Following Bradley Wright-Phillips’ classy performance last night, I asked the question; is he the most influential Englishman to have played in Major League Soccer? I received some interesting replies so I have decided to compile a potential top five.
5. Jack Harrison, (New York City FC)
This pick might be a surprise to quite a lot of people, however I feel he has had huge influence in a particular way.
Jack took an unusual route into English football. He moved to the United States as a 14-year-old after spending time in Manchester United’s academy. He came through the education system in the States and he was selected as the #1 overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, despite being the youngest player available.
After two years in the Big Apple, developing under the iconic Patrick Vieira, he has now found himself back in England on loan at Championship side Middlesbrough.
We have since seen young English footballer, Mo Adams, move the the States after time at Nottingham Forest’s and Derby County’s academies. He was taken by Chicago Fire in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
After Jack Harrison’s success, this might become a theme…
4. Dom Dwyer, (Sporting Kansas City & Orlando City)
Dom Dwyer’s success in Major League Soccer is a really inspirational story, and a reason why you should never give up on your dreams.
Whilst in England, Dwyer signed for King’s Lynn FC in 2008 and during his spell with the club, he broke his right foot three times. After consulting doctors about the injury persistence, he was informed that he would never be physically capable of playing at a professional level.
After temporarily giving up on his dream, Dwyer accepted the opportunity of studying for a college degree in the United States. After successful spells with Tyler Junior College and South Florida Bulls, he signed for MLS-side Sporting Kansas City.
During his time in Kansas City, he enjoyed winning MLS Cup in 2013, and two U.S. Open Cups in 2012 and 2015. He has since signed for Orlando City, the club he had a loan spell with in 2013.
In March 2017, Dom was awarded U.S. citizenship after eight years of residence. He was part of the National Team side that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2017.
3. Liam Ridgewell, (Portland Timbers)
The 33-year-old defender is still going strong in MLS. He has been with the Portland Timbers since 2014.
Liam moved to Portland after 12 years in the English game where he spent time with three big Midland’s clubs in Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion.
He was only 29 when he joined the league, so it was a fantastic decision to bring him in. He brings a lot of experience to the team and he still does so as he is the club’s captain.
After playing Premier League football and winning the League Cup with Birmingham, he carried on that success Stateside. In 2015, he won MLS Cup after captaining the Timbers to a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew at Mapfre Stadium.
2. Bradley Wright-Phillips, (New York Red Bulls)
Bradley Wright-Phillips is one of the most prolific strikers to have ever played in Major League Soccer. During a five-year stay with the Red Bulls, he has scored 86 goals in 139 appearances.
In England, he played in the Premier League, Championship and League One as he spent time with Manchester City, Southampton, Plymouth and Charlton before ending his time in England following a loan spell at Brentford.
He signed for New York Red Bulls in 2013, and he helped the club to win their first major title, the MLS Supporters’ Shield in his first year. They won a second Supporters’ Shield in 2015, however they still haven’t won MLS Cup.
BWP is one of two players to have made MLS history by scoring 15+ goals in four consecutive seasons, the other being Robbie Keane.
… 1. David Beckham, (LA Galaxy)
When you ask the average English football fan about Major League Soccer, David Beckham will probably get a mention somewhere down the line.
He brought the league to the forefront after he joined the Galaxy in 2007. After five years in LA, he scored 18 goals in 98 appearances and enjoyed plenty of success with the club, winning two MLS Cups (2011 & 2012) as well as two Supporters’ Shields (2010 & 2011).
‘Becks and Wright-Phillips are the top two in my opinion, but Beckham tops the list as he helped his team win major trophies while also enjoying personal success.
Following a five-year stint in Major League Soccer, Beckham is now bringing his own team to the league. He will become the first former MLS player to own a club in the league when the Miami-based team begin play.