How many American players have been in Serie A?

There have been very few players from the United States to play their football in Serie A, but the number has grown rapidly over the last few seasons and this summer in particular.


The United States have been successful at many sports and have their own powerful domestic competitions such as the NFL, the NHL and MLB, but football has historically been a sport that has struggled for popularity.

Although the United States Women’s National Team have won four World Cups, more than anyone else, their male counterparts have not enjoyed that kind of glory.

In recent decades, there has been greater investment in men’s football, American businesspeople have been purchasing clubs around the world, and there have been more American footballers playing their club football in Europe.

For many years, Serie A clubs did not purchase players from the United States, but that trend has changed, and this summer, the likes of Christian Pulisic and Timothy Weah have signed for AC Milan and Juventus respectively. How many Americans have played in Serie A before them, though?

Negro and Frigo were pioneers, Lalas brought intrigue

The first American player to feature in Serie A was Alfonso Negro, who played for Fiorentina and Napoli in the 1930s. He would also represent Italy at the 1936 Olympic Games and featured in one match as the Azzurri went on the win the gold medal.

Also in the inter-war years, Armando Frigo also played for the Gigliati in Serie A, but his fate was a tragic one as he was shot by Nazi soliders during World War II in 1943 while fighting for the Italian Army against the Germans.

It would take over 50 years for an American-born footballer to play in Serie A again and it would be the first time a United States international would play in Italy. Alexi Lalas starred for his country when the Americans hosted the 1994 World Cup and the defender signed for Padova after the tournament.

The tall centre-back stood out with his long red hair and goatee beard, and he guided the Biancoscudati to survival in his first season. Unfortunately, there was little he could do in the following campaign as the club from Veneto finished at the bottom of the Serie A table.

Recent American arrivals

Weston McKennie. (@juventusfc)

After Lalas played for Padova, Oguchi Onyewu was signed by AC Milan in 2009, but he failed to play a single match in Serie A and his only appearance for the Rossoneri was in the Champions League. Michael Bradley had spells at Chievo and AS Roma in the early 2010s while Venezia fielded no less than three Americans when they were in Serie A in 2021/22.

Until the arrivals of Pulisic, Weah and Yunus Musah this summer, arguably the most well-known signing in recent years was defensive midfielder Weston McKennie joining Juventus from German club Schalke 04.

McKennie is the only one to have won any silverware in Italy too, featuring in the Bianconeri’s 2020/21 Coppa Italia triumph, but his future is likely to be elsewhere in 2023/24.

Yunus Musah arrives at AC Milan. [@acmilan]

List of American players in Serie A

1. Alfonso Negro – Fiorentina 1934-38, Napoli 1938-41

2. Armando Frigo – Fiorentina 1939-42

3. Alexi Lalas – Padova 1994-96

4. Michael Bradley – Chievo 2011-12, AS Roma 2012-14

5. Bryan Reynolds – AS Roma 2021-22

6. Weston McKennie – Juventus 2020-23

7. Gianluca Busio – Venezia 2021-present

8. Patrick Leal – Venezia 2021/22

9. Tanner Tessmann – Venezia 2021-present

10. Sergino Dest – AC Milan 2022/23

11. Christian Pulisic – AC Milan 2023-present

12. Timothy Weah – Juventus 2023-present

13. Yunus Musah – AC Milan 2023-present


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