The Future of the U.S. Men’s National Team – Part 2

Note: This is Part 2 of a look at the potential future of the U.S. Men’s National Team. Yesterday, I took a look at the defensive side of the pitch. Today, it’s the offense. The positions listed below is where they are currently categorized by US Soccer, but some midfielders are perfectly capable of playing defense or forward and vice versa.

Midfielders
Kellyn AcostaColorado Rapids (Major League Soccer (United States)) – Acosta has been playing in MLS since shortly after his 18th birthday in 2013. Born in Texas, he started as a homegrown player with FC Dallas, making 117 appearances for the senior club from 2013-2018, scoring nine goals. He recently moved to the Rapids and has had a quick start there, scoring twice in his two games with the club. On the international side, he was on the U.S. squad for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a tournament that the U.S. won, and has made a total of 17 appearances with the USMNT.

Tyler AdamsNew York Red Bulls (MLS) – Adams is only 19, and joined the Red Bulls Academy at the age of 12, playing with the club’s youth teams before signing his first professional contract at the age of 16. He debuted with the Red Bulls in a friendly against Chelsea, scoring a goal in a game the Red Bulls went on to win. He is now a regular starter for the club. He made his international debut with the USMNT in a friendly against Portugal in 2017, and has made a total of six appearances with the club.

Paul ArriolaD.C. United (MLS) – Arriola began his professional career with Tijuana of Liga MX (Mexico), opting to play 18 miles away from his hometown of San Diego instead of taking an opportunity with the LA Galaxy. He made the most of his time there, playing in 83 matches and scoring four times. He garnered the attention of D.C. United, where he signed a contract in August 2017 and where he remains. He made his international debut with USMNT in a friendly against Puerto Rico in 2016, notching a goal and an assist in a win. He has made a total of 16 appearances for the national team.
Emerson HyndmanHibernian FC (Scottish Premiership) – Hyndman began his professional career with Fulham (then in the Championship) in 2014, where he made 25 appearances over the course of two seasons. At the beginning of the 2016 season, he signed a four-year deal with AFC Bournemouth, where he played in on match before going on loan to Scottish team Rangers for the remainder of the season. He made his Premier League debut with Bournemouth at the end of last season, and was loaned out to Hibernian until January 2019 in order to get some playing time. He has made two appearances for the USMNT since his debut in September 2014, so it will be interesting to see if he remains in the mix for future caps.

Weston McKennieSchalke 04 (Bundesliga (Germany)) – McKennie was born in Texas, but rejected the chance to sign with FC Dallas, opting to take his talents to Germany, where he has played for Schalke 04 since May 2017. Last season, he scored three goals in 22 league appearances. He also has four appearances with the USMNT since his debut in a friendly with Portugal, a match that started many players’ international careers.

Keaton ParksSL Benfica (Primeira Liga (Portugal)) – Parks was playing in a tournament in Portugal in 2015 and was scouted and signed by Portuguese second-division club Varzim. After playing for their reserve side for a season, he made his LigaPro debut in 2016. He moved up a division with Benfica, debuting with the senior club in November 2017. He is signed with Benfica through 2022. He’s played in one friendly with the USMNT, but he’s on a lot of shortlists to start seeing regular action going forward.

Christian PulisicBorussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) – Pulisic is probably the most well-known player for the USMNT, and has been the “future” of U.S. soccer since he was the youngest person to ever score in a World Cup qualifier for the U.S. He scored in each of the final two qualification matches leading up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and the USMNT wasted his first opportunity for a true world stage by failing to qualify for the tournament.
Pulisic was signed by Borussia Dortmund as a 16-year-old in February 2015, and he spent most of that calendar year with the youth teams. He made his first team debut in a friendly against Union Berlin, scoring one goal and assisting on another while playing the entire match. It wasn’t long until he was starting regularly for the senior club in both Bundesliga play and European competitions. He was a target during the recent transfer window for a couple of teams in the Premier League, but it looks like he will be spending at least one more season in Germany, if not longer (he’s signed through 2020).

Nick TaitagueSchalke 04 II (Bundesliga) – Taitague probably made this list more for his promise on the various youth teams for the U.S., especially since he has yet to make his debut for a “senior” team in either league or international play. He was teammates with Weston McKennie on Schalke’s U19 team, and hopes that a strong season on Schalke’s youth team this season could lead to some appearances for the senior club alongside his countryman. While playing for the U.S. U18 team, he did score eight goals in 11 appearances, so he does have some international experience, but he might be more of a prospect for post-2022 World Cup teams.

Timothy Weah – Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1 (France)) – Weah is the son of ex-footballer and current President of Libera George Weah, but was born in the U.S. and thus represents the U.S. in international competition. He joined Paris-Saint Germain, a club that his father had played for in the 1990s, making his first-team debut on March 3, 2018. On the international side, he was the first person born in the 2000s to earn a cap for the United States when he came on as a sub in a friendly against Paraguay in March 2018. He scored his first international goal – in his first international start, and becoming the fourth-youngest American to score an international goal – in a friendly against Bolivia, not long after he had made his PSG debut.

Forwards
Jordan MorrisSeattle Sounders (MLS) – Morris is from Mercer Island, Washington, and played for the Seattle Sounders youth team for a year before heading off to Stanford for a couple of seasons. He’s been a mainstay on the Seattle Sounders ever since, with 60 appearances (and 17 goals) since his MLS debut in March 2016, though he has missed most of this season with a torn ACL. He made his international debut against while in college, the first U.S. player to have that distinction in nearly 15 years. He also scored the winning goal for the U.S. in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. Hopefully, he will be able to overcome his injury and be a leader on future USMNT clubs.

Josh SargentSV Werder Bremen (Bundesliga) – Sargent just barely turned 18 in February, so his professional career has thus far been pretty limited. He trained with various clubs prior to his birthday, including Sporting KC of MLS and PSV Eindhoven, but ultimately signed a contract with Walder Bremen. He played on their youth club last season, and will be eligible for the first team this season, and he’s already made quite an impression, scoring Walder Bremen’s lone goal in a preseason draw. His international experience is equally as limited, though he has made three appearances for the senior USMNT, including being the fifth-youngest player (right behind Timothy Weah, who scored later in the same game) to score an international goal for the U.S.

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