After his heroics last night for Aston Villa after saving 4 penalties in the Carling Cup match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Brad Guzan is the latest American Goalkeeper to make his mark in English football. He is the latest in a line of American players who have played in goal for Premier League teams. But why are there more US goalkeepers in the Premiership than players in any other position? Here is a look at some of the goalkeepers who have made a name for themselves and US soccer in the English game.
Kasey Keller was the first American Goalkeeper to make his mark in the Premier League. He joined Millwall in 1992, before moving to Leicester City in 1996 to play in the top flight for the first time. He later played for Tottenham and Fulham in the Premiership as well, and is still playing today at the age of 39 for the Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer. He has also won over 100 caps for his country and arguably remains the best goalkeeper that the United States has ever produced.
Brad Friedel made his name in the Premier League when he Blackburn in 2000 after a short spell at Liverpool. He became the first name on the team sheet at Ewood Park throughout the early 2000s. The 38 year old now plays for Aston Villa and is currently their number one ahead of fellow American Brad Guzan. He is the current holder of the Premier League record for most consecutive appearances with 195 and counting. Whilst he is the third most capped goalkeeper in US soccer history, but has now retired from international football in a bid to prolong his domestic career.
Tim Howard has had to overcome a number of obstacles in his life, including racism and Tourette’s Syndrome. Howard was signed by Manchester United in 2003, where his many excellent performances were sometimes spoilt by occasional errors that seemed to ruin his confidence. Howard uncharacteristically spoke out when Edwin Van Der Sar was brought to Old Trafford shortly after he had signed a new contract. He soon moved on to Everton where he still plays and is currently the first choice US goalkeeper.
Marcus Hahnemann joined Fulham in 1999, but failed to break into the first team and moved to Reading which is where he made his name. After seven years at the club he now plays for Wolves in the Premier League. Hahnemann thinks that there is a high amount of top quality American goalkeepers as “they grow up playing so many different sports, particularly baseball, football and basketball” and “develop good hand to eye coordination. Also, in the States lots of kids actually want to be goalies, whereas over here it’s like whoever is too rubbish to play outfield has to go in goal.” Must be all that catching they have to do in American Football.
The latest American keeper to make a mark in England is Aston Villa back-up ‘keeper’ Brad Guzan. Signed in 2008, Guzan has failed to displace Friedel to this day, but has made some first-team appearances in cup competitions. The highlight of which is saving four penalties in the Carling Cup tie, one in normal time and three more in a penalty shoot-out win. At the age of just 25, Guzan may be around for many years to come in the Premier League, but how many more American ‘keepers will we see in England in the future?
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