Here is a comprehensive list of the top 10 American soccer players in history. These 10 soccer players have distinguished themselves as the best on a worldwide scale, regardless of whether they stayed on American soil or played all around the world.
10 – Cobi Jones
Cobi Jones, the midfielder with the most caps for the US national team, was a hard-working, goal-scoring midfielder who rose to legendary status with the LA Galaxy.
Jones spent 11 years with the Galaxy and won two MLS Cups. He was one of the notable group of players who return to the United States when the MLS was founded in 1996. For the Galaxy, he scored 70 goals in 306 appearances, including an exciting 1998 campaign in which he scored 19 goals in 24 games.
9 – Tab Ramos
Ramos is included on this list because of his effortless ability to dribble past defenders. Ramos, a deft attacker, may not have had the best goal scoring record, but his ability to create opportunities for his teammates was unmatched.
Before coming back to play more than 120 games for the MetroStars, he spent five years playing in the Spanish league. In 1989, against Trinidad and Tobago, Ramos’ assist allowed Paul Caliguiri to score, securing the United States’ first World Cup appearance in 40 years.
8 – Michael Bradley
With 151 games for the national team, Bradley is the third-most captained American player. Bradley’s lung-busting efforts in his position as a box-to-box midfielder won him widespread plaudits and a ton of European experience.
Before moving to the MLS, he made more than 60 appearances in Holland, Germany, and Italy. He has since made more than 200 appearances for Toronto FC and won the MLS Cup in 2017.
7 – Christian Pulisic
In the not-too-distant future, Pulisic, who goes by the moniker “Captain America,” may rank higher on this list, but for now, the 23-year-old is just getting started.
He began his professional career in Germany, where he helped Borussia Dortmund win the German Cup in 2016–17, before Chelsea bought him for $73 million, making him the most expensive American player in history.
Pulisic made history by becoming the first American to play in the final by scoring one goal and assisting on another in the 2020–21 Champions League semifinal. The victory for Chelsea gave Pulisic yet another prize to add to his collection.
6 – Eddie Pope
Eddie Pope, who was a vital member of the World Cup squads in 1998, 2002, and 2006, is probably the best defender in American national team history.
Pope played for D.C. United, MetroStars, and Real Salt Lake for the entirety of his career in the United States, despite strong interest from several elite European teams. He has won three MLS Cups and led D.C. United to an overtime victory over LA Galaxy in the inaugural MLS Cup Final.
5 – Brian McBride
The world was stunned by McBride’s goal in the 2002 World Cup against Portugal’s “Golden Generation,” which helped the United States to a stunning 3-2 victory. McBride is a great American striker.
He is the fifth-highest scorer for the nation and led the assault the year the United States reached the World Cup Quarterfinal. The sports bar at the stadium is called “McBride’s” in his honor after he made 140 appearances and scored 33 goals for Fulham in the Premier League.
He will always make a good response in a pub quiz because he was the first player selected in the 1996 MLS draft.
4 – Tim Howard
Despite his accomplishments, Tim Howard doesn’t rank as the top shot-stopper on this list because of America’s propensity for producing excellent goalkeepers.
The United States men’s soccer team’s most experienced goalkeeper, Howard set a World Cup record in 2014 when he made 15 saves against Belgium, the most ever in a tournament game, giving him the nickname “Secretary of Defense.”
As Manchester United’s starting goalkeeper, Howard won three significant awards. After joining Everton, he became just the fourth goalkeeper in Premier League history to score a goal.
3 – Brad Friedel
Friedel was the best goalkeeper for the United States in the 2002 World Cup, earning the nickname “The Human Wall” for his efforts.
He frequently played for Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa, and Tottenham in the Premier League. Friedel is presently eighth on the list of all-time clean sheets and holds the record for the most straight league appearances (310).
He helped increase the visibility of American athletes in Europe thanks to his quick reactions and authoritative presence in the penalty area.
2 – Clint Dempsey
The track record of Dempsey speaks for itself. With 57 goals for the U.S. men’s team, Dempsey co-holds the record for most goals ever scored by a player. He is a fiery, tenacious, attack-minded player.
In all three FIFA World Cups he attended, he scored, notably against Ghana in 2014 when he scored the fifth-fastest goal in tournament history. Dempsey established himself in the Premier League at both Fulham and Tottenham, and with 50 goals overall, he still holds the record for Fulham’s most goals in the league.
1 – Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan, a six-time MLS Cup champion, also holds the record for most assists in MLS history (136). Donovan began his professional career in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen and then moved back to the United States permanently after taking a loan to the San Jose Earthquakes. He spent time on loan at Everton and Bayern Munich, where he rapidly won over the crowd. Top 10 American soccer players.
With the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, Donovan holds the record for both most assists and most goals. He is the first player in history to have more than 50 goals and 50 assists for his nation. Donovan, a creative midfielder with a track record of scoring goals, was unequaled among American teammates and inspired a generation.
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