American Benny Feilhaber, the hero of the USA's 2007 Gold Cup victory, joined promoted English Premier League club Derby County on Thursday when he won his appeal with Britain's Home Office to get a work permit.
"We're bringing in another very good young player with excellent potential who is growing in stature with his national team," Derby County manager Billy Davies said Thursday. "I believe he is ready for the challenge of the Premier League."
The Brazilian-born Feilhaber scored the winning goal in the USA's 2-1 victory over Mexico in the Gold Cup final on a spectacular volley (video).
Feilhaber was born in Brazil before moving to the United States at the age of 6. He eventually settled in Southern California and walked on at UCLA, where he spent three seasons.
He first made a name for himself at the 2005 U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands and was signed by German club Hamburg.
Feilhaber broke into the HSV first team in 2006, making nine Bundesliga and three UEFA Champions League appearances, but he fell out of favor when Dutchman Huub Stevens took over as coach midway through a disastrous Bundesliga season.
Feilhaber is the second American to sign with Derby. John Harkes played for Derby in 1993-95.
"He'll definitely be suited to the English game," Harkes, who was an assistant coach with the 2005 U-20s and coached Feilhaber, told the Derby Telegraph. "The pace of the game and the high turnovers of possession will suit him. Benny is a very fit player and I think he'll cope well. He started off as a creative midfielder but he can also play in a defensive role."
Harkes is now a Red Bulls assistant.