There’s nothing more important in the game of football than goals. They win you matches and excite fans. Sure, clean sheets are nice, but goals are what gets the blood pumping. Over the years, Americans in England have earned more of a reputation for keeping clean sheets than scoring goals. Men like Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, and Tim Howard have been world-class at times. However, our list proves, Americans are pretty good at getting on the scoresheet too.
American Goal Scorers in the English Premier League
10. Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Landon Donovan (Everton), John Harkes (Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United, Nottingham Forest), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Cobi Jones (Coventry City), Jovan Kirvoski (Birmingham City), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland, Newcastle) – 2 Goals
9. DaMarcus Beasley – 3 Goals (Manchester City)
DaMarcus Beasley’s time in the Premier League was short but impactful. He’d spent the previous season at Dutch club PSV but had seen his playing time diminish despite the club winning their 19th title. In response, Beasley spent the 2006-07 season on loan at Manchester City.
Injuries limited the start of his time in the blue half of Manchester, but eventually he found his way onto the pitch. Beasley’s best moment for the Cityzens came against West Ham United when he scored an 83rd-minute match-winner. He would score 2 more times in the league for City before his return to The Netherlands.
8. Preki – 4 Goals (Everton)
Preki’s route to the Premier League was an unconventional one. Born in Yugoslavia, Preki played briefly in Europe for Red Star Belgrade and Raslatts SK in Sweden before making the move to the indoor leagues of the United States.
He played two seasons for the St. Louis Storm of the Major Indoor Soccer League before going on trial to Everton. Preki made his mark and was bought by Everton for £100,000 in 1992. That was surely the only transfer from an American indoor soccer club to the Premier League.
Preki would appear in 46 league matches over two seasons for The Toffees, most of them as a substitute. The creative midfielder would find the back of the net 4 times. Though he was not an American at the time, he is now credited as one of the first Americans to play in the Premier League.
7. Claudio Reyna – 7 Goals (Sunderland, Manchester City)
By the time Claudio Reyna arrived on English shores, he was already well traveled in Europe. Reyna arrived at Sunderland in 2000 from Rangers, but he had also played for Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg.
Reyna spent two seasons in the Northeast of England and made 28 appearances in the league for Sunderland. He found the back of the net 3 times but missed most of his second season on Wearside with an ACL injury.
In 2003, Manchester City took a chance on the recovery of Reyna going well and brought him west for £2.5 million. The gamble paid off as Reyna played three and a half seasons in Manchester and became a fan favorite. He played 87 times, scoring 4 goals.
5. Joe-Max Moore – 8 Goals (Everton)
Joe-Max Moore went to England to compete in a 7-day trial despite not having permission from his MLS club, New England Revolution. Despite this, he was able to impress and Everton offered him a three-year deal.
Everton must have thought they had a bargain in Moore after he scored 5 goals in his first five matches. That run was always destined to come to an end, and he scored just three more goals over the rest of the duration of his time with the club.
A knee injury in the 2002 World Cup meant the end of his time on Merseyside, and he left the club by mutual consent, returning to the club he left, the Revolution, a few years earlier.
5. Carlos Bocanegra – 9 Goals (Fulham)
Carlos Bocanegra is a surprise name so high on this list, as he spent nearly all of his career as a defender. However, it’s a testament to his versatility and longevity with Fulham that he finds himself where he does.
During the 2006-07 season, Bocanegra finished with 5 goals which was good enough to finish second for the club behind fellow American Brian McBride. Bocanegra’s solid defensive work and penchant for popping up in scoring situations earned him the nickname “the Jackal.”
He appeared 116 times in the Premier League for Fulham and even captained the club on occasion. He left the club in 2008 when his contract expired.
3. (Joint) Christian Pulisic – 13 Goals (Chelsea)
Many American fans expect Christian Pulisic to be at the top of this list in a few years. After impressing at German giants Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic made the most significant move for an American in history. Chelsea bought the then 20-year-old winger for a whopping £57.6 million.
It’s fair to say so far, a season and a half into his time in the English capital, that Pulisic has had mixed results. His first goals for the club came in a “perfect hat trick” against Burnley, where he scored a header and with both feet. He became just the second American to score a hat trick in the Premier League.
However, Pulisic’s time has also been marked by injuries and struggles to regain his place in the squad. He sits currently on 13 goals, and American and Chelsea supporters will be hoping he stays healthy and bags many more for the Blues.
3. (Joint) Roy Wegerle – 13 Goals (Blackburn Rovers, Coventry City)
Roy Wegerle, like Preki, is a naturalized American, born and raised in South Africa. He became a citizen in 1991 after spending his college and early professional career in the States. Wegerle had a long history in England before the Premier League was formed, playing for Chelsea, Swindon Town, and Luton Town in the 1980s before moving to Queen’s Park Rangers in the early 90s.
He made his Premier League debut in the inaugural Premier League season with Blackburn Rovers. The attacker played just 11 times for Rovers, scoring 4 times. With the arrival of Alan Shearer, Wegerle saw his time on the pitch diminish and thus moved to Coventry City.
Wegerle’s time at Coventry was marred by injuries, but he managed to play 53 times in 2 and a half seasons at the club. While there, he was joined by fellow American Cobi Jones. Wegerle scored 9 times for Coventry.
2. Brian McBride – 36 Goals (Everton, Fulham)
Brian McBride got a taste of the Premier League on a short-term loan spell with Everton in 2003. He made an impact immediately, scoring 4 times in the 8 games he played. Everton manager David Moyes wanted to make the loan move permanent, but the club were unable to come to an agreement with Major League Soccer on a price.
He got his permanent move abroad a year later when he moved to Fulham. McBride cost the Cottagers just $1.5 million, which turned out to be a bargain. He would go on to become a legend at Craven Cottage, scoring 36 league goals in 140 appearances.
McBride twice won Fulham’s Player of the Year Award and even has a bar at Craven Cottage named after him. In 2007, he was named captain of the club.
1. Clint Dempsey – 57 Goals (Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur)
Clint Dempsey is by far the most successful American goalscoring export. Long had the tradition been of American goalkeepers making a mark in England, but Dempsey proved that outfield players could be stars as well.
He made a $4 million move to Fulham from MLS in 2006, which at the time was the largest fee ever paid to MLS for a player. Dempsey’s first goal was an important one in a 1-0 home win over Liverpool, which saved Fulham from relegation. He would go on to score 49 more goals for the club, and became the clubs leading Premier League goalscorer in 2011.
In August of 2012, Dempsey made a move to Spurs on a $9 million deal that took him across town. his London odyssey did not continue on its trajectory as his time in North London was short and less prolific. Dempsey scored just 7 times in 29 league matches for Spurs.
His biggest highlight in a Spurs shirt was a winner against Manchester United in December of 2012. At the end of the season, “Deuce” returned to the United States, signing with the Seattle Sounders.