The lost Brits making their names across the pond in MLS
We all know about David Beckham’s big American adventure with LA Galaxy, but for every Becks, and even for every Luke Rodgers, there are several Brits in Major League Soccer who most of us have never heard of.
But with America’s top soccer league gaining recognition and attention every year, we thought it was about time to find out who some of these unheard of players were, and how they actually got there.
If you have actually heard of them, then fair play to you, and if you haven’t, read on and remember the names as more than a few could make an impact in the coming months.
So ahead of the new season which kicks off this weekend, here’s the lowdown on some of MLS’s lesser-known Brits…
Matt Jones – Philadelphia Union
A product of the Port Vale and West Brom academies, goalkeeper Matt Jones made one reserve appearance for the Baggies before moving across the pond to the Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.
After completing his studies Jones went pro and joined USL Premier Development League side Western Mass Pioneers.
Jones then began a spell in Portugal with Santa Clara in 2010, while having a trial with Aberdeen a year later.
Moves to fellow Portuguese second tier sides Uniao Madeira and Belenenses followed, before finally entering the Primera Liga on loan with Tondela this season, and he’s now been snapped up as third-keeper by Philadelphia Union last month.
Jack Harrison – New York City FC
Midfielder Harrison spent seven years in the Manchester United academy, before heading Stateside when aged 14.
Now 19, Harrison was chosen by Chicago as the first pick of the 2016 MLS Superdraft and was swiftly traded to New York.
Alongside Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, and with Patrick Vieira as coach, Harrison will be learning from the best this season.
Luke Mulholland – Real Salt Lake
Preston-born Luke Molholland began his career with Lancaster City’s youth side, but the 27-year-old ditched England for the Free World in 2007 to study at Wingate University.
After climbing the University and Development League ranks, plus trials with New England Revolution and Walsall, Mulholland found his feet at Real Salt Lake in 2014.
In two seasons with RSL the midfielder has quickly become a near ever-present for the team, including a starring role as Salt Lake finished third in the West in 2014.
Luke Boden / Harrison Heath – Orlando City
Orlando City seems to be a happy landing patch for Brits trying to cut their teeth in the States, with Luke Boden, Harrison Heath and former Middlesbrough man Seb Hines on their books.
Midfielder Heath was part of the Norwich side which won the U18 FA Cup in 2013, and quickly racked up appearances for Orlando after signing in 2014.
Defender Boden made a handful of appearances in five years at Sheffield Wednesday, while loan spells at Chesterfield, Northampton and Rushden & Diamonds failed to lead to more permanent employment.
He joined Orlando when in the USL Pro league, and subsequently stuck with the side when the owners took the franchise into MLS last year, featuring over 25 times alongside a certain Brazilian Kaka.
Dom Dwyer – Sporting Kansas City
Dwyer spent his youth career with Norwich, before heading to Staines Town and Kings Lynn.
The prospect of a free degree through Soccer Icon USA saw Dyer head West to Tyler Junior College in Texas, where he quickly impressed.
After joining the University of South Florida, Dwyer was picked by Sporting Kansas City in the 2012 MLS Super Draft.
After two years adapting and settling in, the forward exploded into life in 2014, netting 22 times in 33 games.
A further nine goals followed last term, and at 25, his best years are sure to come.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.