It's been a decade. A decade in which footballers had to come out of the woodwork and prove their worth. A decade full of social problems and a reassessing of the status quo. In the football world, there were enormous financial shifts, rapid technological growth and another generational shift. The decade of 2010 was a decade that really made or broke the individual.
If you've made it through the decade hats off. The 2010's have been packed with racial tension, regulatory changes and social reform in the real world and the footballing world. In order to start the new decade off right during Black History Month in the United States, we felt it only made sense to appreciate the African American players who did good last decade. Here is our list of the 5 African American Footballers of the Decade.
1. Tim Howard
The most capped goalkeeper of all time with 121 caps for country already solidifies his case for being on this list. He also holds the record for the most saves in a World Cup match, with 15 total against Belgium. Having been the starting keeper in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and having played in top tier English Football with Everton, his resume is filled with 10 years of hard work and resilience. After his retirement in 2019 he leaves behind a career to be revered.
2. Jozy Altidore
It seems like Jozy, has been spoken about for a lifetime. An ever present figure in the USMNT and a boss in front of goal, Jozy, has made his career as a force against opponent's back lines. Although having lived a bit of a journeyman football lifestyle for half of the decade, he is a known goalscorer for club and country. The start of the decade saw his move to dutch side AZ Alkmaar, where he earned plaudits for his scoring abilities. Ignoring his stints in English Football, 2015 saw him return to the MLS, to play for Toronto FC, where he won some club silverware. Having played for his country in six competitions this decade, he's a proven veteran when the USMNT, need him.
3. Gyasi Zardes
A product of the LA Galaxy Academy and U.S. Soccer Development Academy, Zardes, is a poster child for the kind of homegrown player the U.S. can produce. He had already started building his name as a youth player winning the national championship with the Galaxy U-20 in 2010 and leading his university CSU Bakersfield, to it's first NCAA tournament berth in history. He made his debut for Galaxy's senior team 2013 and currently sits with 56 caps and 12 goals for the USMNT. The rest is history in the making.
4. Crystal Dunn
There is a lot you can say about Crystal Dunn Soubrier, over her star studded career which is still being written but, one plaudit that makes her an automatic on this list is that she's a World Cup winner. It takes a lot of perseverance to make it onto the USWNT squad and during her tenure she's played for them 101 times and counting. She started her career as a right back for North Carolina University in 2010, won the Hermann Trophy in 2012, and was selected first overall by the Washington Spirit in 2014. After being snubbed a spot on the USWNT roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship and 2015 World Cup, she became the NWSL Most Valuable Player, and won the Golden Boot award in the same year at the age of 23. After a successful spell with Chelsea, in England, she made her way back to the NWSL in 2018, where she played for the North Carolina Courage, helping them win the NWSL Shield and Championship that season. She reclaimed her spot on the USWNT for the 2019 World Cup, won that, and helped her club team repeat another NWSL Shield and Championship title. All of that in the span of a decade no less.
5. Weston McKennie
A more younger entry for our players of the decade list Weston McKennie, takes our last spot. Some may ask why a player so young? At the start of the decade he was only 12 years old and yet by 2020 he's played 19 games and has scored 6 times for the USMNT. He's made his first team debut for German side Schalke 04, in 2017. Alongside Christian Pulisic, the two have a chance to take the USMNT, to the next level.
Those are our picks for the The 5 African American Footballers of the Decade. Do you like our list? Let us know what you think in the comments