OT- USMNT - Youth Is Served

Submitted by superstringer on May 28th, 2018 at 8:19 PM

As I write this, it's 3-0 USMNT v Bolivia in an utterly meaningless friendly. Two teams not playing in the World Cup this summer. USMNT doesn't even have a permanent coach.

But, fortunately, basically NONE of the old has-beens, weren't-that-good-anyway generation is playing right now.  They have put an entire team of up-and-comers out there.  Both 18 year olds have scored.  Pulisic at 19 is literally the leader of this team.  Oldest players on the pitch are like 25 and 27 for the US.

I can't remember a team like this for the US -- so much young, unproven talent, but, their resumes are remarkable.  Schalke, PSG, etc. etc.  One of those "...in four years...." group.  We really do have a cupboard full of 18-to-20 year olds who are poised to get in the mix, and the ceiling ought to be a lot higher than the past group of underachievers.

As long as MLS keeps their grubby paws off of most of these kids.



May 28th, 2018 at 8:31 PM ^

1. I love that they finally gave the young guys a chance.  Even thouguht they didn't really hav a choice since many of the old guard will be too old by the next World Cup 

2. No need to put down the older players, Clint Dempsey, Bradley, Howard and even Jozy have their faults, but they did put in work for the USMNT.  I put the failures of the USMNT more on bad coaching and not giving some of this younger talent, like McKennie, more opportunity, it would have injected way more energy to this team

uncle leo

May 28th, 2018 at 8:44 PM ^

Time to move on from the older players. There is no need to keep trotting Dempsey and Howard out there. They will likely not be major players in future tournaments to come, and continuing to have them take up space for the kids that need the time on the big stage is silly.

Bradley probably has a few good years, and Jozy just hasn't proven himself to be useful at the highest stages. He's had MORE than enough time to make his mark.

Sten Carlson

May 28th, 2018 at 10:39 PM ^

IMO, all the good they did for US Soccer was washed away when they couldn’t get a result against T&T — a team fielded by a nation with the population of San Diego. Maybe in a backward way their failure will be the spark that the program needed to start to compete at the highest level.


May 29th, 2018 at 12:00 AM ^

this team just wasn't very good. We've had a suspect defense for 3 cycles now that has been bailed out by world class goaltending. This cycle it caught up to us.

If Arena did say that, he's an idiot. There isn't one team in Europe who wouldn't prefer to qualify via CONCACAF. 


May 29th, 2018 at 11:58 AM ^

I put a ton of blame on Arena. Despite missing the first two matches of the qualifying cycle, he had plenty of opportunity to turn it around. The first two matches were our 2nd and 3rd most difficult matches of the cycle (Mexico home and Costa Rica away). The expectations for those two matches was 3 points max. Even if you get 0, it's not the end of the world because you should be able to get 14+ points from the remaining 8 matches. 4-2-2 was all that was needed in those remaining 8, which equals holding serve at home and getting 2 points on the road. Instead, he went 3-3-2. Arena ruined his legacy for me. I didn't really care for his personality, but he took us farther in the WC than we'd ever been so he was still a legend (on top of being most successful MLS coach ever). Should have just stayed away. His refusal to accept blame afterward was typical too. Fuck him. Hope we go with someone interesting and not an asshole with our next hire. 

E.L. blue fan

May 28th, 2018 at 9:09 PM ^

While it is certainly true that we want our best young players competing in the top leagues in Europe, we should actually give a lot of credit to MLS. Most MLS teams have invested a ton into their academies over the past 7-8 years and we are really starting to see the fruits of that.

Take Weston McKennie for example, he is a 19 year old playing in Germany and is definitely one of the brightest prospects for US soccer. Before that though he played in FC Dallas' academy system from the time he was 10 until he was 17. I think the development of MLS academies and the continued investment by MLS teams in having USL/youth clubs is going to be a major key for US soccer going forward.  


May 29th, 2018 at 11:50 AM ^

MLS doesn't make it easy to move players though. It's an annoying system and alot of clubs overseas just say forget about it because the league is obnoxious to deal with or the asking price is too high. Players either need to move when they turn 18, before they sign a pro contract with MLS or they are stuck with MLS for a while. The league is just not good enough for players to develop to their potential. Jermaine Jones was right in his criticisms. Players only need to be in MLS for the beginning of their career and the end when they're looking for one last payday. But from early 20s to late 20s, they should be in Europe if we want our national team to reach greater heights. 

BTB grad

May 28th, 2018 at 9:24 PM ^

Absolutely love that these players are playing in Europe right now. It never made sense to me why some of the old guard like Bruce Arena preferred that US players play in the MLS. It makes zero sense. It'd be like if European nations tried dissuading their basketball or hockey players from playing in the NBA or NHL. You must compete against the world's elite to become elite.


May 28th, 2018 at 9:37 PM ^

then the past group of underacheivres.

Are you expecting this next group to win the World Cup, make the Finals, make the semi's?  While 2018 is a definite disappintment in 2014 and 2010 the USA made it out of the group stage.  I'm not saying that should be the height of our expectations but making it out of the group stage isn't exactly chopped liver.  As someone mentioned above, the developmental system with the MLS teams has really changed how the youth in this country develop when it comes to soccer.  When the MLS started these acadamies they weren't going to be turning 16 and 17 year olds into world class players.  It was going to take boys going through these systems for most of their youth playing days before we as fans started to see the results.  As you mention with the the young players starting to play overseas, we are beginning to see the results.


May 28th, 2018 at 10:21 PM ^

Really hard to the point of absurdity to worry about expectations beyond qualifying for the WC. Several strong teams lose in the group stages every world cup, and there's never any shame losing in the round of 16 to a Brazil/Germany type team.


May 28th, 2018 at 11:50 PM ^

Papa Weah must be proud today :)
Still, how strange is it that you're the actual president of a country, and your kids play for a different country?


May 29th, 2018 at 9:42 AM ^

It was nice for all these kids to get an opportunity, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. They looked like an under 20 squad most of the game. A lot of potential there, but the goal this cycle is to just qualify....and we will need veterans to help navigate the path. Eight years should be the cycle where finishing first in CONCACAF and advancing to the knock out stage is the goal.

I got to say..Keaton Parks was impressive last night. Positioning needs some help, but he is highly technical on the ball. A guy like that who can demand the ball in the middle of the pitch and be comfortable with it at his feet, will help this team immensely. Hope he sees more 1st team opportunities at Benfica.