One of my favorite transfer rumours from this season had to be the rumblings surrounding the idea of sending Christian Pulisic to Real Madrid. I was thrilled at such an idea. I could finally root for him on the club level!
(Growing up a Bayern Munich fan means that rooting for Dortmund was VERY out of the question.)
As we all know, Pulisic to Real Madrid wasn’t meant to be, but, it did get me thinking about the other Americans we’ve seen come through La Liga and, there aren’t many: Four, to be exact.
The first being Kasey Keller, a goal keeper who started his career in 1989 with the Portland Timbers when they were still in the Western Soccer League. He played two seasons — 1999, and 2000 — at Rayo Vallecano before returning to England to play for Tottenham and then finishing his career in 2011 as a Seattle Sounder.
The second was Jozy Altidore — a forward who had a total of nine appearances in the three seasons he spent with Villarreal. Most of that time was spent on loan to three different clubs. He’ s been playing for Toronto FC since 2015.
The third? Oguchi Onyewu. He made two appearances at center-back on the same Málaga side that Isco played for. (They played together in both of those games as well.) He retired after one season with Philadelphia’s MLS side, the Union.
The most recent American to play in La Liga is playing now: Shaq Moore, right-back for both Levante and the US Men’s National Team. He spent a little time training with FC Dallas, but moved to Spain in 2014 and has been playing with Levante UD since 2016.
It is my hope and desire that we see more American players come to Spain. Truthfully, I want to see a lot of American players getting minutes in the major European leagues. MLS Academies are beginning to produce more international-level talent and are being recognized for it. The Premier League, Serie A, and La Liga all have teams with developmental academies based in the United States. We’ve long recognized that the fan base here has been growing, but we should also begin to recognize that talent levels are improving. With the way American soccer has been changing for the better, I think it’s not too long before we get to hear Ray Hudson hollering about the Yankee in the Merengues’ court. When that day comes, you better believe that I will be in the stadium, yelling my head off, with my kit on.
*Editor’s note: A fun fact to include in here is that Real Madrid actually signed an American, Joshua Pynadath, to their youth team in 2015. They’ve since sold him to Ajax. He is now 16.