Whether you're a football fan or a supporter of soccer, the beautiful game has never been more buoyant. Long-popular in almost everywhere but the U.S, the legacy of the 1994 World Cup is finally beginning to bear fruit and the sport everyone else is happy to refer to as football now has a home stateside.

But while the twilight years of David Villa, Frank Lampard and the quite sublime Andrea Pirlo are an obvious draw, it's the little nuances of football culture that truly remain appealing long after its celebrated standard-bearers have hung up their boots.

The logos, the kits (aka uniforms), the traditions, the boots, the songs the fans sing and the events that led to those songs being penned in the first place. Followers of the relatively young teams in our country could be forgiven for feeling frustrated that so many soccer fans look to England or other European countries for teams to pledge allegiance to. But it's all about the traditions those teams carry. Remember, English soccer has been a thing since Queen Victoria was sitting on her big chair and it's hard to not have a real depth of character shaped by that.

Dieter Rams Braun - Adsum
Kasey Keller back in the "good" hair days while he was at Millwall. He was one of the early standout US goalkeepers and is now supporting the MLS by lending his voice to color commentary for the Seattle Sounders.

As the English Premier League celebrates its 25th year, its moments of skill and excitement will be wheeled out, but just as crucially the theatre of it all should also be remembered. Di Canio shoving a referee who tumbled over like a surprised deer, Cantona two footing an opposing fan yet somehow still remaining a bit of a hero for it, Keegan losing his cool in a post-match interview, Ron Atkinson following suit before later revealing himself to be at best culturally naïve. Alan Pardew doing the ultimate impression of an embarrassing father numerous times, Robbie Fowler supporting local dockers and mocking Evertonian jibes about white lines. It has all happened.

But what of the American players and their role in the Premier League? There was a time when a U.S import was a genuine novelty, often used by football traditionalists to highlight the culture clash between a country which invented the game and one which never quite grasped the point of it.

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the best represented species of soccer star have been those who are good with their hands – goalkeepers. From trailblazers like Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel to Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, the slightly unhinged union of glove-wearers can count well over 1000 English appearances between them. Outfield pioneers like John Harkes, Clint Dempsey, Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride all had admirable success in England, while plenty of others struggled to adapt tactically if not physically.

At a time when the Premier League has learned many lessons from U.S sports in how to make their 'product' an appealing spectacle, it's perhaps surprising that the number of U.S-born players is on the decrease. It's a two-way street though. The MLS is making up ground and the finances involved are doing more than attracting 35 year old Europeans with nice hair. While in the past, the best American exports had no option but to succeed or fail in Europe, they can now earn competitive salaries in an improving league on home soil.

For a game which was once seen as a cute sport for girls to finally break through into the mainstream is gratifying to those who have long appreciated the game. By the time its English counterpart reaches the half-century the MLS will be hot on its heels on year 49, and by then its heroes, villains, cool kits and crazy haircuts will have written quite a few more chapters. Soccer may have been born in the UK but it's very much here to stay in the USA.

Words by: Mark Smith of Proper Magazine