The Remarkable Impact of the Top 4 Hispanic-American Male Soccer Icons in History

The story of soccer in the United States couldn’t be told without the massive contributions of some world-class Hispanic-American players. Today, we’ll be discussing four of the best Hispanic soccer players who have turned out for the USMNT, and how they impacted the legacy of soccer in America.

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Marcelo Balboa

Position: Defender

Birthdate: Aug. 8, 1967

Hometown: Cerritos, Calif.

Career Span: 1987 to 2002

Notable Teams: Leon, Colorado Rapids

Awards: MLS All-Star (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), CONCACAF Team of the Century (1998)

What better way to start a list of famous Hispanic soccer players from the US than with the first one to suit up for the national team?

Marcelo Balboa was an excellent defender who served as a staple in the USMNT backline throughout the 1990s, earning over 120 caps. Most known for his time with the Colorado Rapids, Balboa was one of the best defensive players during the early days of the MLS, earning four straight all-star appearances from 1997 to 2000.

Balboa is probably most remembered for his ability to join the attack and make incredible plays, such as his 2000 MLS Goal of the Season winning bicycle kick.

Tab Ramos

Position: Midfielder

Born: Sept. 21, 1966

Hometown: Harrison, N.J.

Career Span: 1988 to 2002

Notable Teams: Real Betis, MetroStars, Tigres

Awards: MLS All-Star Game (1996, 1998), CONCACAF Player of the Year (1994)

A stupendous box-to-box midfielder capable of making things happen on both ends of the pitch, Tab Ramos was another essential cog in the 1990s Men’s National Team, earning 81 caps over his storied career.

After helping Real Betis secure a historic promotion to La Liga in 1994, Ramos made history by becoming the first player to sign for the MLS, joining the New York MetroStars for an excellent seven-year stint.

Claudio Reyna

Hometowns: Livingston, N.J.

Birthdates: July 20, 1973

Positions: Midfielder

Career Spans: 1994 to 2008

Notable Teams: Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Rangers, Sunderland, Manchester City, NY Red Bulls

Awards: Hermann Trophy (1993), World Cup All-Star Team (2002)

Post-career beef with the USMNT soccer system aside, what Claudio Reyna did on the pitch was truly incredible. After a stellar college career at the University of Virginia, Reyna went on to be one of the first US-born players to find success in Europe, particularly in the UK, as well as holding down a crucial spot on the national team.

Reyna is most known for captaining the USMNT’s run to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, where he made the tournament all-star team. While major injuries might have held him back from becoming an international star, Reyna still had a long and successful career in the sport.

Gio Reyna

Hometowns: Bedford, N.Y.

Birthdates: Nov. 13, 2002

Positions: Attacking Midfielder

Career Spans: 2020 to present

Team: Borussia Dortmund

Awards: Nations League Final Man of the Match (2023) US Young Player of the Year (2020)

It’s only fitting that Claudios son carries the torch as the most promising Hispanic-American player in US soccer today. The United States has produced plenty of quality players, but it is exceptionally rare for America to have prospects with true superstar potential, and Gio Reyna fits the bill.

After breaking into Borussia Dortmund’s first team at just 17 years old, the younger Reyna has made over 90 appearances for the prestigious club. Now, he’s set to get his first chance in the Premier League on loan at Nottingham Forest. While his stint so far with the USMNT has been inflammatory at times, he’s still produced some magical moments, including two assists in the national team’s Nations League win over Canada in 2023.

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