Stephen Leroy Appiah (/ˈæpiɑː/ AP-ee-ah; born 24 December 1980) is a Ghanaian former professional footballer who played as a midfielder. Appiah was a member of the Ghana national team, which he has represented at the youth, Olympic, and senior levels. He captained Ghana at their World Cup debut in 2006 and at the 2010 World Cup.
Appiah began his career at local club Hearts of Oak in 1995, at 15 years of age. In 1996, he had trials with Galatasaray’s youth squad but was not signed and he returned to Hearts of Oak.
In 1997, he moved abroad to join Italian Serie A side Udinese, where he initially played as a striker. He spent three seasons with the club, later changing positions during his time there, moving to a deeper midfield position. A transfer to Parma in 1999 was jeopardised by viral hepatitis,but Appiah overcame the illness to move there in the summer of 2000. After two seasons at Parma, Appiah went on loan to Brescia for the 2002–03 season. Appiah became a first-team regular for the Lombardians, and scored seven times in 31 games.