The Future of the U.S. Men’s National Team – Part 1

While we missed out on the opportunity to watch the U.S. men’s national soccer team in the recent World Cup, we can watch some of the players in association football between international friendlies leading up to the CONCACAF Gold Cup next year. We are now just under eight years away from the World Cup being played again on U.S. soil, so the development of these players – and others – over the next 5-7 years will be crucial for success on the international stage.

This list is anything but unanimous (I’ve pieced it together from various sources out there), and there are some youth players out there that might break through in the meantime. That being said, many players on this list could potentially be playing on the senior team when the U.S. co-hosts that 2026 World Cup.

In part one of two, we’ll cover the defensive side of the ball with nine players that could be on the field for the USMNT over the next few years. Part two will cover the “offensive” midfield and forwards. 
Ethan HorvathClub Brugge (Belgian First Division A) – Horvath signed a four-and-a-half-year contract the Club Brugge in January 2017, and made 19 total appearances in goal for the club last year, including four matches in the Champions League. He made his senior men’s national team debut in a friendly against Cuba in October 2016, earning a clean sheet as he helped shut out the team.

Jonathan KlinsmannHertha BSC (Bundesliga (Germany)) – Klinsmann, the son of former USMNT coach Jürgen Klinsmann, signed a two year contract with Hertha in July 2017, and should remain in the Bundesliga through at least 2019. He has yet to make an appearance for Hertha in Bundesliga play, though he did appear in one match during the Europa League tournament, saving a penalty in a draw against Swedish club Östersunds FK. He has also never appeared for the US men’s senior team, but he did win the Golden Glove in the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship.

Zach SteffenColumbus Crew (Major League Soccer) – Steffen is currently the starting keeper for Columbus Crew, and has made 58 appearances for the club since arriving in 2016. Prior to that, he played for SC Freiburg of the Bundesliga, though he never made an appearance for the senior club. He’s only made three appearances for the senior national team – all in friendlies – including a shutout of Paraguay in March of this year.

John BrooksVfL Wolfsburg (Bundesliga) – Brooks, the son of an American serviceman from Chicago, was born and raised in Germany. He began his professional career with Hertha BSC, and moved to Wolfsburg on a €20M transfer, a record for an American, in 2017. He’s scored three times in 33 appearances for the USMNT, including a goal against Ghana in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Cameron Carter-VickersTottenham Hotspur (Premier League (England)) – Another foreign-born American player, Carter-Vickers is the son of an American professional basketball player that spent part of his professional career in Europe. He was born in Southend, England, and raised in Essex, and started playing football for the Tottenham Hotspur youth team in 2009 as a 12 year-old. He’s made five appearances for the USMNT at the senior level, making his first appearance in a friendly against Portugal in 2017.

Matt MiazgaFC Nantes (Ligue 1 (France)) – Miazga is on loan to FC Nantes this season from Chelsea, where he signed from the New York Red Bulls in January 2016. He made his Premier League debut with Chelsea in April 2016, starting a game against Aston Villa, but only made one more appearance for the Blues the rest of the season. Prior to the next season, he was loaned to Dutch club Vitesse for the season, a loan that was extended through the 2018 campaign. He made 55 appearances for the club, scoring 3 goals. He made his debut for the USMNT as a substitute in World Cup qualification in November 2015 and has made seven appearances for the senior team.

Shaq MooreCF Reus Deportiu (LaLiga 2 (Spain)) – Moore is playing in the second division in Spain while on loan from Levante UD, which plays in La Liga. He was born in Georgia, but moved to Spain in 2014 to begin his youth career. He has played minimally for multiple senior league clubs in Spain, but is hoping that a full-season loan to a second division club will afford him playing time this season. He has only made two appearances for the USMNT, debuting off the bench in a friendly against Ireland earlier this year.

Erik Palmer-BrownNAC Breda (Eredivisie (Netherlands)) – Palmer-Brown is looking to get some playing time this season in the Netherlands while on loan from Manchester City. Like a lot of others on this list, he hasn’t seen a lot of senior team action in Europe, so we’ll have to see if that starts to change this year and beyond. He made his debut with the USMNT in a friendly against Bolivia in May 2018, which was after he was awarded the golden Ball during the CONCACAF 2017 U-20 Championship. Looks like he’ll have a promising future with the senior men’s national team.

DeAndre YedlinNewcastle United (Premier League) – Yedlin is probably the most experienced player on this list, at least when it comes to appearances with the USMNT. He has a total of 52 appearances on the international stage, including playing in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He began his club career in MLS with the Seattle Sounders, but moved to Europe in 2014 after signing a 4-year contract with Tottenham Hotspur. After a season spent on loan to Sunderland, Yedlin moved to Newcastle United on a new five-year contract in 2016, where he seems firmly entrenched as the starting right back for the club.
Check back tomorrow for the rest of the players to keep an eye on.

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