Top 10 Goals Scored By Americans In The Bundesliga Before Pulisic

The18 looks back at some of the finest goals ever scored by Americans in the Bundesliga. We also look forward to a man named Christian Pulisic. Oh how far we’ve come.

About five years ago the Bundesliga posted a video on its official YouTube channel called “Top 10 Goals - USA.” This video celebrated the contributions made by Americans in the Bundesliga and ranked their best goals. 

The players featured in this video included:

Steve Cherundolo

Cherundolo is something of a Bundesliga cult legend. Surprisingly uncommon for a U.S soccer player, he spent his entire career in Germany playing for only one team, his beloved Hannover 96. Cherundolo joined Hannover 96 in 1999, shortly after leaving college in Portland where he played for the NCAA Division 1 Portland Pilots. 

In his 15 years in Hannover, Cherundolo established himself as a reliable and trusted defender in Germany. He helped Hannover gain promotion from the second division in Germany up to the Bundesliga in 2002 and as his loyalty and reliability were rewarded when he was named captain before the start of the 2010-2011 Bundesliga season. 

Notably, Cherundolo was the longest serving player in the Bundesliga as of 2013 and he still holds the record for most Bundesliga appearances for Hannover 96 with 300. He is also beloved by the Hannover fans, who nicknamed him Dolo and even affectionately refer to him as “the Mayor of Hannover.” Cherundolo was capped by the USMNT 87 times, playing in two World Cups. He still lives in Germany today where he is an assistant coach with VfB Stuttgart. See his two goals on the video at No. 10 and  No. 5.       

Michael Bradley

At No. 9 in the video we have midfield general and current Toronto FC and MLS Cup champion Michael Bradley. Bradley played two-and-a-half seasons in Germany, joining Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2008. Bradley scored his first goal for Mönchengladbach in that same year against German giant Bayern Munich no less and made 76 appearances with Mönchengladbach, scoring 10 goals. 

Eric Wynalda

A true USMNT legend, forward Eric Wynalda is perhaps best known for his exploits and brilliant goal versus Switzerland at the 1994 U.S.-hosted World Cup. However, he should perhaps be known for something else too. Wynalda was one of the first Americans in the Bundesliga. In 1992 Wynalda joined German side FC Saarbrücken, where he made 61 appearances and scored eight goals in his first 17 appearances for the club. 

Wynalda played in both the Bundesliga and the German second division. Saarbrücken was relegated in 1993 and in 1994 he was sold to fellow German side VfL Bochum, where he’d go on to make 29 appearances, scoring two goals. See his featured goal for Saarbrücken at No. 8.

Thomas Dooley

German-born midfielder Thomas Dooley was born to a German mother and American father, who served in the U.S. military. Dooley spent the majority of his club career in Germany, playing in a few different divisions including the Bundesliga with FC Homberg, FC Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke. He would win a German Cup and Bundesliga title with Kaiserslautern and later the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) with Schalke.

In 1992, Dooley was discovered by the U.S men’s national soccer program in the lead up to the 1994 World Cup and he made his debut that same year on May 30 against Ireland. Dooley played every minute at the 1994 World Cup and was named Team USA captain for the 1998 World Cup in France, where he started every game. He would be capped by the USMNT 81 times, scoring seven goals. See his featured goal at No. 7.

Clint Mathis

Another USMNT staple and former Hannover 96 player, Clint Mathis played 17 games in Germany over one season. He scored five goals. He joined Hannover in 2004, two years after a shock proposed move to Bayern Munich was blocked by MLS.

Mathis was capped 46 times by the U.S., scoring 12 goals. See his featured goal for Hannover at No. 6.

Fabian Johnson

Another German-born American who has spent his whole club career in Germany, midfielder and defender Fabian Johnson currently plays for both Borussia Mönchengladbach and the USMNT. 

Johnson started his career in the youth squad of 1860 Munich when he was just 9 years old and by the time he turned 19 in 2006 he was promoted to the first team. Since leaving 1860 Munich in 2009, he has gone on to play for Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim and now Mönchengladbach. 

In 2011 he was called up to the USMNT by then-coach Jurgen Klinsmann and he has made 57 appearances in red, white and blue, scoring two goals. See his featured goal at No. 4.

Jermaine Jones

USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones was also born in Germany to a German mother and an American father who served in the U.S. military. Jones began his youth career at FV Bonames, the team for the town in which he grew up in. He since played for Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke in Germany, making almost 200 appearances in his time in Deutschland. He left Germany to play in Turkey and later MLS in 2014.     

Jones played internationally at youth level for Germany before declaring himself available to the USMNT in 2009. This was allowed by FIFA as Jones had not played an official FIFA match with the German senior team and the U.S. was better for him. He has played 69 games for USMNT, scoring four goals. See his featured goal for Eintracht Frankfurt in 2005 at No. 3. 

Conor Casey

Now-retired forward Conor Casey played seven years in Germany. He represented Borussia Dortmund, Hannover 96, Karlsruher SC and Mainz. In the 2001-2002 season he scored eight goals in 23 games for Hannover, his best return in the Bundesliga.

He was capped by the United States 19 times, scoring two goals. See his featured goal for Mainz at No. 2. Also, check out Jurgen Klopp’s (Mainz coach at the time) trademark celebration at 3:01. Klopp clearly loves Americans.

Claudio Reyna

USMNT legend and former Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg midfielder Claudio Reyna comes in at No. 1. Reyna spent five years in Germany between both clubs, scoring six goals in 48 appearances for Wolfsburg. Including this one at: 3:19. 

Reyna is a certifiable U.S. soccer warrior. He has been capped 112 times and was team captain from 1998-2007, succeeding Thomas Dooley after France 98. Reyna played in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups and was only the third U.S. player to be named to the World Cup all-tournament team in 2002. 

Danke, Captain America.

Americans in the Bundesliga

Christian Pulisic owes some of his success to the Americans in the Bundesliga who came before him. Photo: @LivEchoLFC | Twitter

Then there’s this guy from off the list, who we can’t forget to mention. Christian Pulisic has been in Germany since 2015, joining the first team at Borussia Dortmund in 2016. I could name off stats about how he has nine goals in 69 appearances at Dortmund and is one of the club’s most explosive and important players. 

I could tell you how he has nine goals in 20 full appearances for the USMNT and is the most important player in a heavily divided USMNT squad. Or I could just show you this scorcher versus Stuttgart.

The future looks bright for Team USA and the continued German-American soccer relations. Which of these 11 goals from Americans in the Bundesliga was your favorite? 

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