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England made U.S. goalkeepers great

Mar 23, 2013, 11:36 AM EDT

Brad Guzan AP

Born in the USA and made great in the high-octane atmosphere of the English game.

It began with Kasey Keller who dared tread where no one had gone before when he moved across the pond to the east end of London and the hostile environment of Millwall in 1992. With the door pushed open, Brad Friedel, was next to take the plunge signing for Liverpool in 1997 before really establishing himself with Blackburn Rovers. Tim Howard literally smashed the door off its hinges when he walked through the doors of Old Trafford and Manchester United in 2003 and now Brad Guzan follows that lineage at Aston Villa where he has patiently waited for the opportunity to shine.

The English game is based on power and physicality and American goalkeepers have simply thrived. It’s as though the steady diet of crosses, long balls and rampaging center forwards is meat and drink for the Yanks. It has certainly benefited the USMNT who have relied on English based goalkeepers for the last four World Cups. Tony Meola was the last home based keeper during USA WC’94.

Every match in England matters and the scrutiny from the press, fans, opponents is intense. You can never take a day off and the by-product of this, is excellence and the performances of these four men bare that out.

It has been said that Americans excel`in this position due to the nature of other US sports that require a high degree of eye-hand coordination. Throwball (NFL), baseball and basketball are played and viewed on TV from such a young age that the sports are learnt almost by osmosis.

Whatever the secret is, American goalkeepers are consistently the most wanted stateside players from football clubs around the world.

  1. danielofthedale - Mar 23, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    The pressure of being a #1 in the EPL has not doubt helped make the US keepers. Another reason I think the US makes good GKs is the fact that most of the time when a kid starts playing GK in youth its the only spot he plays. He is allowed to learn and grow in the position and not have to spend time playing other positions. In most youth teams a player will play forward, midfielder, and defender even if he shows a natural fit and easy at one specifically. It hampers their growth.

    Also, it seems you need to be bald/balding to be a successful US goalkeeper. I mean look at Guzan, he finally got his starting job when he was noticeably balding. haha

    • schmutzdeck - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      Seriously, Meola was the last USMNT starter with a full head of hair.

      That is Tally Hall’s biggest flaw.

  2. slxc - Mar 23, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Of course, in a country where the major sports are mostly used those hands, then the U.S. should have good goalkeepers.

  3. pjbowmaster - Mar 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    This story reminds me of Groundhog Day…..

  4. charliej11 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Wow. Americans can’t be that good on their own, must be the British.

    I wonder if the Spanish papers have insanely stupid articles like this about de Gea.

    • mox19380 - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      seems pretty fair to say that American keepers have greatly benefited from the bigger stage, longer season, greater scrutiny and top notch competition. The same could be said if they played in Spain, Holland, Germany, Italy etc etc

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