If there’s one position where American football players have consistently succeeded overseas, without being followed by the “Yankee” stigma, it’s that of goalie. Several United States men’s national teams The goalkeepers have made long stays in Europe, notably in the Premier League.
The enthusiasm for arguably the best domestic league in the world has been so evident to the United States contingent that every starting USMNT goalkeeper in a World Cup since Major League Soccer’s first season in 1996 has played for a English club at the time of the competition. — except one, who has just left the UK. Yes, that’s just three players as a backstop at five World Cups – Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller and Tim Howard. That streak would likely have been interrupted in 2018 by Brad Guzan, who had signed with Atlanta United the previous year after a decade of playing in England. Only one problem: the United States did not qualify for the last tournament. Thank you, Trinidad and Tobago.
The transfer window doesn’t close for seven weeks, but of the four goalkeepers with a chance to start the upcoming USMNT World Cup opener against Wales on November 21, only Sean Johnson does not play for an English team, adapting to New York City FC. And he’s a long shot.
Another edition of the USMNT-England pipeline was added this week with 18-year-old Gabriel Slonina reportedly having a verbal agreement in place with Chelsea. Slonina has yet to be selected by the Yanks, but he’s a fashionable pick to be the USMNT’s starting goaltender for the 2026 World Cup. Here’s an in-depth look at the American goaltenders who’ve played in the Premier League.