Born in Rio de Janeiro, this exceptionally creative midfielder of Austrian-Jewish ancestry, arrived at organised collegiate football in the USA in a most unusual way. Enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, but not recruited to play soccer, Benny Feilhaber was, quite by chance, noticed kicking a ball around the campus and invited to try out for the team. He made the grade and became a standout member of the squad and USA's youth national team.
After an outstanding overall performance for USA at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands in 2005, Bundesliga outfit Hamburg came calling and signed the 20-year-old. After spending time with the reserves, Feilhaber made his first-team debut in 2006 and moved on to an unhappy stretch at Derby County, then of the English Premier League, in 2007 before settling in Denmark with AGF after Derby's relegation.
An elegant playmaking midfielder, Feilhaber, who has suffered from niggling injuries and lack of form of late, is often the odd man out in a USA national team that likes to leave the creative tasks to Landon Donovan. However, the 24-year-old has picked up 31 caps since making his debut in 2007. He has even scored two goals, the most important by far the long-range winner against Mexico in the final of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He also lined up for the Americans when they went to the final of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.