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American soccer player and author of 'Captain For Life (and Other Temporary Assignments)'.

John Harkes was the first true US soccer superstar. Shining in the US team in the 1990 World Cup, he transferred to Sheffield Wednesday the following season, and played a key part in their League Cup win over Manchester United in 1991, scoring the Goal Of The Season en route (a 30-yard piledriver against Derby County, beating the great Peter Shilton, no less!).

John was part of the great Wednesday midfield of 1990-93, under Ron Atkinson and Trevor Francis - a midfield consisting of Chris Waddle, John Sheridan, Harkes himself and Carlton Palmer. His workrate and passion were unsurpassed, and his stature in his homeland increased to the point where he was named captain for the 1994 World Cup, which the US hosted.

John left Wednesday in 1993 to sign for Derby County, a move that did not really come off for either the player or his new club, and it was no surprise when he was signed by Washington DC United as one of the flagship players in the fledgling MLS back in his home country. With Harkes at the helm, DC United won two MLS titles and the CONCACAF Federation cup. Meanwhile, the national team again qualified for World Cup France '98, but tactical arguments with the team manager saw John dropped from the squad and stripped of the captaincy, hence the title of his autobiography.

John currently plays for New England Revolution in the MLS.
The news of Harkes going to the English Premiership was largely not covered at all by the football-ignorant American media.

In fact, one of the scant mentions it did get in newspapers shows just how little the United States media cared about football/soccer.

In the New York Post, one of the larger papers in the country, a small article on Harkes was titled "Harkes going to Sheffield, Wednesday" (as if he was going to "Sheffield" on "Wednesday", the day after Tuesday, instead of to the club Sheffield Wednesday).

Harkes doesn't get nearly enough credit for his success and remains an unknown outside of the limited amount of serious American football fans. Harkes (as well as a few other early "pioneers" like Thomas Dooley in Germany) is in no small way responsible for the recent influx of American players in Europe. He showed that the United States has some quality players and led the way for others (such as Eddie Lewis, Brad Friedel, and Brian McBride in England; Kasey Keller and Ante Razov in Spain; among others).

With the success of women's soccer, the American media is slightly more football friendly than a decade ago. However, if an American was to go to Sheffield Wednesday, the "Sheffield, Wednesday" error would likely be repeated.

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