Oct 4, 2007

Is Tim Howard The Best American Soccer Player?

That's On Point thinks so. The blog has a nifty list of the top ten U.S. soccer players with the former Metros' goalkeeper holding the top spot. Naturally, the list is going to attract its share of controversy, as lists tend to do (see my list of top 25 clubs for Exhibit B in this matter) but TOP's reasoning is sound. They argue that Howard transformed Everton into a top four contender last year and that at 28, he has a good chance of becoming the most decorated American player of all time. I think Howard will have to get a little more consistent for that to happen; his play for the U.S. this summer was pretty poor at times and, as TOP itself concedes, he's prone to the occasional blunder. Of course a keeper prone to blunders can be about valuable as a U.S. president who misjudges intelligence reports to the point of starting preemptive wars. Or something. Still, Howard's impact at Everton is hard to argue with and he is still young for a keeper.

The remaining top ten are (in order) Beasley, Friedel, Dempsey, Cherundolo, Donovan, Bradley, Twellman, Bocanegra and Simek. I would move Dempsey and Bradley up, Bocanegra down and get rid of Twellman altogether. Dempsey, if you'll recall, scored three goals in three Premier league games earlier this season which may be something no other U.S. player has done (anybody know for sure?). Bradley has been awesome this season and arguably has more potential than any of the others. Twellman may score goals for New England, but has been abysmal for the USMNT and really has no place on that list. In his place I prefer Benny Feilhaber, whom TOP excluded on grounds that he has yet to establish himself in England. Uh, right, but a) he just got there and b) just because England invented the sport doesn't mean there isn't quality play elsewhere. Feilhaber got a few starts at Hamburg last season, including in the Champions League, and who could forget his game-winning goal against Mexico in this summer's Gold Cup? Now compare that to TT, who never started for a European club of comparable stature and likely never will and who never really scored a meaningful goal for the U.S.

Yeah, I think I'm right too. But this is not meant to slight the great job TOP did in putting together the list. I recommend that everybody check it out.


  1. if you read my list it was professionals. i put no weight into national team performance into the equation. hence the inclusion of twellman and not feilhaber.

  2. fair 'nuff. I'll admit that makes more sense to include Twellman then. But aren't national teams professional too? Meaning the players get paid to play? Or maybe you meant club teams only.

    Either way I thought it was a great list and you deserve a lot of credit for putting it together. And like I said, everybody is going to nitpick at these things. It means they're reading them though.