With football, or soccer, soaring in popularity in the US and the undeniable rise of the Major League Soccer (MLS), it's becoming increasingly common for players to make the move from the Premier League to the States. 

From legends of the global game to those who only truly found their form on international waters, we've listed some of the players who made the transition look easy in the game...

Wayne Rooney

Manchester United’s all-time record goal-scorer, and the Premier League’s second top scorer, Rooney established himself as one of English football’s all-time greats in a career spanning 16 years in the top flight. Craving a fresh challenge towards the latter stages, he made the trip across the Atlantic, signing a new contract, his first ever overseas, with DC United in the MLS.

With 25 goals and 15 assists in 52 games, the ruthless centre-forward continued his blistering form abroad, winning the golden boot in 2018, scoring his 300th goal at club level the following year and finishing in style, blasting the ball into the net from his own half in his final season at the club. Rooney helped prove that age isn’t always a limiting factor, and that moving to a new league in a new country can provide the boost a player needs to re-find form. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

One of the greatest strikers of all-time, few players have conquered European clubs like Ibrahimovic. From Juventus and Barcelona to Paris Saint-German and Manchester United, the Swedish international won a staggering 31 trophies, scoring over 500 goals, in his time amongst Europe’s elite.

In 2018, at the age of 36, Ibrahimovic fled the continent that gave him so much success in search of a new challenge – and he found it at LA Galaxy. Famously telling LA Times, “Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome” to announce his arrival, the controversial character lived up to the precedent he publically set himself: he made sure they were welcome.

Named in the MLS best starting XI and being selected for the All-Star game in his first season in America, and going on to captain the club the following year, any doubts about his dwindling form were quickly quashed. Scoring 53 goals in 58 appearances, Ibrahimovic helped transform LA Galaxy, leading them to their first ever Western Conference Semi-finals.

Kei Kamara

Not all players who thrived in the MLS did the same in the Premier League. Kei Kamara managed just 11 appearances on loan at Norwich City, struggling to find form and scoring just one goal. After a year in the Championship with Middlesbrough, he made the move to the States for the second time.

Playing for a total of nine MLS clubs and counting, Kamara is one of only 10 players to have scored 100 goals in the league’s history, and is currently fifth in the all-time scoring list, with 134 goals and 37 assists to his name. He sits as a fine example of how the MLS breeds success in some players who the Premier League failed.

David Beckham

Another Manchester United legend, making his first-team debut with the club aged just 17, and going on to win the Premier League six times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Champions League. Leaving the Reds for a short stint with Real Madrid, adding La Liga to his list of trophies, Beckham was one of the first legends of the English game to expand his horizons beyond Europe.

The right-winger signed a five-year contract with LA Galaxy for $32.5 million, obliterating records for the MLS in the process and transforming the commercial growth of the club. But Beckham brought success on the pitch too, proving a vital part of the team who won the Western Conference Final on two successive occasions in 2009 and 2010, and the following year he joined only a small group of players to have won league titles in three countries when the club won their third MLS cup, with an assist in the final, which he won again in his final season at the club.

Bradley Wright-Phillips

The quick-footed striker Wright-Phillips is another player whose performance in the MLS far outshined that of the Premier League. Scoring a mere two goals at Manchester City, before moving onto Championship side Southampton, and then falling to the depths of League One with Charlton Athletic, his career looked to be rapidly in decline.

But aged 29 he made the bold move to the MLS, signing for New York Red Bulls. He made an immediate impact, helping the Red Bulls secure their first major title, the MLS Supporters Shield. This was only the start of his phenomenal career in New York; the England under-20 national would go on to net 126 goals in 240 appearances for the balls, becoming the quickest player in MLS history to surpass the 100 goal mark.

After a short stint at Columbus Crew, Wright-Phillips announced his retirement earlier this year, signing a one-day contract with his former, beloved club, so he could retire as he wanted: a New York Red Bull.

Robbie Keane

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Ireland’s top goal scorer of all-time, Keane enjoyed great success with Tottenham Hotspur in England’s top flight, scoring 122 goals in 306 appearances from 2002-2008. After short stints at Celtic and West Ham United, he signed for LA Galaxy the same year as David Beckham.

Helping LA to yet another Western Conference Title and MLS Supporter’s Shield in his first season at the club, Keane went on to be named in captain of the club, part of the MLS Best XI, and even the MLS Most Valuable Player Award, after scoring a whopping 19 goals and 14 assists in 29 appearances that season.