Comment: Crossing Over

Last updated : 02 January 2003 By Matty McGrath
After recently learning that the Blues will soon be saying farewell to American import Joe-Max Moore (sob sob), it was thought in keeping up the tradition of an international flavoured article, that an investigation into former Everton players whom have trounced the hallowed turfs of Joe-Max’s home land, may well be worthy of note.

Interestingly enough it was quite a surprise to find that some very well known former Everton footballers have exhibited they’re wares in the good ole USA. . Jimmy Gabriel, Alan Ball, Brian Kidd, Peter Beardsley, Maurice Johnstone & Richard Gough at some stage of their careers all wore the treasured Blue of Everton and helped contribute to the growth of the world game north of the equator in the Americas.

Jimmy Gabriel was an early pioneer, playing 5 seasons from 1974 for the Seattle Saunders. Jimmy was also bestowed the honour of scoring the first goal in Seattle’s 58,000 capacity Kingdome stadium. After hanging up his boots in 1979 the Wiley Scotsman then became head coach of the Washington outfit.
Another player from the great Everton teams of the late 60’s and early 70’s to flaunt his skills in the USA was Alan Ball. Alan spent 3 seasons in the states from 1978 playing both for the Philadelphia Fury and Vancouver Whitecaps.
Brian Kidd, more recently recognised for his work as Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United, is another to have worn both the blue of Everton and have played in the states. Kiddie in a four-year stint played for The Atlanta Chiefs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Minnesota Strikers. Brian was also selected in an all-star team upon the completion of his first season with Atlanta. More recent blues to have roamed the USA include Peter Beardsley, Mo Johnstone and Richard Gough. Beardsley and Gough both had played football in the USA prior to playing for Everton.

As has been well documented after a spell with Carlisle United, Peter Beardsley spent three seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps before being signed by Newcastle United. This sparked an outstanding career at both domestic and international level for many years to come (including Everton). Mo Johnstone the controversial Scotsman whom had played for various British and European sides, Everton included ended up winding down his career with the Kansas City Wizards. Maurice Won the MLS league title in 2000 and was reportedly drawn out of retirement and was still playing for the wizards as late as 2001.
Richard Gough was another, whom during his colourful career, played for both Everton and American clubs the Kansas City Wizards and San Jose Clash. Gough had left Glasgow Rangers for the Wizards in 1996 yet returned after a season and a half to answer Walter Smiths (remember him?) cries for help to sure up a leaky Rangers defence. The following season Richard returned from Rangers to the MLS to play for San Jose. As history would have it Walter Smith would later become Everton Manager and Richard, once again returning from the United States via Nottingham Forest, would become a prominent Everton player. Richard it is believed, whilst finally retired from football, is once again residing in the United States of America.

This compilation of former Everton footballers to have played in the USA is no doubt incomplete. Records between the mid 80’s and 90’s are somewhat vague. With the failure and shutdown of the NASL to the formation of the MLS Pro league, football seemed to go missing during this period in the north of America. However any information or views from you the reader is always greatly appreciated by matty oz. Any contributions or feedback is welcomed by this avid football and Everton history buff so please feel free to get in touch.

Alan Ball

Philadelphia Fury:

1978-79      34 Appearances


Vancouver whitecaps

1979-80      38 Appearances




Jimmy Gabriel

Seattle Saunders

1974-79      54 Appearances



(Gabriel Became manager upon retirement of the Seattle Saunders)

Brian Kidd

Atlanta chiefs

1981           28 Appearances


Ft Lauderdale strikers

1982-83      51 Appearances


Minnesota strikers

1984           13 Appearances




Peter Beardsley

Vancouver whitecaps

1981-83      81 Appearances




Mo Johnstone

Kansas City wizards

1996-01    113 Appearances




Richard Gough

Kansas City wizards

1996-98      28 Appearances


San Jose Clash

1998-99      21 Appearances