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The (Other) American Goalkeeping Tradition


Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Marcus Hahnemann and Tim Howard have become well know in the United States for their exploits playing football in England. The goalkeeping quartet has established the credentials of Americans in what many at home consider the top football league on the planet. (some at home consider it the only football league in the world also)

But of the four aforementioned names only Kasey Keller had a role in opening the door for American keepers in England. Three other young keepers blazed the trail in England in the 1990s, before the international spotlight was placed on the domestic leagues of the British Isles.

Ian Feuer

Feuer moved to Europe at a young age to pursue a football career. He played for Club Brugge from 1988 until 1993. Feuer returned home to play for the LA Salsa in the 1993 season but after the end of the A-League playoffs he was sold to West Ham United. Thus began an on again, off again none year career in English Football. Feuer played for West Ham United, Luton Town, Cardiff City, Derby County and Wimbledon with a spell in between with New England (during Walter Zenga’s one year retirement) and later with Colorado.

Juergen Sommer

Sommer followed up a standout career at Indiana with an English  contract at Luton Town in 1990 . After four outstanding years with Luton, Sommer was sold to QPR where he played until 1998. Sommer was a member of the US World Cup teams in 1994 and 1998. He returned home to the US to play for Columbus after Brad Friedel left for Liverpool in 1998. He finished out his career with the New England Revs, but was loaned to Bolton for a few matches in 2001 at the specific request of Sam Allardyce who was facing a keeper crisis. In an FA Cup match versus Blackburn, Sommer and Friedel faced off in one of Northwest England’s most intense derbys.

Sommer is now a US National Team Assistant.

Mike Amman

Charlton Athletic signed Amman in 1994 and he made about 40 appearances for the club, before moving to MLS in 1996. Amman played for the Wiz (now the Wizards) until 1998 when he was traded with Mark Chung to Bora Miluinovic’s Metrostars for Tony Meola and Alexi Lalas. Amman was solid with the Metros until suffering a punctured lung and several broken bones in 2000 thanks to a thuggish stomp by Tampa Bay’s Mammadou Diallo. Two years later in 2002 Amman suffered a devestating injury for DC United and had to retire from the game.

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  1. LI Matt

    March 2, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Jurgen Sommer or Thomas Dooley: which one was born & raised in Germany…?

  2. Ian

    March 2, 2009 at 11:58 am

    This is why we like Kartik. Good pieces like this. But the good is canceled by the bad which included indulging a gadfly like Feuerstein whenever Daniel F. pushes him.

  3. TTB

    March 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Wow, good stuff.

    Sommer was a stud! A real great keeper.

  4. Who?

    March 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve never heard of any of these “famous” Americans you mention.

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