Monday Musings – U.S. Men’s National Team Youth Development

US Men’s National Team Youth Development If you’ve followed us for a while you know that one of the topics we write about frequently involves the US National team(s). One of the concerns I have written about before is the American National Team’s reliance on dual nationality players. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to … Read moreMonday Musings – U.S. Men’s National Team Youth Development

The Future of the U.S. Men’s National Team – Part 3

Note: This is Part 3 of a look at the potential future of the U.S. Men’s National Team. In August, I took a guess (Part 1 & Part 2) at who might be the future of the U.S. Men’s National Team. During the international break last week, they actually fielded a team, and while some of the players I profiled in August made the cut – DeAndre Yedlin and Tim Weah were perhaps the biggest names – there were 13! players that made the club that played friendlies against Brazil and Mexico earlier this week. This is a quick look at why I might have missed those 13 players and where they are currently playing professional football.

Goalkeeper
Alex BonoToronto FC (Major League Soccer (USA)) – Bono was actually the fourth keeper on my list before I pared it down to three, so it was nice to see him on the roster for this week’s friendlies. He has been the first team goalkeeper for Toronto FC for the bulk of this season, with 26 total appearances in net for the club, where he has a total of 5 clean sheets. He did make an appearance this week in either game, and only has one senior club appearance with the USMNT, a 3-0 clean sheet in a friendly against Bolivia in May of this year.

Defenders
Eric LichajHull City (Championship (England)) – I did not include Lichaj in my initial list because he was a bit older (29) than all the other players and I was trying to keep my list to players that may be with the club when the United States hosts the World Cup in 2026. He started his professional career in England with Aston Villa, making 32 appearances – and scoring 1 goal – between 2007 and 2013. He moved to Nottingham Forrest in 2013, where he played much more regularly, leading to his current contract with Hull City, where he has been in the starting line up in all six matches this season. He has 16 total caps with the USMNT and looks to have finally made the rotation after some other players aged out. How long his tenure lasts remains to be seen.

Aaron LongNew York Red Bulls (MLS) – Aaron Long made his senior debut with New York Red Bulls in August 2016, and has appeared in 59 matches since, scoring 3 goals. And while he made the roster for these recent USMNT friendlies, he did not get on the pitch, leaving him without and international appearances.

Tim Parker – New York Red Bulls (MLS) – Parker also made the roster this week, but stayed on the bench for both matches. He does, however, have two previous appearances with the USMNT, making his debut against Ireland on June 2, 2018. He’s started his MLS career with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015 – after four collegiate seasons at St. John’s University – and was traded to the Red Bulls prior to the beginning of the MLS season. He’s made 28 total appearances for the Red Bulls this season.

Read moreThe Future of the U.S. Men’s National Team – Part 3

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.

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

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. 

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