USMNT: Powered By Youth


Imagine this:
You are a huge soccer fan (as I know you are) and are treating yourself to a live soccer match on this fine night, the tenth of October, the Year of Our Lord 2017.

However, this is not just any soccer match; this is the deciding match in the fifth round of the World Cup Qualifiers. Your United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) simply needs to achieve a draw against lowly Trinidad and Tobago to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Now, let us skip 90 match minutes later, to the end of the game, with the final score set in stone at 2-1. You have just witnessed a shocking display. Your United States Men’s National Team
just lost to Trinidad and Tobago, who were able to defeat the US with only two goals. The first, in the seventeenth minute, was an own goal by US center back Omar Gonzalez; the second was scored by 23-year old Alvin Jones.

To put Jones’ game-winning goal in perspective, let us take a look at his career. He is a right back from Trinidad and Tobago who has had 33 appearances for his national team. Alvin has made only 22 total appearances on the professional level, all of which have been for a team in the USL, the second division of American soccer.

He has scored one other goal, ever, in his entire career.

The lone US goal, scored by American wonderboy Christian Pulisic, was too little, too late.

You think to yourself: How did we lose? How did it come to this, what brought us here? Most importantly, what is next?

Well, let’s find out!

For your sake, we will pass over the mishaps of yesteryear and focus on the brighter future. Let us flash forward to today.

Young US players across Europe make headlines for their impressive performances on their club teams. Pulisic, still winger-ing over in Chelsea, is no longer alone in his status as an exciting American prospect. The impressive list now includes:

  • Tyler Adams (Midfielder) – RB Leipzig
  • Giovanni Reyna (Midfielder) – Borussia Dortmund
  • Weston McKennie (Midfielder) – Juventus
  • Sergiño Dest (Defender) – Barcelona
  • Josh Sargent (Forward) – Werder Bremen
  • Zack Steffen (Goalkeeper) – Manchester City
  • Antonee Robinson (Defender) – Fulham
  • Timothy Weah (Forward) – Lille OSC
  • Brenden Aaronson (Midfielder) – RB Salzburg
As mentioned, Borussia Dortmund’s attacking midfielder, Gio Reyna.

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter will now attempt to lead his team on a strong run to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The pressure is on, and he has recognized the strength of the team: “We’ve
never had this much talent before.” Berhalter has been open about his excitement for the future World Cups in both 2022 and 2026, which the US will be co-hosting with Mexico and Canada.

This next generation of young talent, paired with trusty veterans, like striker Jozy Altidore and center back Josh Brooks, could be the perfect recipe for success. The men’s national team also has the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics, something that they have not accomplished since 2008. On the other hand, failure to achieve expectations would leave Coach Berhalter in deep trouble and would leave American soccer fans devastated at another lost opportunity.

Often left in the shadow of the US Women’s National Team’s expansive glory (four Women’s World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals, and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups), the men’s team will hope to gain some quick results in their busy 2021 campaign and ride that momentum into 2022 and beyond.