Saw a good post over the weekend about the top 10 US players. It was on this blog. I’ve reposted them below
10. Frank Simek, Sheffield Wednesday — Surprise right off the bat, right? Despite a mug that would place him front and center as a villain in an 80s high school movie, the former Arsenal trainee has been a model pro for the Owls. He’s coming off years of 45 and 44 appearances in the rough-and-tumble England League Championship, which says a lot.
9. Carlos Bocanegra, Fulham — A first choice start at Craven Cottage and now wearing the captain’s armband. Can craftily get forward and contribute to the attack on set plays, yet far too often exposed defensively. Still, come a long way since moving to England in 2004 and has now racked up over 100 appearances.
8. Taylor Twellman, NE Revolution — Take away his miserable showing in the US shirt, the “face” from New England is as steady a goalscorer as you’ll find in MLS. Factor in that the Revs are continually among the top teams in the league and his 92 goals in 169 appearances and it’s impossible to deny him. (Perhaps he can even help the Revs win their first trophy — ever — in tonight’s US Open Cup final.)
7. Michael Bradley, SC Heerenveen — From fringe, glorified practice player with the MetroStars to starter in the Dutch Eredivisie all inside of four seasons. Not bad for a guy that just turned 20.
6. Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy — Obviously a lightning rod for any American soccer fan, yet it’s hard to dispute that he’s been the best player in MLS this century. Probably should dock ‘professionalism points’ for quitting Bayer Leverkausen, but that’s frankly become a moot point in my book. It was around three years ago, everyone should be able to move on by now.
5. Steve Cherundolo, Hannover 96 — In a lot of ways, the anti-Donovan. He went to Germany in 1999 and instead of sulking, pining for the beach and locking himself in his room to play video games. Instead ‘Dolo took it upon himself to integrate into Der Motherland and learn the culture and language. (Granted he was 20 and had spend two years in college, while Donovan was 17.) 225 Bundesliga appearances and counting, plus the vice-captaincy and Cherundolo is in a lot of ways the model American ex-pat soccer pro.
4. Clint Dempsey, Fulham — Small body of work, but the Deuce has already made quite and impact at Craven Cottage. His goal last year v. Liverpool likely kept Fulham in the top division and so far this year he had a streak of three straight games with a goal. The biggest knock on the man from Nogadoches, Texas is he can absolutely drift and disappear from games. If I did this list in Sept. 2008, he’s the odds-on favorite for the No. 1 slot.
3. Brad Friedel, Blackburn Rovers — Without question the best American export of all time. Despite just 25 sporadic games, he’s the
only first American to play for one Europe’s ‘glamor’ clubs in Liverpool (1997-2000). Since his move to Blackburn he’s probably been aside from perhaps Steven Gerrard and maybe Paul Scholes, the most important player to his club. Friedel has started nearly every game for the club and his command of the area got them through some dodgy times. It’s just a shame he retired from International play after the 2002 World Cup. It’s also a shame he speaks with a fake English accent. Then again, no one is perfect.
2. DaMarcus Beasley, Glasgow Rangers — Let’s throw out the lost season at Manchester City. Beasley, first at PSV and now at Rangers, is the best American in the UEFA Champions League — by a mile. He’s already scored six goals in the competition, which just might be six more than the rest of our country combined. He’s also the only American to reach the competition’s semifinals. When his head’s screwed on straight, the Beaz is probably the most technically sound Yank around. Again, the only knock is he moved to Rangers, but they are a moderately large club and are continually in the Champions League. (Commentor Fan’s Attic points out Jovan Kirovski scored for Borussia Dortmund in the mid 90s in the Champions League, though it’s unclear if he played enough games to garner a winner’s medal.)
1. Tim Howard, Everton — Voted by the PFA into the 2004 Best XI of the Premier League as a keeper, probably the highest non-MLS award ever for an American player. He won an FA Cup that season, too. Of course, this list isn’t about the past. What pushed Howard to the top of the list was how he transformed Everton from a middle of the pack team to a solid Top Four contender when he moved to Merseyside ahead of the 2006/07 season. Yes, he’s prone to the occasional blunder but still has the chance to be the most decorated American player over the next decade, as he’s only 28. Earlier this season Everton locked him up until the 2012/13 season. Can’t see any other American getting that kind of level of commitment.
Seems like a pretty good list to me. Anyone else disagree?