The United States' biggest European success stories

It is Independence Day in the United States of America, and to celebrate, UEFA.com singles out the US stars who have done the most to light up UEFA's club competitions.

US record holders (L-R): Christen Press, Gina Lewandowski, Jermaine Jones, DaMarcus Beasley
US record holders (L-R): Christen Press, Gina Lewandowski, Jermaine Jones, DaMarcus Beasley ©Getty Images

First US national to play in a UEFA club competition: Gyula Visnyei
14/09/76: Lierse 1-0 Hajduk Split (European Cup Winners' Cup, first round first leg)

Having left his native Hungary as a teenager, Visnyei returned to Europe after a spell in America to play for Lierse and then Standard Liège (with whom he became the first US national to feature in the UEFA Cup in 1977/78). As 'Juli Veee' he was one of the stars of the US Soccer leagues in the 1980s with the New York Arrows, San Diego Sockers and Las Vegas Americans, and scored twice in four USA appearances from 1976–82.

First US national to play in the European Cup: Steve Trittschuh 
03/10/90: Spartak Moskva 2-0 Sparta Praha (first round, first leg)

The chance to play in the European Cup persuaded the Illinois-born defender – then 25 – to join Sparta after featuring against Czechoslovakia for the USA at the 1990 FIFA World Cup finals. "I always wanted to play in Europe," he said of his one season in Prague, in which he also won a national league title. "It was a great experience and I learned a great deal about being a professional."

Highlights: Atlético crown historic campaign
Highlights: Atlético crown historic campaign

First US national to play in the UEFA Champions League: Jovan Kirovski 
16/10/96: Atlético Madrid 0-1 Borussia Dortmund (group stage)

Born in California to Macedonian parents, Kirovski was a trainee at Manchester United before making his name at Dortmund, featuring in their 1996/97 UEFA Champions League winning campaign, though not the final itself. The 62-times capped USA forward made another small bit of history by becoming the first US national to play in the UEFA Super Cup, as Dortmund lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the 1997 edition.

First US national to appear in a major UEFA men's final: Clint Dempsey
12/05/10: Atlético Madrid 2-1aet Fulham (UEFA Europa League final, Hamburg)

Signed from New England Revolution for a then-huge £4m fee in 2006, the Texan striker played 275 professional games for Fulham and fellow Londoners Tottenham Hotspur. A stunning chip against Juventus in the round of 16 may have been the highlight of his 2009/10 UEFA Europa League campaign, though he replaced Bobby Zamora 55 minutes into the final to break new ground for US players in men's competition.

First US national to appear in a major UEFA women's final: Stacey Peterson
09/06/03 Umeå 4-1 Fortuna Hjørring
21/06/03 Fortuna Hjørring 0-3 Umeå (UEFA Women's Cup final)

Long before Dempsey made the UEFA Europa League final with Fulham, forward Peterson had set a precedent for US disappointment in UEFA competition finals, featuring in both legs of Danish side Hjørring's 2003 UEFA Women's Cup final defeat. Compatriot Venus James was to get a similar sinking feeling in the two-legged 2005 decider, her Djurgården side losing 5-1 on aggregate to Turbine Potsdam.

First US nationals to win a UEFA competition: Alex Krieger, Gina Lewandowski
17/05/08 Umeå 1-1 FFC Frankfurt
24/05/08 FFC Frankfurt 3-2 Umeå (UEFA Women's Cup final)

Virginian Krieger and Pennsylvanian Lewandowski moved to Frankfurt in the summer of 2007, completing a league, German Cup and UEFA Women's Cup treble in their first campaign. "For both of us it was a huge advantage, because we could speak English together," Lewandowski said. Compatriot Alex Morgan matched their achievement when she helped Lyon to win the 2017 UEFA Women's Champions League final.

Most appearances by US nationals in the European Champion Clubs' Cup/UEFA Champions League (including qualifying)
27= DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven, Rangers)
27= Jermaine Jones (Leverkusen, Schalke)
20: Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)
17: Claudio Reyna (Rangers)
12= Tim Howard (Manchester United)
12= Fabian Johnson (Wolfsburg, Mönchengladbach)

DaMarcus Beasley in training
DaMarcus Beasley in training©Getty Images

Top-scoring US nationals in the European Champion Clubs' Cup/UEFA Champions League (including qualifying)
6: DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven, Rangers)
3: Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)
2= Jermaine Jones (Leverkusen, Schalke)
2= Fabian Johnson (Wolfsburg, Mönchengladbach)
2= Brian Gerzicich (Hapoel Kiryat Shmona)

Most appearances by US nationals in men's UEFA club competition*
40= Brad Friedel (Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa, Tottenham)
40= Tim Howard (Manchester United, Everton)
39: Jermaine Jones (Leverkusen, Schalke)
37: Oguchi Onyewu (La Louvière, Standard Liége, Twente, Sporting CP, Málaga)
34: Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)

Top-scoring US nationals in men's UEFA club competition*
7: Clint Dempsey (Fulham, Tottenham)
6: DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven, Rangers)
4= Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)
4= Jozy Altidore (Villarreal, AZ Alkmaar)
3= Jermaine Jones (Leverkusen, Schalke)
3= Oguchi Onyewu (La Louvière, Standard Liége, Twente, Sporting CP, Málaga)

The prolific Christen Press
The prolific Christen Press©Tyresö FF

Most appearances by US nationals in women's UEFA club competition
29:
Gina Lewandowski (FFC Frankfurt, Bayern)
17: Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt, Tyresö)
15: Christen Press (Göteborg, Tyresö)
14: Janelle Cordia (Fortuna Hjørring)

Top-scoring US nationals in women's UEFA club competition
12:
Christen Press (Göteborg, Tyresö)
7: Sinead Farrelly (Apollon Ladies)
4= Regina Holan (Sparta Praha)
4= Sarah Huffman (Røa)
4= Jennifer Benson (Energy Voronezh)
4= Catherine Walker (PK-35 Vantaa) 

*UEFA club competitions means European Champion Clubs' Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, European/South American Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup