Big news broke out for the United States men’s national team: Yunus Musah has been called up to play for the country this month. The 17-year old plays for Valencia and is a steal that he is going to play for the United States. Musah was born in New York and played for Arsenal’s academy before joining Valencia in the summer of 2019. He represented England on the international squad growing up and even captained the England U-18 team.
He’s also available to play for Italy and Ghana; he brings speed, talent, and, most importantly, fits the mold for the future of the team. The average age for the team selected is 21, and fans should expect to see some fun fast-paced tactics in years to come.
After failing to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, an immediate change was needed after that embarrassing loss to Trinidad and Tobago. The team is currently changing and we are starting to see a lot of young talent being picked for matches; most importantly, the youngsters are coming from great European teams. While previous USMNT had a talent that played in Europe, our youngsters are starting and thriving for the juggernaut teams across the pond. Watching the young yanks have considerable playing time shows there is a shift in talent coming out of the States. The matches coming up are vital for the youngsters, and they need to make a good impression as the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup are soon approaching.
America’s pride in soccer is noticeably growing since the start of the century. Growing up and seeing players like Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, and Clint Dempsey at times as well as Jozy Altidore in the Premier League was momentous; now, we have talent spread out in the top leagues in England, Germany, and now in Italy and Spain.
Christian Pulisic lit a spark when he was having success at Dortmund and then got sold to Chelsea for over $70 million, absolutely smashing the previous record for an American being sold. For a while, he was our crown jewel and had to carry a lot for the international team, all while being a teenager. Carrying a country all while not even being old enough to drink is a lot, but in the past few years, the talent has sprouted, and the team has high potential.
While Pulisic is leading the brigade, the talent coming with him is stretched across the field. Some fellow breakout stars on defense include John Brooks and Sergino Dest. Brooks was the previous record holder for an American sold as he plays for Wolfsburg and Dest plays for Barcelona. Dest was in high demand last summer and was linked to many top clubs as he is a fast-technical full-back. While Barcelona is struggling at the moment, he looks to have the role of the future and is playing on the same team with great defenders like Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique. Dest also chose to play for the US instead of the Netherlands as many thought he would choose as he does not have much competition for the role there; nevertheless, we got a great steal for the USMNT as Dest will be a more talented DeAndre Yedlin.
In midfield, they are starting to get more talent in depth. Weston McKennie drew eyes when Juventus loaned him from Schalke with the option to buy at the end of the year. McKennie had a break-out year last year in the Bundesliga and is making a great start for Italy’s top team. The USMNT now has players on the same team as Messi and Ronaldo, which ten years ago only seemed like a dream along with McKennie and Musah in midfield is Tyler Adams who plays midfield for RB Leipzig.
Adams splashed onto the scene when he scored the game-winning goal against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinal. Americans having success in the Champions League, Europe’s top club tournament, will continue to grow the sport in the country.
Now in the attack, the United States seems to have more competition especially recently. Pulisc obviously will be the focal point, but Giovanni Reyna is my personal player to watch. The 17-year old plays for Borussia Dortmund, the club Pulisic played for. Reyna is getting the same hype Pulisic was getting and deservingly so. He continues to make plays for the German side and also looks elite playing alongside Erling Haland. Reyna continues to play hard and control the game whether he is scoring or setting up his teammates. A few other players to watch are Tim Weah playing for Lille and Josh Sargent as they can make an impact for the team if they play hard.
Immediate success will not come easy; the team is young and will need time to build up chemistry. The average age being 21 means mistakes will be made, and some big mistakes that might cost a game or two will come. The team has enough talent to easily make the next World Cup, and this team will have expectations to have success in Qatar.
I see this team making the quarterfinals in 2022, but the team will continue to build up momentum and should have high expectations when we host the World Cup in 2026 against Europe’s elite and South America’s flashiest. Fire me up! It’s a matter of time before America dominates both sports of football.