Staff writer Doug Roberson says these are the five greatest homegrown soccer players.
1. Landon Donovan
Though the midfielder/forward hasn’t consistently produced in the higher quality leagues in Europe, Donovan’s success in Major League Soccer, as well as in the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, is undeniable. He has helped his teams win five titles in MLS and scored 124 goals with 100 assists heading into the 2013 season. Internationally, he holds national records for goals (52) and assists (51) in 146 appearances for the U.S. team before Saturday.
2. Clint Dempsey
The crafty midfielder/forward has replaced Donovan as the face of U.S. soccer. He started in MLS with New England, where he scored 25 goals in 71 appearances. That success continued at Fulham and then Tottenham Hotspur in England’s Premier League, where he has scored 57 goals (in league games), the most by a U.S. player in the league’s history. Internationally, he has scored 32 goals for the U.S. national team.
3. Brad Friedel
He arguably is the greatest goalkeeper in U.S. history and was considered at one point as one of the best in the world. He has played for so long in Europe, particularly England, that he has a slight accent. After breaking in with Turkey’s Galatasaray, his European career continued at Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and currently at Tottenham Hotspur. In all, he has made more than 400 club appearances and is still playing at age 42. He retired from the U.S. national team in 2005 after 82 appearances.
4. Brian McBride
After scoring 62 goals in 161 appearances with Columbus in MLS, McBride moved to Europe for eight years and scored 38 goals with Preston North End, Everton and Fulham. A tall, strong forward who is powerful in the air, McBride returned to MLS in 2008 to score 18 goals in 59 appearances with Chicago. Internationally, McBride scored 30 goals in 95 appearances with the U.S. national team.
5. Bert Patenaude
The name might not be familiar, but Patenaude was the forward for the U.S. national team who scored the first hat trick (three goals) in World Cup history. He accomplished the feat against Paraguay in 1930 in Uruguay. His record of four goals scored in that tournament still stands as the U.S. record. He was inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 1971.