The English Premier League is one of the most highly rated and competitive leagues in existence, drawing talented players from around the globe. But did you know that plenty of illustrious Americans have also plied their trade in the planet’s number-one football league over the years? And plenty is still leaving their mark on the English top flight today.
Former New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch was in charge of Leeds United at the start of the campaign and he brought in a number of his American compatriots to help the Yorkshire club attempt to stave off relegation.
Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams were both brought in last summer while Weston McKennie signed on loan from Juventus in January. They couldn’t prevent the aforementioned Marsch from losing his job, however, and the Elland Road club is currently sitting just one point above the relegation zone.
Another team that was tipped to struggle this season was Fulham. Online sportsbook Bodog, which provides sports betting, as well as casino classics like Blackjack on Bodog, had made the Cottagers one of the favorites for the drop this term. However, thanks to the stellar performances of American defenders Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson, the West London club are currently flying high in sixth place.
Captain America himself, Christian Pulisic, has also been in the Premier League with Chelsea since 2019. That year, he arrived at Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund and has been one of the club’s best players ever since.
With a number of Americans still flying the Star Spangled Banner proudly, we decided to take a look at some of the nation’s finest exports. Here are the four Americans with the most Premier League appearances throughout the division’s history.
1. Brad Friedel – 450 appearances
Brad Friedel is not only one of the most decorated American goalkeepers of all time but also one of the finest shot-stoppers to ever feature in the Premier League. He played for a number of clubs during his career, including Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Tottenham Hotspur. He spent some of his best years in Lancashire with Blackburn Rovers, where he could win the League Cup in 2002.
In total, Friedel made 450 appearances in the English top flight, more than any other American player throughout history. He also holds the record for the most consecutive starts in the Premier League. He made 310 consecutive appearances across an eight-year, three club, spell between 2004 and 2012.
Friedel was one of the division’s most consistent performers over the years. He was so impressive in the early 2000s that he was named in the Premier League Team of the Season in 2002/03. He also won the award for most clean sheets that same year.
2. Tim Howard – 399 appearances
Like Friedel, Tim Howard was also named in the Premier League Team of the Season, one year after his compatriot in 2003/04. Throughout his storied career, the New Jersey-born shot-stopper was signed by Manchester United for $4m to replace outgoing legendary French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez in 2003 and was one of United’s most consistent performers in his debut campaign.
Tough times were to come, and Howard was eventually sold to Everton in 2006. He would discover his finest form at Goodison Park and would go on to feature 414 times in all competitions for the Toffees. He would return to America after over a decade in England in 2016 when he signed for the Colorado Rapids, and he would rack up a century of appearances for the club before announcing his retirement.
Throughout his time across the pond, Howard would win the FA Cup and League Cup with the Red Devils. He also was a losing finalist in the FA Cup on two occasions, in 2005 and 2009.
3. Clint Dempsey – 218 appearances
Clint Dempsey is perhaps the greatest outfield American player to ever feature in the Premier League. The former New England Revolution man racked up 184 league appearances throughout a six-year stint in London with Fulham, netting 50 goals in the process. He also scored a stunning goal against Juventus in the 2009/10 Europa League en route to the Cottagers; run to the final.
He would move to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in 2012 for a fee of around $9m, and he would net a further 7 goals in 29 appearances at White Hart Lane.
Dempsey also shone brightly for the USMNT. He has featured 141 times for the Stars and Stripes throughout a 13-year period, bagging 57 goals in the process. Only Cobi Jones, Landon Donovan, and Michael Bradley have more international appearances to their name than Clint Dempsey.
4. Kasey Keller – 201 appearances
Kasey Keller is another goalkeeper who enjoyed a successful career in England. He turned out for Millwall in the second tier, before securing a move to Leicester City in the late nineties. During his time in the Premier League, he made 201 appearances and was also a member of the USMNT at three World Cups.
Keller won the 1997 League Cup with Leicester City, a club with which he enjoyed his finest years. He would move on to Rayo Vallecano in Spain following his stint in the Midlands, before returning to England in 2001 and becoming Tottenham Hotspur’s number one.