Before, I made the mistake thinking Jack Harrison was an American... wishful thinking. But the young Englishmen still has similarities to Deandre Yedlin and other MLS players that I think should be pointed out.
For all MLS fans out there, Jack Harrison has just signed for Manchester City. Harrison who previously played for Manchester City’s sister club, NYCFC, will be immediately loaned out to Middlesbrough of the Championship and will finish the season there. Although we will not see Jack play in the Premier League, it is good news to hear that he may be competing in the top flight as soon as next season. A feat that should not go unrecognized.
It is not often that you see a player move from the MLS to the Premier League. Actually, it is usually the opposite! But for Harrison, he is one of the few recent players to do so. Let’s take a look at some others.
Let’s start with Deandre Yedlin who, unlike Harrison, is an American and was homegrown by the Seattle Sounders of the MLS. Yedlin was 19 when he first started playing for the Sounders. Yedlin’s fantastic rookie season in 2013 did not go unnoticed, as Tottenham would sign him to a four-year contract later in 2014 but, unlike Harrison, stayed in the MLS to play another season. The rest is history for Yedlin and is now a consistent starter for the Toon.
Matt Miazga (20 at the time) was a year younger than Jack Harrison when he was transferred from the New York Red Bulls to Chelsea for 4.14 million pounds in early 2016. That 4.14 million pounds is a transfer record for a player leaving the MLS for the Premier League (Transfermarkt). Like Yedlin, Miazga was a homegrown prospect for the Red Bulls and only took him a few seasons, and great performances against star MLS players like Giovinco and David Villa, to be recognized by big clubs in England.
Here’s a name that almost everyone will know; Tim Howard. Tim Howard will always be remembered as one of the greatest goalkeepers in USMNT history with remarkable performances in the 2014 World Cup. But Howard started his career with the MLS and played a handful of seasons there before being transferred to Manchester United, at the age of 24, where he would instantly start. Although Howard would not stay at Man United for very long, Howard’s career in the Premier League was long lasting, making a total of 399 appearances, the majority of those being with Everton. 19 of those Premier League appearances came against Newcastle, where he would go 11-5-3, conceding only 20 goals.
Last guy I want to address is Clint Dempsey, another American legend. Dempsey was drafted in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft at 8th overall and would make an instant impact in his rookie season with the New England Revolution. Dempsey’s transfer to Fulham was, at the time, a record transfer fee from the MLS (2.7 milliion pounds) and was the youngest to do so in his time at the age of 23. Dempsey enjoyed a rather successful career as a striker, even scoring the clinching goal for Fulham that would keep them up from Relegation in the 2006-2007 season, his first year in the Premier League. His career in the EPL would last 8 seasons, making 218 appearances and scoring 57 goals. Against Newcastle, Dempsey would score 4 goals in 10 matches.
Jack Harrison is in very exclusive company with his signing with Manchester City. Hopefully the Premier League can see his talent very soon.