Fulham have been a haven for player’s looking to move from the MLS and advance their careers in Europe. With the likes of Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, and current centerback, Tim Ream, who will be the next American to join the ranks? Greg Margolis highlights the next batch of young talent from the United States.
Fulham have a great history of employing players from the US. I myself, became a fan of the club because of Clint Dempsey, who played at the club I grew up watching, the New England Revolution. Other players, like Brian McBride, who captained the squad and was a part of the Great Escape campaign, and Carlos Bocanegra, a defensive rock during his time at the club, are two of the many who have passed through Craven Cottage.
Nowadays, Tim Ream has solidified the back four and was a massive piece in the puzzle that was last season’s rise to Championship Playoff glory. The United States Developmental Academy has underwent a massive overhaul, with a structure more representative of how things operate in Europe.
Along with many players moving overseas at a young age, there have been a flurry of young players with huge potential, waiting to be snatched up by major clubs. Christian Pulisic (Broussia Dortmond) and Weston McKennie (Schalke 04) have set the stage for the new wave of players from the United States, with a handful that could be the next to join the Fulhamerica ranks.
Tyler Adams: 19, New York Red Bulls, Midfielder/Full Back
Adams is a product of the Red Bulls youth academy, making his debut back in 2015. He didn’t made much a name for himself until last season though, and is not featuring consistently at the National level just yet. That said, with his incredible technical skill, and unrivaled pace, Adams has the potential to be a star in his own right.
He is not someone who would thrive in a big club environment, at least not right away, and would do well to break into the European game by joining a club like Fulham. Adams is someone who could transition immediately, especially under Slavisa Jokanovic, as his style of play fits very well with how Fulham are currently operating.
What makes him an even more enticing prospect is his versatility. Adams came up as a right back in the Red Bulls academy, but has transitioned into the defensive midfield role. His ability to play anywhere down the flank, and through the middle, makes him a steal at only $5 million right now. RB Leipzig were rumored to have been looking to add him to their ranks this summer, but nothing has been finalised as of yet. He would add great depth to Fulham this year, and be one for the future of the club moving forward.
Matt Miazga, 23, Chelsea FC, Center Back
Another product of the New York Red Bulls Academy, Miazga moved to Chelsea in 2016. Falling into the typical Chelsea buy-and-loan nonsense, Miazga has spent all of his time with Vitesse in the Dutch Eredivisie. Over the past two years, Matt has been a consistent presence in Vitesse’s defense, helping them finish in top 10 in 2016-2017 and top 5 last season. He has also found himself a consistent spot at the international level as well, partnering with Tim Ream on occasion.
Miazga is quality in possession and a solid aerial threat in the box. He would be another who could fit Slavisa’s system, with plenty of room to develop in an environment that would be far more reliable and consistent. It sounds like Miazga is on his way to France on yet another loan, but is someone who could be purchased on the cheap from just down the road in the near future.
Josh Sargent, 18, Werder Bremen, Forward
Sargent’s path is an interesting one, having never really signed for a club until February of this year, when he signed with Werder Bremen. He played for one of the US Developmental Academy programs in Missouri, while having trials at Sporting Kansas City, PSV Eindhoven, and Schalke 04. He has only played for their youth academy so far, but has played in the most recent International Friendlies for the United States, scoring in the game against Bolivia in May.
Sargent is primed to be a breakout star in the Bundesliga this season, and at only 18, has incredible potential. He is quick, with the ability to put the ball in the back of the net of a consistent basis. Fulham have a great history with forwards from the United States, and Sargent has the potential to raise his game to a level on par with the likes of McBride and Dempsey. With the right coach and investment, he would be a great one for the future at Craven Cottage.
Zack Steffen, 23, Columbus Crew, Goalkeeper
Plain and simple, this guy is an absolute stalwart in net. He stands out even more so in a league where defense is almost non-existent. Another player who has started to gain time at the International level, Steffen has been touted as the next US keeper to find his way into European soccer. With the likes of Kasey Keller spending time at Fulham, it is not out of the realm of possibility to imagine Steffen in between the posts at Craven Cottage in the future. He is primed for a move away from the MLS, especially if he wants to continue his development as a player.
Steffen’s quick reactions and reading of the game make him a quality shot stopper in net. He also is highly capable when it comes to distribution, and would do well to have another American in-front of him in the guise of Tim Ream. Now that Fabri has been brought in, it is highly unlikely he would be considered for the next few years, and may be one we would never see join Fulham, but be on the lookout for Steffen nonetheless.
There is one more player who I wish Fulham would have held onto, Emerson Hyndman. I hold out hope that he will find his way back to Craven Cottage in the near future, but he looks to finally be a part of Bournemouth’s plans this season. He was a solid midfielder, with great ability on the ball and vision to pick a pass anywhere on the field. His goal in stoppage time against Cardiff during the 2016 season is still one of my favorites from Fulham’s time in the Championship. Having played under Slavisa in the past, maybe he will find his way back in the future, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
With the American ownership firmly backing Fulham as we return to the Premier League for the 2018-2019 season, it wouldn’t surprise anyone that some more United States born players will find their way to Craven Cottage in the coming years. These are just a few of the young talent that is coming through the ranks, with many more to be coming in the next five to ten years, now that the Development Academies have had positive changes. Be on the lookout for the next group to be a part of Fulhamerica!