Carlos Bocanegra and Landon Donovan during the 2010 World Cup
USA Today Sports

What if we made "state-by-state" teams? California and Texas would dominate

They’ll never play in an official, FIFA-sanctioned competition, but it is kind of cool to see that former Montreal Impact man Patrick Leduc is heading up the “Quebec national team” in a tournament in Marseille, France.

That got us thinking (and granted, we’re not the first to go here): What if we were to field “all-state” teams? Everyone always talks about how dominant California and New Jersey are in producing players. So what if we went through all active American players and tried to fill out a starting XI from each state?

Well, we tried. And succeeded – in most places. This fun exercise is harder than it looks. We held to some basic ground rules, such as only active players were taken into account. And we omitted guys who play for other national teams. (Sorry, Giuseppe Rossi and Vedad Ibisevic.)

Finally, we aligned players with the states where they spent their formative years, not where they were born. So in other words, Jozy Altidore landed with Florida – where he grew up – instead of his native New Jersey. (There are couple of exceptions below, which are explained.)

But end result, we couldn’t craft an entire XI for every state – not even for you, Jersey. We did come close, though. So without further ado, here are the starting lineups for the states we could fill out…


Luis Robles; Brad Evans, Brandon McDonald, Justin Davis, Rob Valentino; Pablo Mastroeni, Danny Cruz, Tony Cascio, Nick DeLeon; Robbie Findley, Alan Gordon

We had to dip into the lower-divisions for this one, but we got there. Not a bad attack in the Grand Canyon State.


Nick Rimando; Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce; Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Robbie Rogers, Joe Corona; Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski

Are you kidding me? This team could compete at the World Cup, not just some fantasy tournament. And Cali is so deep, we could even field a full “B” lineup: Dan Kennedy; Steven Beitashour, A.J. Soares, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jonathan Bornstein; Amobi Okugo, Michael Farfan; Luis Gil, Benny Feilhaber; Chris Pontius, Jose Villarreal.

READ: ESPN's Twellman says Bocanegra is coming back to MLS


Zac MacMath; Anthony Wallace, Bobby Boswell, Nathan Sturgis, Jeremy Hall; Bryan Arguez, Dax McCarty, Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya; Eddie Johnson, Jozy Altidore

That backline may be a little thin, especially with Boswell as the only natural center back. That’s why we’ve got an empty bucket midfield with McCarty and Arguez to clean up. But how many goals is this team going to score? Yikes.


Brad Guzan; Jonathan Spector, Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Schuler, Eric Lichaj; Jermaine Jones, Ned Grabavoy, Ryan Miller, Michael Stephens; Victor Pineda, Mike Magee

I know, Jones was born and raised in Frankfurt. But he says himself that a big part of him is American, and he lived in Chicago for a time as ein kleiner junge. And if any state were to claim him, it’s Illinois.


Troy Perkins; Kofi Sarkodie, Austin Berry, Eric Brunner, Justin Morrow; Danny O’Rourke, Ben Zemanski, Wil Trapp, Darlington Nagbe; Chris Rolfe, Matt Taylor

OK, we cheated a bit on Nagbe, who is technically a Liberian national. But he grew up in Cleveland, played college ball at Akron, is married to an American and carries a green card. Close enough for us. And with a dearth of true striking talent on this team, Ohio needs him.


Bill Gaudette; Chris Albright, Jeff Parke, David Horst, Greg Cochrane; Jeff Larentowicz, Zarek Valentin, Bobby Warshaw, Bobby Convey; Andrew Wenger, Marcus Tracy

Journeyman Gaudette’s not active, but not technically retired either. But the rest of this side is blue-collar and hard-working, just like the Keystone State.


Tyler Deric; Drew Moor, Omar Gonzalez, Zak Whitbread, Greg Garza; Davy Arnaud, Stuart Holden, Jose Torres, Brek Shea; Clint Dempsey, Kenny Cooper

Roping in Houston-born Whitbread works for us, and pushes Moor out right for extra depth. And look at the swagger in that attack. I wouldn’t mess.

READ: Dempsey kicks some bass in East Texas — here are the photos

These almost went to 11….

Colorado: Nat Borchers, Bobby Burling, Shane O’Neill, Stephen Keel, Todd Dunivant, James Riley, Jeb Brovsky, Brian Mullan, Collen Warner, Colin Clark, Conor Casey

Georgia: Sean Johnson, Tyler Ruthven, Alex Caskey, Steven Kinney, Ricardo Clark, Warren Creavalle, Jack McInerney, Blake Brettschneider

Missouri: Matt Pickens; Tommy Meyer, Tim Ream, Brandon Barklage, Jack Jewsbury, Cole Grossman, Brad Davis, Will Bruin, Tommy Heinemann

New Jersey: Tim Howard, Jason Hernandez, Connor Lade, Michael Bradley, Nick LaBrocca, Dilly Duka, Eddie Gaven, Juan Agudelo, Antoine Hoppenot

Virginia: Bill Hamid, Clarence Goodson, Corey Ashe, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud, Erik Hurtado, Conor Shanosky, C.J. Sapong

What do you think? Did we miss anyone? Got your own All-State XIs?

Jonah Freedman is the managing editor of