This week saw our friends across the pond celebrate Independence Day, July 4th, in as fine a style as ever.
With many Americans in a buoyant, celebratory mood, we decided to assess the top five Americans to forge a successful spell in the Premier League. With the growing reputation of the MLS, it would be easy to forget that they have had their own influence on football here too.
Tim Howard was signed by Manchester United in 2003 as a replacement for Fabien Barthez. The goalkeeper started off very well at Manchester United; however, his form soon dipped and he never played regularly for the club again, managing only 45 appearances over three seasons.
Upon leaving Old Trafford, he moved on to Goodison Park – initially on loan. His impressive form eventually made Everton shell out £3 million to make the deal permanent.
Howard went onto make over 300 appearances for the Toffees during a ten-year spell at the club, establishing himself as one of the top flight’s most consistent goalkeepers. Howard, now 37, departed Goodison this summer and returned to the MLS with Colorado Rapids.
Arguably the most talented American player of his generation, Donovan spent two separate loan spells with Everton during the MLS off season.
After the 2009 MLS season had finished, he joined the Toffees on loan in January 2010 and during this period, he played in 13 games in all competitions and scored two goals, He was named the club’s Player of the Month for his performances that same month.
Donovan proved such a popular figure at Goodison Park that the club brought him back on loan in January 2012, once again during the MLS off season. However, the Merseyside club failed to make the deal permanent and the forward returned to LA Galaxy where he ended his career.
McBride began his Premier League career with a loan spell at Everton in 2003, having impressed manager David Moyes during an earlier spell with Preston North End.
In a three-month loan spell, the forward scored four goals in eight games which prompted Fulham to bring the player to England permanently.
The American was also highly impressive at Fulham, with a steady flow of goals – bagging 33 goals in 140 appearances over a four-year stint.
McBride became such a fan favourite that upon leaving the club, Fulham renamed the sports bar at Craven Cottage McBride’s in his honour.
Friedel is one of a very few select players to have made over 400 appearances in the Premier League over a 17-year stretch.
Work permit issues meant the goalkeeper had to wait till 1997 before making a move to the Premier League. Friedel completed a transfer to Liverpool – worth £1.7 million – in 1997 but is better known for his time at Blackburn Rovers, where the shot stopper made 287 appearances between 2000 and 2008.
He spent the latter stages of his career at Aston Villa and Spurs, before retiring in 2015 at the ripe old age of 44.
The American shot stopper holds several records from his time in England. He is the current holder of the Premier League record for most consecutive appearances with 310, a feat he achieved during spells at Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as being the oldest player to appear in a competitive match for the latter two clubs.
Friedel is arguably one of the most consistent goalkeepers in Premier League history and likely to always retain that title.
Dempsey didn’t quite live up to the hype during a one-year spell at White Hart Lane but was an undoubted outstanding performer over a five-year period with Fulham.
Often playing across many positions in the Cottagers’ front line, he notched up 60 goals in over 200 appearances, and played a key role in the club’s march to the Europa League final in 2010.
The player was another popular American at Fulham – so popular the club signed him on loan for a further five-game spell during the MLS off-season in 2014.
Steven Parkhill, Pundit Arena