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Introducing your All-Presidential XI

In honor of Tottenham’s James Maddison, America’s Fourth President

Olympics Day 13 - Women’s Football Final - Match 26 - USA v Japan Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur have a new signing — James Maddison! Not only is he a hugely talented player and a big piece of Ange Postecoglou’s tactical system at Spurs, if you remove one “d” from his name he’s also America’s fourth president.

I’ve made that joke a lot on here already, and because this is Carty Free I took it several steps further. Because if Spurs can have one former president on its team, why not try and field a whole team full of presidents?

I had to expand past just Tottenham and into all of world football for this. I also... let’s just say I was a little loose on the rules here, and I also didn’t include Maddison just because. But isn’t that what articles like this are for? This is supposed to be fun. Let’s have some fun.

Note: Carty Free has a long-standing rule about banning electoral politics discussion in the comments. I know this post slides right up to that line, but I also know this community knows how to differentiate a fun article about presidents’ names from actual political discourse. Let’s talk about presidents sharing names with professional footballers. Let’s not get into the discourse weeds, and yes you DO know what I’m talking about.

The All-Presidential XI


GK: Mick Van Buren
DF: Micah Lincoln Richards, George Taft, Ki-Jana Delano Hoever
MF: Nixon, Lincoln, Jack Harrison, Dwight McNeil, Brennan Johnson
FW: Jackson Martinez, Callum Wilson, Grant Holt, Matty Taylor, Arthur, Dwight Gayle, Brennan Johnson

Special mention: Brazilian futsal star Franklin Roosevelt Buerres


  • This is not the BEST Presidential XI, just a fun one that leverages some names and players in at least nominally proper positions. Have fun arguing over which bench player deserves to start more, but that’s not really my primary focus.
  • I had to get George Weah in there, simply because he’s the only professional footballer that I know of that went on to become an actual president.
  • Today I learned that Cristiano Ronaldo was literally named for Ronald Reagan. I had no idea!
  • There are so many forwards that share surnames or first names with American presidents, it’s wild. Relatively few midfielders and even fewer defenders. I wonder why that is?
  • I don’t know much about Brazilian midfielders Nixon and Lincoln, but am I surprised there are Brazilian footballers named Nixon and Lincoln? No, no I am not.
  • The All-Presidential defense has an obvious weak link. Dan Harding had a long career in football, but in the lower divisions of English football, ending his career at Whitehawk in 2017. Kadeisha Buchanan, meanwhile, is a regular starter in the back line for Chelsea Women.
  • Ki-Jana Hoever was a Slack suggestion from a former writer. We joked about adding “Herbert” as a nickname, but Delano (as in Franklin Delano Roosevelt) is his middle name and I think that’s close enough.