Rumors of Liverpool hero Steven Gerrard’s arrival to Major League Soccer — specifically, the LA Galaxy — gained momentum with this tweet from the club confirming that he is bound for the United States. Granted, “the USA” doesn’t necessarily mean MLS, so we shouldn’t be too shocked if Gerrard suits up for the Jacksonville Armada. But let’s stick to the first division for now.
With Gerrard’s arrival, the eventual NYCFC debut of Frank Lampard (maybe) and the recent success of players like Bradley Wright-Phillips, it’s clear that the British Invasion 3.0 is upon us (1.0 was The Beatles; 2.0 was that brief period when you thought the Stone Roses were the greatest band alive).
To celebrate, we’ve ranked our former overlords’ current, greatest contributors to America’s game. Because nothing says reality like an arbitrary power ranking.
8. Jermain Defoe –
Toronto FC Leicester City still TFC, for now
Defoe’s greatest contribution to MLS wasn’t the beautiful goals he scored early in his time with Toronto. It was him proving MLS is no longer a “retirement league.”
Midway through his time in MLS, Defoe is leaving a broken man, beaten down by the superior defenders of the league’s vaunted Eastern Conference. Today, he’s looking for an exit and probably leaving on the midnight train to Leicester.
We should have known from the jump that any player who came to North America because Drake serenaded his mom was too soft to handle the pressure.
7. Steven Gerrard – LA Galaxy (probably)
If he dominates, MLS is a joke league. If he struggles, MLS was stupid for signing him. Either way we’ll all have big fun talking about it on reddit.
6. Giles Barnes – Houston Dynamo
Barnes is one of the most underrated attackers in MLS, which is something I’ve always wanted to say in a published article.
5. Brooklyn Beckham – Arsenal (academy) / Theoretical FC (Miami, perhaps in 2017)
Currently tearing it up at the Arsenal academy (maybe, I don’t know), Brooklyn Beckham is going to be a massive star in the U.S.. His father is already trying to buy half of Miami to just to start a club so his sons have a place to play. Brooklyn and his brothers Sir Alex, Posh Jr. and Scrappy-Doo will have immediate tabloid impact and raise the profile of the American game.
He’s already clickbait gold. Great headline fodder for a slow news day (ahem). That appreciation gets him a spot on the list.
4. Half season of disinterested Frank Lampard – New York City FC
Hero. Frank Lampard helped sell over 11,000 season tickets to a team for which he never signed a contract. That is the true philanthropic spirit. He understands how critical it is for the left field bleachers to be packed when NYCFC hits the diamond for its inaugural campaign.
3. Simon Carr – Soccer Gods
Our own beloved host, Simon gets a top three nod for understanding the MLS playoff structure … after a 20 minute tutorial and using Post-It notes to explain how the play-in game worked.
2. Dom Dwyer – Sporting Kansas City
Dom is sneakily English Englishman. At least three times a year, I forget he holds a different passport, until I hear him in some interview.
Dwyer scored 22 goals of his own this year, but his place on this list is largely due to his personal life. Not that his relationship with Ms. Leroux is an “achievement,” but his willingness to be her photo prop on the internet to maintain happiness is commendable. Do what you gotta do, Dom. Respect.
1. Bradley Wright-Phillips – New York Red Bulls
With respect to Harry Kane, BWP is unquestionably the greatest English scoring threat of the 21st century. He was the recipient of this past season’s Golden Boot, with an all-time record-tying 27 regular season goals. It is the single most spectacular British achievement since Idris Elba fooled us all into thinking he was American for years on The Wire.