While the top flights in England, Spain, and Italy are not bending over backward to encourage foreign players, Germany’s Bundesliga retains an open-door policy, and American prospects have responded.
Only three of the players on Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man roster for the Copa America Centenario plied their trade in the English Premier League: Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa) and Deandre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur). With Aston Villa’s relegation from the EPL at the end of last season, that number is reduced to two; this season, the United States will not have a goalkeeper in the top flight of English soccer for the first time since 1992, when Kasey Keller joined Millwall F.C.
Even taking into account Emerson Hyndman’s recent transfer to Bournemouth, there are currently fewer Americans in the EPL than at any time in almost two decades. Why has the number of Americans playing in the EPL dropped so precipitously? If this decline is attributable to factors other than the quality of the player pool, then what is the destination of choice for Americans who want to venture abroad?
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