. Throughout his career, Donovan four times awarded as the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year and experienced a brief period of career in Europe with Everton and Bayern Munich.

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