MLS: 15 former Premier League players starring in America, including ex-Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United aces

27 Mar

Major League Soccer is quickly becoming a great incubator for talent with Miguel Almiron the latest star to venture to Europe after making his name in America.

There is though still a market for European-based talents travelling across the Atlantic to reignite their careers.

Gedion Zelalem in action for Arsenal’s Under-23s this season upon his return from injury.

Former Arsenal starlet Gedion Zelalem is now looking to impress in the States and get himself back on track having signed for Sporting Kansas City.

After an unfortunate injury derailed his time with the Gunners will first spend time with Swope Park Rangers.

If he can impress he could join a host of other former Premier League players now plying their trade in MLS.

But who are the men currently starring in America having left our shores? Find out below.

Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)

The former Everton and Manchester United goalkeeper is now in the final season of his career as he prepares to retire at the end of the 2019 MLS campaign.

He’s performed well for the Rapids and in 2016 saved two penalties to guide his side into to the Western Conference Championship.

Howard will soon retire.

Danny Wilson (Colorado Rapids)

Signed by Liverpool from Rangers for £2million in 2010, Wilson only made two Premier League appearances for the Reds.

The defender failed to make an impact out on loan in England but was signed on a free by Heart of Midlothian and then returned to Rangers.
He then joined the Rapids in January 2018 and played 23 times, while he has made another two this campaign.

Wilson gets stuck in.

Kei Kamara (Colorado Rapids)

A Premier League spell with Norwich City saw Kamara net just one goal in 11 appearances.

Stateside, though, the Sierra Leone ace has a formidable record. He’s now had prolific spells with Columbus Crew (31 goals in 46 appearances), New England Revolution (21 in 59), Vancouver Whitecaps (17 in 31), and is now with the Rapids and has already opened his account for the current campaign.

Kamara celebrates one of his many MLS goals.

Reto Ziegler (FC Dallas)

Tottenham and Wigan had the Swiss ace on their books in the Premier League but the left-sided player never fulfilled his potential, either at left-back or as a left winger.

Now 33, he’s found a role in MLS as a centre-back and is even converting penalties for his current club.

Ziegler during his Tottenham days.

Maynor Figueroa (Houston Dynamo)

Fondly remembered for his lengthy spell at Wigan, the Honduran ace once scored from the halfway line in the Premier League against Stoke City, while he was in the Latics’ FA Cup winning side in 2013.

Following spells at Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas, he’s now a Dynamo.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy)

Who could forget the bombastic Swede! After conquering almost every European country, he’s now starring in the States.

The former Manchester United man scored 22 MLS goals in his 27 appearances during his debut campaign, he’s one for one now but is recovering from an injury.

The lion continues to roar in the United States.

Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC)

During his early career at Arsenal, the Mexican was known for his love of chipping the goalkeeper when through one-on-one.

Now 30, the ex-Gunner is in fine form in his second season with LAFC, scoring three and assisting two in his first four matches. This comes after a debut campaign with 14 goal and 10 assists – not bad at all!

Vela played for Mexico at the World Cup last summer.

Nedum Onuoha (Real Salt Lake)

Once a mainstay in the England Under-21, the former Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers defender is now a regular at centre-back this season over in MLS.

Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City)

Prior to his three-campaign spell at Wigan, where the left wing-back won the FA Cup, Espinoza was in Kansas.

It turned out there was no place like home so he returned there in 2015 and has forged a fine career as a central midfielder.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire)

The Germany legend has already done more in his time in America than he did at Old Trafford, which is shame given his standing in the game.

A regular for the Fire and sometimes captain, he even turned out a centre-back on a couple of occasions for the club last term.

Schweinsteiger gives supporters a thumbs up.

Wayne Rooney (DC United)

The England and Manchester United legend appears to be continuing his thrilling start to MLS life having netted three goals in three games this season, while also grabbing an assist.

Rooney is now captain and striker in Washington having played in midfield last year – he still managed 12 goals in 20 games though, plus six assists.

Rooney celebrates with his DC United team-mates.

Bacary Sagna (Montreal Impact)

It looked like the French right-back’s career was all but over when he left Benevento after a short stay. Now, though, he’s doing well in Canada at 36-years-old.

Michael Mancienne (New England Revolution)

One of the most capped players in England Under-21 history, the ex-Chelsea academy man never made it as a Premier League player.

He had spells with Queens Park Rangers, Wolves, Hamburg, and Nottingham Forest but is now captain of the Revolution, and playing at centre-back.

Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)

A bonafide MLS legend. Wright-Phillips didn’t make the grade in the Premier League with Manchester City but after spells with Southampton, Plymouth and Charlton he opted for a switch to America.

It turned out to be one of the best football decisions ever. The forward has 125 goals in 216 games for New York Red Bulls – a fine career.

Wright-Phillips has been astonishing since moving to MLS

Nani (Orlando City)

It was always going to be hard for the winger to live up to comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo.

He made a fist of it at Old Trafford before spells at Fenerbahce, Valencia, Lazio, and Sporting Lisbon – but can he crack America?