Entertainment, Sports

American Dream: The eight US & Rangers stars James Sands can learn from after Ibrox move

JAMES SANDS turned to Rangers hero Claudio Reyna before completing his move to Ibrox.

The American joined Rangers on an 18-month loan deal with an option-to-buy held by the club.

Sands’ decision to sign on under Giovanni van Bronckhorst adds his list to the now nine-strong list of US players who have played for Rangers.

There are few better placed to have advised Sands on the transfer switch than American legend Reyna and now Sands is dreaming of becoming an Ibrox hero in his own right.

Maurice Edu and Carlos Bocanegra are among the other success stories involving stars from the States – but there’s still something to be learned from those less successful after moving across the pond to Ibrox.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Americans who have played for Rangers.

Claudio Reyna (1999-2001)

The US hero signed for Rangers in April of 1999 after a deal reportedly worth £2.5m involving Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen was agreed for the transfer and rights of the player.

Dick Advocaat brought the creative midfielder to Ibrox after he had impressed in a central role but was shifted to play as a right-winger for Rangers.

Reyna collected two pieces of silverware in his two-and-a-half-year stint at Ibrox lifting both the Scottish Premiership trophy, then known as the the Scottish Premier League, as well as the Scottish Cup in the 1999-2000 season.

In all he made 64 appearances for Rangers scoring 13 times; the most important and memorable of his strikes came against Parma in a 2-0 win in a first-leg Champions League qualifier.

The midfielder netted past Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon in the victory before a narrow 1-0 loss in Italy saw Rangers through to the group stages.

DaMarcus Beasley (2007-2010)

Flying full-back Damarcus Beasley was another to achieve major success at Ibrox.

He joined from PSV Eindhoven after a season on loan at Manchester City and became a favourite for Rangers.

In his time in Glasgow Beasley made 44 appearances for Rangers and earned six pieces of silverware in a trophy-laden spell.

He counts two SPL triumphs, two Scottish Cup wins and two Scottish League victories in his honours list. 

After three years in Glasgow, and diminishing playing time, Beasley moved to German club Hannover 96.

Maurice Edu (2008-2012)

Maurice Edu made the move to Rangers  for £2.6m after a stunning debut season with Toronto FC. He was named MLS Rookie of the Year before heading for Scotland.

And he too would taste huge success for Rangers winning six trophies – including four league triumphs.

Edu is perhaps best remembered for a last-minute winner over Celtic in February 2010. The central midfielder was a regular in the Rangers line-up in the later stages of his time in Glasgow but not famed for his goals.

However his last-gasp scrappy winner over Celtic made him a hero as Rangers went on to win the league title.

Carlos Bocanegra (2011-2013)

Carlos Bocanegra joined Rangers in August 2011 for an undisclosed fee signing a three-year deal.

However the stopper would only play one full season before leaving the club. He played the 2011-12 season before administration at Ibrox.

A number of players left Rangers after demotion to the Third Division but Bocanegra gained hero status for his willingness to remain at the club with Ally McCoist naming him club captain.

However, shortly into the season he would leave Rangers in a bid to revive his international career as he headed to racing Santander on loan before leaving for Chivas USA in 2013.

Alejandro Bedoya (2011-2012)

Alejandro was the next American to head for Ibrox in August 2011 after playing for Swedish club Orebro SK.

However he never enjoyed the success of any silverware or a consistent run of appearances for Rangers.

He made his debut in a match against Aberdeen in his first month at the club before going on to make a further 12 appearances then leaving for Helsingsborgs IF.

Gedion Zelalem (2015-2016)

German-born American Gedion Zelalem joined Rangers in August 2015 in a loan deal from Arsenal. 

The midfielder was part of the Rangers squad to win the Scottish Championship at Ibrox as helped the team to a Scottish Cup final before an eventual 3-2 loss to Hibs.

The semi-final in the competition may count as Zelalem’s best moment for Rangers as he slotted home a penalty as the Ibrox side beat Celtic in a shootout to reach the final.

Zelalem was also a substitute in the matchday squad as Rangers won the Challenge Cup with a 4-0 win over Peterhead.

Emerson Hyndman

Next up was another American loan signing at Rangers as Emerson Hyndman joined from Bournemouth.

The creative midfielder would make 17 appearances for Rangers in the second half of the season after moving in January.

Despite his short stay at Ibrox, Hyndman was awarded the Rangers Young player of the Year award by the club.

He would then return to Bournemouth before a loan spell with Hibs and then moving to Atlanta United.

Matt Polster

Matt Polster was the most recent American at Rangers up until Sands’ joining. He earned a move after a successful trial stint at Inbox.

The versatile player signed for Rangers under Steven Gerrard but failed to make an impression as he only made ten outings for the club.

Despite only signing a two-and-a-half year deal in January, Polster left Rangers in July to join MLS side New England Revolution.

James Sands

The US international knows he’ll be at Rangers for at least the next 18-months on loan from New York City FC.

And his long-term future could be at the club with Rangers holding an option-to-buy as part of the loan deal for the 21-year-old.

Sands boasts winners medals from the Gold Cup, MLS Cup and USL Cup and has already made seven appearances for the USMNT. 

He’ll be hoping to add a Scottish Premiership trophy to that list as he joins Rangers – and could be in line for a debut against Aberdeen on January 18.

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