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Pulisic, McKennie and Weah headline growing crop of Americans playing abroad

1:43 AM GMT+4 11/08/2018
Christian Pulisic
The Borussia Dortmund star is ready to kick off another season in the Bundesliga, but he is joined by a growing crop of Americans playing outside MLS

American soccer fans are finally starting to come through the dark haze of disappointment after the U.S. national team's failed World Cup qualifying campaign, and as the next cycle looms on the horizon, attention will start to ramp up on those players who will make up major parts of the USMNT program's reconstruction.

At the forefront will be the contingent of American players plying their trades in Europe. Players who have already established themselves like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and DeAndre Yedlin continue to lead the way, while younger options like Tim Weah and Josh Sargent look to bolster what is shaping up to be a sizable group of Americans in Europe's top leagues.

Some players, like Bill Hamid and Jorge Villafana, have returned to MLS after stints in foreign leagues, but there are more top Americans making the move away from MLS than ever before.

With the new European seasons kicking off, here is a look at the top Americans playing in foreign leagues, including many who will be playing for new teams:


The list of American players expected to be regular starters entering the Premier League season is a short one, led by Yedlin, who returns for another season with Newcastle United. Danny Williams is back from a severe ankle injury that cost him the final two months of the last Premier League season with Huddersfield Town.

Then you have Tim Ream, who is back in the Premier League for the first time since 2012. He played a key role in helping Fulham secure promotion, and with the Cottagers having spent some serious money to revamp the squad, Ream stands a good chance of having it be a stay that lasts more than a season. Luca de la Torre is still at Fulham with Ream, but a loan move feels more likely for the U.S. Under-20 standout.

Tottenham's decision not to buy or sell any key players this summer was a surprise, but one player who will join Spurs after a year away on loan is Cameron Carter-Vickers. The young defender spent time at Sheffield United and Ipswich Town but will begin the new season with Tottenham's first team.

While there aren't many Americans in the Premier League this season, the League Championship is stacked with several familiar names. Geoff Cameron is still at Stoke City, which will work to rebound after being relegated. Eric Lichaj left Nottingham Forest after five seasons and will now play for Hull City. Rising USMNT prospect Antonee Robinson is still on the books for Everton, but is headed for another loan, this time with Wigan.

Duane Holmes has joined Frank Lampard's Derby County for the upcoming season, while Gboly Ariyibi is back with Nottingham Forest after a pair of loans. It remains to be seen whether he will stay put or go out on another loan. Defender Giles Phillips is with Queens Park Rangers.

One player to watch in League One is Lynden Gooch, who has remained with Sunderland through consecutive relegations and figures to be a key figure in the Black Cats' attempt to climb back up the ladder.


There was time when England was where the most Americans were found playing regularly overseas, but that distinction now goes to the German system which has become the preferred destination for American prospects in recent years.

Pulisic and McKennie are back with their respective clubs for the new season, with the surprise there being that someone didn't come along and make Borussia Dortmund an offer it couldn't refuse for Pulisic. John Brooks (Wolfsburg) and Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach) will look to put injury-plagued seasons behind them, while Timmy Chandler attempts to build on back-to-back solid seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Though Hamburg was relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time, Bobby Wood will remain in the top flight after securing a loan to Hannover 96. Werder Bremen will boast a pair of American forwards in veteran Aron Johannsson and highly-regarded prospect Josh Sargent, who USMNT fans will be hoping can be the latest American teenager to shine in the Bundesliga.

Young Bayern Munich prospect Timothy Tillman is a player Americans will be watching closely. Eligible to play for Germany and the United States, Tillman is believed to be in the process of securing a one-time switch to play for the USMNT. He will joining newly-promoted Nuremberg on loan this season, and the 19-year-old winger could be a breakout player.

Veteran midfielder Caleb Stanko is set to experience the Bundesliga for the first time as a member of newly-promoted Freiburg, while fellow American midfielder Alfredo Morales is back in the top flight with newly-promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf.

U.S. Under-23 goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann is still with Hertha Berli, and is the team's third goalkeeper heading into the new season.

The 2. Bundesliga is packed with familiar American names, including Julian Green, who is back for another season with Greuther Fuerth, and Joe Gyau, who completed a summer move to join MSV Duisburg, is looking to reboot his once-promising career. Veteran forward Terrence Boyd and young speedster McKinze Gaines are still at Darmstadt together, while forward Jann George is one to watch at Jahn Regensburg.


Before the summer began, Tim Weah seemed more likely to spend the upcoming season on loan rather than with Paris Saint-Germain's first team. That was before an impressive preseason that must have manager Thomas Tuchel reconsidering his options for the young American. Minutes will be tough to come by if he stays at PSG, but Weah can take heart in knowing Tuchel has a track record of giving young players opportunities.

It has been a good while since there was a USMNT regular starting consistently in Ligue 1, but Matt Miazga will look to be just that after securing his move to Nantes. After two seasons with Dutch side Vitesse, Miazga will look to continue his progression as he seeks to get closer to a spot with Chelsea.

Another name to watch is American-born, France-raised forward Theoson Siebatcheu, who plays for Rennes. He is on the USMNT radar and could be a new dual national for the upcoming cycle.


After lighting the Dutch second division with Telstar, Andrija Novakovich secured a move to Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard. Fellow recent USMNT debutant Erik Palmer-Brown will also call the Netherlands home this upcoming season after finalizing a loan move to NAC Breda.

Excelsior bid farewell to Shane O'Neill earlier this summer — he signed with Orlando City — but Desevio Payne is still on the books with the club and the former U.S. Under-20 fullback will look to break into a regular starting role.


Kenny Saief made his USMNT debut a little more than a year ago, but injuries have kept him from showing fans what he can bring. Those curious about his qualities can watch him with Belgian power Anderlecht this season.

Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath is looking to pick up the pieces after a brutal last season, but an expected move away from Club Brugge hasn't materialized and he's still stuck on the bench.

One player who USMNT fans should start paying attention to is 23-year-old central defender Brendan Hines-Ike, who completed two impressive seasons with Swedish side Orebro, and has now secured a move to Belgian side KV Kortrijk.


USMNT veteran Omar Gonzalez has already begun the new season with his new club Atlas, having secured a move away from Pachuca over the summer after falling out of favor. Joe Corona is back with Club America, looking to build on an impressive first season with Las Aguilas. Rubio Rubin is back with Club Tijuana, where he is joined by Alejandro Guido.

Two players who switched clubs after long stints were Jose Torres, who left Tigres for Puebla, and Michael Orozco, who left ClubTijuana for Lobos. Club Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough was expected to leave this summer but is still with the club.

Central defender Ventura Alvarado has settled in well with Necaxa as he pursues a potential return to the USMNT.


Keaton Parks earned his USMNT debut back in June and will look to earn more first-team minutes with Benfica. Romain Gall parlayed a strong season with Swedish side Sundsvall into a move to Swedish champion and Champions League participant Malmo. Speedy winger Jonathan Amon is back with FC Nordsjaelland and will look to boost his case for a national team look.