July 4th...Hot dogs, Apple Pie, and the only day of the year you would even vaguely consider drinking Budweiser....yeauchhhhh!
But also a day for Hammers faithful to consider the American contribution to the cause over the years....and so, the Hammers USA XI featuring Yanks who have turned out in the famous claret and blue of East London's finest.
Gathering a team was surprisingly tough, witht he vintage of the players testifying to the relative immobility of soccer stars in the past, contrasting with the modern trend to take players on loan for trial periods with the prospect, often quite distant, of getting a chance to show their skills in the highly glamorous (and lucrative) Premiership.
Ian Feuer endured two seasons as understudy to the irreplaceable Ludo Miklosko before heading down the divisions for first team football anf then home before making a triumphant return to the Hammers with three appearances in 2000!
In the defence, some 'dodgy' Americans include father and Son combo Steve and Dan Potts. One wonders how the US national side never capped Steve who was one of the most consistent Hammers performers of all time. Young Dan has a single US under 20s appearance but has since switched loyalties to England.
George John had a two month stint at the Boleyn in Jan 2012 but didn't quite make the first team despite scoring on his debut for the reserves! He then returned to FC Dallas.
Bobby Moore may have 106 England caps, but that didn't stop him joining Pele on the Team USA side for the 1976 Bicentennial cup in matches versus Brazil, Italy and even England!
John Harkes was a fantastic capture for the Hammers on loan for the 1995-6 season whilst the MLS was off duty.
Osvaldo Alonso and Graham Zusi are top quality MLS players who had trial periods at the Hammers last year and remain on the Bubbles radar.
Perhaps our greatest 'true' American was Jonathan Spector was a loyal servant for five seasons and over a 100 games at the Boleyn before heading for Birmingham City. Who can forget the brace against Man United in the 4-0 league cup thrashing of November 2010!
Up front, Ade Coker featured for the Hammers between 1971 and 1975 but found it hard to break into a star-studded Hammers first team (remember only one substitute per game back then!). Despite a scoring debut, he managed only 11 appearances before heading stateside where he enjoyed a further 14 years of active competition.
recent recruit to the Hammers academy is Sebastian Lletget, who notched up 23 development squad appearances last year and five inactive bench selections for the first team......here's hoping!
With the growing popularity of soccer in the USA along with West Ham's increasing North American scouting presence, we can surely expect many more American Hammers in the coming years. Hell we've even made the simpsons!