Best American Soccer Player of 2018

March 9, 2019 / US

Who Is the Best American Soccer Player? (Videos)

Talent and Talent Abound

Compared with our friends across the pond, the United States hasn’t developed the same caliber other giants of the beautiful game, but it has had a fair number of top players regularly. Well, if you separate the Men’s and Women’s team, the previous comment is perhaps totally wrong, yet the history of USWNT is just short.

Anyhow, despite the fact that these players can and should be evaluated in many different variables, we tried to keep it simple with obvious statistics and recent achievements. Here’s a list of the greatest U.S. soccer players in different categories:

  • Best American Soccer Player of 2018 (Male)

  • Best American Soccer Player of 2018 (Female)

  • Best American Soccer Prospect Under 18 (Male)

  • Best American Soccer Player of All TimeBest American Soccer Player in Europe

Best American Soccer Player of 2018 - Male

  • Name: Christian Pulisic

  • Age: 20

  • Born in: Hershey, Pennsylvania

  • Position: Attacking Midfielder, Winger

  • League/Club Affiliations

  • Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)

Career Highlights

  • 2017 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year
  • 2016 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year
  • Dortmund's youngest player ever to play in the UEFA Champions League (2016-2017)
  • Youngest foreigner to score a goal in Bundesliga (2016)

Why You Picked Them

Christian Pulisic. The man is the future of United States Men’s Soccer Team (USMNT) and a star for Germany’s Borussia Dortmund soccer club. Should Dortmund put together a title run or reach the knockout stages of the Champions League, it would be the most successful season to date for this great American hope. Expectations are high (both in the national team and the club team), but Pulisic’s season stats live up to the hype so far.

It seems weird to say, but good-to-great soccer players are not that uncommon. Sit down and look at how many professional teams are in Europe alone and you’ll begin to see what makes Pulisic so different. The then-boy signed with Borussia Dortmund at the age of 16 and almost immediately began a remarkable string of victories — he joined the Dortmund first team with only 15 games under his belt! Not only did he persevere in a foreign country and culture, but he excelled to the point of becoming the youngest foreigner ever to score two goals in the German Bundesliga. To top it off, he became the youngest American player to ever score a World Cup qualifying goal!

He doesn’t have any real weaknesses, and everyone agrees that 2019 is going to be the year that sees this young American soccer genius really take off. Keep an eye out for Pulisic.

He’s young, supremely talented, and rightfully claims the spot of the best modern American soccer player.

Best American Soccer Player of 2018 - Female

  • Name: Alexandra Morgan
  • Age: 29
  • Born in: San Dimas, California
  • Position: Striker

League/Club Affiliations

  • 2010 California Storm
  • 2011 Western New York Flash
  • 2012 Seattle Sounders Women
  • 2013-2015 Portland Thorns FC
  • 2016-Present Orlando Pride
  • 2017-Present Lyon (loan)

Career Highlights

  • FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Silver Ball: 2008
  • ESPY Award Best Breakthrough Athlete nominee: 2012
  • ESPY Award Best Moment Nominee: 2013
  • Women's Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year, Team Sport: 2012
  • U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year: 2012
  • FIFA World Player of the Year finalist: 2012
  • National Women's Soccer League Second Best XI: 2013
  • CONCACAF Player of the Year: 2013, 2016, 2017
  • USWNT All-Time Best XI: 2013
  • SheBelieves Cup Golden Ball and 2016
  • FIFPro: FIFPro World XI 2016

Why You Picked Them

Even though she’s one of the most decorated players in the National Woman’s Soccer League (NWSL), Alex Morgan is still down for a challenge. She’s done it all — co-captain of the women’s national team, an Olympic gold medalist, and current striker for Orlando Pride don’t leave a lot of room for other achievements. That said, this FIFA World Player of the Year finalist somehow found the time to write a series of books about soccer players and starred in a 2018 fantasy-sports film about (you guessed it) soccer.

On loan to the French club team Lyon, she’s continually justified her position as the top female American soccer player. She scored five goals in eight games across in league play for Lyon in 2017 (which won its second straight UEFA Champions League title that year). There can be no doubt about her impact in the USWNT either; she’s been a dominant force for years. In 2018, she shows no signs of stopping — she crushes in everything from friendlies to the World Cup qualifier to the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. With a remarkable 1 goal per match for 2018, Alex Morgan is easily the most impressive female American soccer players on the market today. She’s a shoo-in for this spot on the list and (don’t forget) she’s one of the most highly-paid and widely-recognized female athletes in the United States.

Best American Soccer Prospect Under 18 - Male

  • Name: Timothy Weah
  • Age: 18
  • Born in: New York City, New York
  • Position: Striker

League/Club Affiliations

  • 2013-2014 New York Red Bulls

  • 2014-Present Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1)

Career Highlights

  • United States U17 (2015-17)

  • United States (2018)

Why You Picked Them

Tim Weah only recently made his senior debut for his French club Paris Saint-Germain in March of 2018. He was the first player born in the 2000s to earn a senior cap for the United States. During a friendly match against Bolivia on May 28, 2018 (his first international start) Weah scored his first international goal and became the fourth-youngest player to score for the United States ever.

Weah got his start from a young age, playing at the top of youth soccer in the United States for years. At the tender age of 13, Weah had a trial with Chelsea F.C., but eventually opted to sign with Paris Saint-Germain Academy in 2014. An impressive showing is his first match with the academy team put Weah on the fast-track to international success and he signed with the Paris Saint-Germain club team in 2017.

Weah’s success in the international scene has only recently started to take off, with his first competitive goal netting PSG a 4-0 win against Monaco in August 2018. Given that he only became a starting player a few months prior, Weah’s success is admirable and the man is well worth watching.  

Best American Soccer Player of All Time

  • Name: Clint Dempsey
  • Age: 35
  • Born in: Nacogdoches, Texas
  • Position: Forward

League/Club Affiliations

  • 2004-2006 New England Revolution

  • 2007-2012 Fulham

  • 2012-2013 Tottenham Hotspur

  • 2013-2018 Seattle Sounders FC

  • Retired (August 2018)

Career Highlights

  • Fulham Player of the Season: 2010–11, 2011–12

  • Confederations Cup Bronze Ball: 2009

  • Confederations Cup Team of the Tournament: 2009[133]

  • CONCACAF Gold Cup Top Goalscorer: 2015

  • U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year: 2007, 2011, 2012

  • Honda Player of the Year: 2006, 2011, 2012

  • MLS All-Star (4): 2005, 2014, 2015, 2016

  • MLS Rookie of the Year: 2004

  • MLS Comeback Player of the Year: 2017

Why You Picked Them

Any discussion of the best American soccer player of all time is bound to get heated. There’s a lot of great options — Donovan and Altidore to name a few contenders — but Dempsey is a better choice. Before his retirement, Dempsey was a brutally effective forward: Texan through-and-through, he never shied away from aggressive plays. He got his start with the Dallas Texans before eventually moving to university-level play. Dempsey went professional in 2004 with the New England Revolution, famously leaving for Fulham in the English Premier League. It was at Fulham where Dempsey proved his mettle: he became the league’s leading scorer.

Not bad for someone from across the pond!

Tottenham signed the American legend in 2012, allowing him to eventually become the top scoring American in European professional play. He returned to the USA and joined the Seattle Sounders before retiring in 2018.

Throughout his career, Dempsey earned more than 140 caps and scored 57 international goals, making him the nation's fourth-most capped player and tying him with Landon Donovan as the top all-time scorer with 57 goals. He became the first American to score more than 10 goals in a Premier League season and has most career goals in the league among Americans. His 23 goals in a season for Fulham marked the best single-season by an American abroad.

Best American Soccer Player in Europe

  • Name: Weston McKennie
  • Age: 20
  • Born in: Little Elm, Texas
  • Position: Midfielder

League/Club Affiliations

  • 2009-2016 FC Dallas

  • 2016-Present Schalke 04 (Bundesliga)

Career Highlights

  • United States U20 (2016)
  • United States (2017-)

Why You Picked Them

It’s tough to choose the best American soccer player in Europe. On one hand, it’s probably Christian Pulisic or Alex Morgan. But what about American soccer players in Europe that haven’t yet hit their breakout moment? There are a few other contenders, and Weston McKennie is one of them.

McKennie hasn’t really hit that amazing streak of success that defines other players, but he’s doing everything right. Promoted from the Schalke academy team in May of 2017, McKennie made his first professional showing in a match a few weeks later. His first goal followed shortly thereafter, and he’s steadily seen more and more starting callups.

The best thing about McKennie is that he is young (20 years old). Described by his managers as the American “wunderkind”, McKennie’s success comes from his versatility on the field. He wins the vast majority of his aerial duels against players taller and more experienced than him, his coaches constantly experiment moving him around to different positions, and he’s got an attitude that the people love. A mix of American brashness and German humility, McKennie is a fresh senior player that is rapidly proving himself to be one of the best American soccer players in Europe.

McKennie earned his first senior team call-up for the United States' friendly against Portugal in November 2017, scoring in his debut match. He recently signed a five-year contract with Schalk 04, and expectations couldn’t be higher. On top of that, Weston McKennie just made his Champions League debut in September 2018; he collected an assist against FC Porto and scored the game-winning goal against Lokomotiv Moscow.


A Bright Future for American Soccer

So, if you’ve read up to this point, we can safely say that you’re a fan of the U.S. Soccer team and are keeping an eye on the U.S. players’ performances. Let us know if you want to add anything to the list or update facts on these players. We want to hear from you, even if you completely disagree with our selections. Share this article with your fellow U.S. Soccer fans; we’ll do our best to accommodate your comments and opinions into the posting!

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