It is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and we’re taking a look at the best Hispanic-American soccer players of all time. Many Hispanic Americans have played for the United States Men’s National Team, but who are some of the best?

Who was the first male Hispanic soccer player to play for the USMNT?

Former defender Marcelo Balboa was the first Hispanic player on the USMNT.

How many current Hispanic-American soccer players are there for the UWMNT?

Currently, there are four Hispanic-American players on the USMNT: midfielders Gio Reyna and Luca de la Torre, and forwards Ricardo Pepi and Kevin Paredes.

Famous Hispanic-American Soccer Players

Former USMNT players such as Claudio Reyna and Tab Ramos are among the most famous players on this list, but young players such as Ricardo Pepi and Gio Reyna might catch up.

Celebrating the Top 10 Most Influential Hispanic-American Male Soccer Players in U.S. Soccer History

  1. Nick Rimando

Hometown: Montclair, Calif.
Birthdate: June 17, 1979
Position: Goalkeeper
Career Span: 2000 to 2019
Teams: Miami Fusion, DC United, Real Salt Lake
Awards and Honors: MLS Cup Champion (2004, 2009), MLS Cup MVP (2009), MLS All-Star Game (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019)

We’ll kick off this list with its loan goalkeeper: former Real Salt Lake star Nick Rimando. His mother is of Mexican descent and his father is Filipino. Rimando is one of the most successful MLS goalkeepers of all time -- an MLS Cup winner (and MVP), a six-time MLS All-Star, and a member of the MLS 400 Games Club. That’s not bad a for 5-foot-9 goalie.

Rimando was perpetually stuck behind legendary goalie Tim Howard for a starting spot in the national team. He still went to the 2014 World Cup and earned 22 caps.

  1. Hugo Perez

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Birthdate: Nov. 8, 1963
Position: Midfielder
Career Span: 1982 to 1996
Teams: Los Angeles Aztecs, Tampa Bay Rowdies, San Diego Sockers, Los Angeles Heat, Orgyte IS, Al-Ittihad, Los Angeles Salad, CD FAS
Awards and Honors: CONCACAF Gold Cup Champion (1991)

Former American midfielder Hugo Perez was born in El Salvador and moved to the United States when he was 11. Perez played American professional soccer in the pre-MLS days, spending time primarily with either the Tampa Bay Rowdies or the San Diego Sockers (both indoor and outdoor). He would eventually play for a couple of teams across the pond.

Perez was supposed to play at the 1990 World Cup, but injuries forced him to miss the tournament. He did represent the U.S. at the 1994 World Cup on home soil. In all, the midfielder scored 13 times in his 73 caps for the USMNT.

  1. Alejandro Bedoya

Hometown: Weston, Fla.
Birthdate: April 29, 1987
Position: Midfielder
Career Span: 2009 to present
Teams: Orebro SK, Rangers, Helsingborgs, Nantes, Philadelphia Union
Awards and Honors: CONCACAF Gold Cup Champion (2013, 2017)

Former USMNT midfielder Alejandro Bedoya turned 36 years old in 2023, but he still plies his trade for the Philadelphia Union. Born to parents of Colombian descent, he moved from Boston College to Swedish outfit Orebro SK. He toiled around Europe until 2016, highlighted by stops at Rangers and Nantes before signing with the Union.

Bedoya just missed the cut for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but he was a key member of the 2014 U.S. World Cup team, starting all four games as the USMNT narrowly missed out on the quarterfinals. The Hispanic-American soccer player scored twice in his 66 caps.

  1. Ricardo Pepi

Hometown: San Elizario, Texas
Birthdate: Jan. 9, 2003
Position: Striker
Career Span: 2019 to present
Teams: FC Dallas, Noth Texas SC, FC Augsburg, FC Groningen, PSV
Awards and Honors: CONCACAF Nations League Champion (2022-23), MLS All-Star Game (2021)

Ricardo Pepi, a 20-year-old American forward, has his career off to a start as hot as that of practically anyone on this list. His 15 MLS goals for FC Dallas by the age of 18 earned him a $20 million transfer to Germany’s Augsburg, but he eventually settled in on loan with Groningen in the Netherlands. He moved in the summer of 2023 to UCL-outfit PSV and is a key option off the bench for the Eindhoven club.

Pepi elected to play for the U.S. over Mexico after a protracted international tug-of-war, as he grew up in Texas, but both of his parents are of Mexican descent. The Mexican-American soccer player just missed making the 2022 World Cup squad but looks to be back as part of the USMNT’s plans for 2026. He already has nine goals in just 18 caps.

  1. Jesus Ferreira

Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Birthdate: Dec. 24, 2000
Position: Forward
Career Span: 2017 to present
Teams: FC Dallas, Tulsa Roughnecks (loaned in 2018-2019)

Awards and Honors: MLS All-Star Game (2022, 2023), MLS Young Player of the Year (2022), MLS Best XI (2022)

USMNT forward Jesus Ferreira was born in Colombia but moved to Texas at a young age and joined the famous FC Dallas academy. He has been a first-teamer for the squad since he was 16 back in 2017 and has already scored 48 career goals for Dallas at just 22 years old. He earned a place in the 2022 MLS Best XI and was the league’s Young Player of the Year.

Many fans of the USMNT refer to Ferreira as the “Pirate of the Caribbean” for his propensity to score against lower-ranked Caribbean nations. This moniker has some merit, as Ferreira has registered hat tricks against Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada. All told, he has an impressive 15 USMNT goals in just 23 games.

Ferreira is one of the best Hispanic players in MLS.

  1. Carlos Bocanegra

Hometown: Alta Loma, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Birthdate: May 25, 1979
Position: Defender
Career Span: 2000 to 2014
Teams: Chicago Fire, Fulham, Rennes, Saint-Etienne, Rangers, Racing Santander, Chivas USA
Awards and Honors: MLS Defender of the Year (2002, 2003), CONCACAF Gold Cup Champion (2002, 2007)

The son of a Mexican father, former USMNT defender Carlos Bocanegra carved out a very successful career in Europe. He moved from MLS’ Chicago Fire to the Premier League Fulham club in 2003 and quickly became a starter, accumulating 133 appearances for the Cottagers. He had further stops at Rennes, Saint-Etienne, and Rangers before returning to MLS in 2013.

Bocanegra accumulated an impressive 110 caps for the USMNT, highlighted by starting the majority of the Americans’ games at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup tournaments. He was the U.S. team captain in its historic win against No. 1-ranked Spain at the 2009 Confederations Cup.

4 (tie). Gio Reyna and Claudio Reyna

Hometowns: Bedford, N.Y. (Gio) and Livingston, N.J. (Claudio)
Birthdates: Nov. 13, 2002 (Gio) and July 20, 1973 (Claudio)
Positions: Attacking Midfielder (Gio) and Midfielder (Claudio)
Career Spans: 2020 to present (Gio) and 1994 to 2008 (Claudio)
Gio’s Team: Borussia Dortmund
Claudio’s Teams: Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Rangers, Sunderland, Manchester City, NY Red Bulls
Awards and Honors for Gio: DFB Pokal Championship (2020-21), CONCACAF Nations League Champion (2019-20, 2022-23)
Awards and Honors for Claudio: Scottish League Championship (1999-00), FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (2002)

No, Gio Reyna probably shouldn’t be ranked ahead of Carlos Bocanegra, but considering that he’s just 20 years old (as of this writing), he is listed here so that he can be grouped with his father, Claudio.

Gio’s grandfather (and Claudio’s father) is Argentine and played professionally in his home country. Gio was born in England while his father was at Sunderland, but he moved to the NYCFC academy. He joined Dortmund as a 16-year-old and was playing the in UCL shortly after, assisting Erling Haaland at age 17 against PSG in a famous victory.

The younger Reyna had a bit of a falling out with the USMNT -- thanks in part to his father – which forced Gio into a reserve role at the 2022 World Cup. He was put back into the starting lineup for the 2023 CONCACAF National League and was Man of the Match in the final with two assists. He already has 20 caps for the U.S. and is one of the greatest talents the country has ever had.

His father, Claudio, was an early trailblazer for Americans in the UK, playing for Rangers, Sunderland, and Manchester City from 1999 to 2007. Claudio Reyna appeared the most for the USMNT, tallying 112 caps from 1994 to 2006 to rank 10th in team history. He played in the 1998, 2002, and 2006 World Cup tournaments, and only a late injury kept him out of the 1994 edition on home soil.

Claudio Reyna has the most caps of any USMNT Hispanic player.

  1. Marcelo Balboa

Hometown: Cerritos, Calif.
Birthdate: Aug. 8, 1967
Position: Defender
Career Span: 1987 to 2002
Teams: San Diego Nomads, San Francisco Bay, Colorado Foxes, Leon, Colorado Rapids, MetroStars
Awards: MLS All-Star Game (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)

One of the first lynchpins of the U.S. men’s national team was former defender Marcelo Balboa. Of Argentinian descent, Balboa toiled in the pre-MLS days of professional soccer for many years before joining the Colorado Rapids in 1996 (when he 29). He was a four-time MLS All-Star despite being in his early 30s.

Balboa was the first American to surpass 100 caps for the USMNT, and he starred at the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cup tournaments for the U.S.

  1. Tab Ramos

Hometown: Harrison, N.J.
Born: Sept. 21, 1966
Position: Midfielder
Career Span: 1988 to 2002
Teams: New Jersey Eagles, Miami Sharks, Figueres, Real Betis, MetroStars, Tigres UANL
Awards and Honors: MLS All-Star Game (1996, 1998)

Who did Marcelo Balboa line up alongside at those World Cup tournaments? That would be the best Hispanic-American soccer player of all time --Tab Ramos. Born in Uruguay, Ramos moved to New Jersey before attending college at North Carolina State. He toiled professionally in the U.S. before moving to Figueres in Spain in 1992, and after a stint at Real Betis, he joined the MLS in 1995.

The midfielder was a central figure for the USMNT in the 1990s, starting most of the matches in the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cup tournaments. He scored eight times in his 81 caps and gave even more to the USMNT as the U20s head coach from 2011 to 2019.

Parameters of Rankings

These rankings are based on each player’s appearances and goals for the USMNT, each player’s club career, and each player’s legacy as it relates to American soccer.

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