Premier League’s all-time top 5 US stars

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Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, some great American players have graced the English game. Here are the top 5 players who have had the biggest effect on the Premier League:

5. KASEY KELLER

Leicester City:1996-1999

Tottenham: 2001-2005

After moving to England to play for Millwall in the First Division in 1992, the talented goalkeeper enjoyed four excellent years there, becoming a fans favourite in the process. He moved to Leicester in 1996, by which time he was first-choice ‘keeper for the national side, and won the League Cup with Leicester in 1997. After a spell in Spain, he returned to the Premier League in 2001 with Spurs, and he played every league game for two seasons. He eventually waved goodbye to English football in early 2005. Keller won 101 caps for America.

4. BRIAN MCBRIDE

Everton: 2003

Fulham: 2004-2008

Mcbride was a big, robust striker who enjoyed an excellent time in the Premier League between 2003 and 2008. He played eight games on loan for Everton in 2003, scoring an impressive four goals, before he made a permanent move to Fulham in 2004. He scored 41 goals in his four and a half years at Craven Cottage in a side that was often struggling at the wrong end of the rankings. He was held in high regard by the Fulham supporters, who appreciated his work-rate and hunger for the game. Mcbride left in 2008 to play in the MLS. He scored 30 goals in 96 appearances for the national team.

3. CLINT DEMPSEY

Fulham: 2007-2012

Tottenham: 2012- present

He might not be enjoying a great spell at Spurs at the moment, but Dempsey has been a terrific addition to the Premier League since his first game in 2007. That was at Fulham, who he signed for from New England Revolution, and he was one of the star players at Craven Cottage, playing with Mcbride for a short period. In 2010 Dempsey helped Fulham reach the Europa League final, and his winning goal against Juventus was memorable. Last season he scored a superb 23 goals, which earned him a move to Spurs. His debut season there has not been great, but his spell at Fulham was awesome.

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2. TIM HOWARD

Manchester United: 2003- 2007

Everton: 2007- present

Nobody knew too much about Howard when he signed for Manchester United in 2003, but his career there started very impressively. An error in a huge Champions League game with Porto in 2004 ended up defining his United career, and he eventually joined Everton permanently in 2007, following an earlier loan spell. He has been hugely consistent for David Moyes’ side, becoming an integral part of an increasingly impressive squad, and he is in him prime right now. He has 85 caps and counting for America, and is a top class ‘keeper.

1. BRAD FRIEDEL

Liverpool: 1997-2000

Blackburn: 2000-2008

Aston Villa: 2008-2011

Tottenham: 2011- present

Yet another goalkeeper in the list, but Friedel is on another level to Keller and Howard. Arguably in the top 5 ‘keepers to have graced the Premier League, the fact that he is held in similar regard to Peter Schmeichal, David Seaman and Petr Cech says it all. It didn’t start off great for him in England though, after a poor spell at Liverpool. Once he left Anfield, however, he never looked back. He enjoyed eight great years at Blackburn, three at Aston Villa and is in his second season at Spurs at the age of 41. In these three spells he broke the Premier League record for number of consecutive appearances in the league: an astonising 310. His consistency, shot-stopping ability and likeable personality during his time in England has made him a true Premier League legend.

Lamela needs hip surgery, out for rest of Spurs season

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Tottenham Hotspur won’t be getting an Erik Lamela boost any time soon.

The 25-year-old winger will undergo surgery on his ailing hip this Saturday, costing him availability for Spurs’ stretch run and Argentina duty.

[ MORE: RSL hires Petke ]

Lamela has been missing since Oct. 29, and left Spurs lineup with the team unbeaten in the Premier League (5W-4D).

He registered a goal and an assist in PL play, adding a goal and four helpers in the side’s first two rounds of the EFL Cup and two assists in three Champions League matches.

Real Salt Lake introduces Mike Petke as new head coach

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Mike Petke is getting a deserved next kick as an MLS coach.

The New York Red Bulls icon, 41, is taking over at Real Salt Lake, where he had been leading USL side Real Monarchs since December.

“They’re an animal waiting to be released from a cage,” Petke called RSL’s roster.

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Petke won better than 41 percent of his matches as RBNY boss, leading the club to the 2013 Supporters’ Shield. This came after 351 matches between Colorado, the Red Bulls/MetroStars, and DC United.

He leaves Real Monarchs with a perfect 1-0 record. Unbeaten!

“The vision that he laid out, along with Craig and Rob, was music to my ears,” Petek said. “They really showed me what was ahead for the RSL organization, and it was an easy thing to be a part of.”

Petke thanked the Monarchs for restoring some of his love for managing, something he said was “kicked out of me”. The Red Bulls shockingly parted ways with Petke in January 2015, moving onto Jesse Marsch.

This is a low risk hire for Real, who gains a respected coach and soccer mind. The optics aren’t great coming so early into the season and so soon after his hiring at Monarchs raised eyebrows.

The hiring comes four days after RSL drew the Red Bulls 0-0 at Red Bull Arena, which is the only disappointment of this whole ordeal: Not getting to see the response at his old home.

Referee leaders want on-field official to see video replays

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LONDON (AP) Antoine Griezmann headed the ball into the net and was in full celebration mode with his France teammates when referee Felix Swayer pinned a finger into his left ear to block out the stadium noise.

[ VIDEO: VAR system used correctly

An assistant in front of a bank of monitors was assessing replays and had some bad news for Griezmann. Swayer was told through his earpiece that a player was offside in the buildup.

The goal was then ruled out, without Swayer seeing a replay. But that won’t necessarily be the case by the time video replays are fully approved to be rolled out across soccer.

For now, the experimental phase is still in full flow but if refereeing leaders get their way officials should always have access to the footage themselves around the field.

“The subjective decisions should be made by the on-field referee because they have got the feel for the game,” Mike Riley, general manager of English refereeing organization, told The Associated Press. “They can put it in the context of everything else. So as part of the process we have got to work out how we can do that as effectively as possible … without interrupting the flow of the game.”

The International Football Association Board, the game’s lawmaking body, is in its second year of trials with various versions of video assistant referees (VAR). Some games, like the France-Spain friendly, do not allow the referee to evaluate incidents and instead by rely on the VAR.

But VAR could end up only ruling on what Riley describes as “decisions of fact,” such as whether a ball was inside or outside the penalty area.

Ultimately, if you are appointing one of the top referees to preside over a major game, that person is seen as ideal for making the big calls, according to IFAB.

“Fundamentally we are told very much by players and coaches they want the referee to be making the most important decisions,” IFAB technical director David Elleray said, referencing England’s top referee. “They don’t know who is in a van out in the car park or 300 miles away in a match center.”

Soccer’s lawmakers only envisage video replays being used to correct game-changing decisions involving four situations: penalties being awarded, red cards, cases of mistaken identity and goals being scored.

That situation arose twice in the Stade de France on Tuesday as France lost 2-0 to Spain. After Griezmann’s goal was disallowed, video replays worked against France again but in Spain’s favor when an incorrect offside call against Gerard Deulofeu was overturned and his goal stood.

Swayer again relied on the information from a colleague benefiting from replays.

“Nicola Rizzoli was appointed to referee the last World Cup final because he is the best referee,” Elleray said. “But if actually the two most important decisions in the match are made by somebody watching a TV screen … the most important person is the man you put behind the TV screen not the man on the field.”

The challenges are how referees are able to view replays without lengthening the delay. For now the technology isn’t satisfactory for officials to use wearable devices and receive footage in real time. That means going to the side of the field to watch incidents with the eyes of thousands of fans in the stands on them. The screens are likely to be on the opposite side to the technical area to avoid coaches being able to surround and harangue the referee.

“Some of our stadiums don’t lend themselves to monitors by the side of the pitch because they are really tight,” said Riley, a former Premier League referee who is now in charge of appointments for games in the world’s richest soccer competition. “Is it right for referees to have to run 30 yards to go and look? Can you get the footage to the referee on the field somehow? All these things have to be explored through the experiment and come out with a solution that works for football.”

Live experiments are taking place in about 20 competitions this year, including the Confederations Cup in Russia in June and July that will serves as a World Cup test event.

Once IFAB adds video replays to the laws of the game, any competition meeting the requirements will be able to use them.

For Riley, permitting replays is “the most significant change in refereeing in the game for generations,” far more significant than the 2012 decision to allow technology that simply determines whether the ball crossed the goal line.

“If you are making such a significant change,” Riley said, “you need to really explore and understand all the potential implications.”

Rob Harris can be followed at http://www.twitter.com/RobHarris and http://www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

Amid fanfare, Bastian Schweinsteiger arrives in Chicago

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Arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, it is clear Bastian Schweinsteiger is kind of a big deal…

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Posing for photos with fans as he stepped off the flight with his wife, former Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic, the former Bayern Munich midfielder was mobbed by Chicago Fire fans who are delighted he has arrived in Major League Soccer as the newest Designated Player.

The German legend has completed his move from Manchester United to the Fire and will be officially unveiled to the media on Wednesday after signing a one-year deal.

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Schweinsteiger, 32, has already had a training session in the books and the World Cup winner is expected to make his debut in Chicago’s home clash with the Montreal Impact on Saturday at Toyota Park.

Below is a video of Schweinsteiger’s arrival in Chicago, his first training session and a collection of photos he took with ecstatic Fire fans.