The feel good factor that surrounds the USMNT is set to continue in the coming years with a number of key players coming through the ranks. With more and more stars reaching the top levels of Europe’s leagues not to mention the growing popularity of the domestic MLS league, the USA is fast becoming a soccer nation to contend with on a regular basis.
The performances of 2010 and 2014 with the last 16 reached on both occasions has added consistency to the repertoire and the focus now for Jurgen Klinsmann and his team will be to build on this in the next four years before 2018 in Russia.
Key to that will be the emergence of new players, players getting top level experience. With that in mind, Trev Keane picks five stars that USMNT fans will be keeping an eye out for in the coming years.
The versatile Liverpool star has endured a terrible run with injury, missing 14 months of action due to a leg break suffered in February 2013. The player is highly rated in the corridors of Liverpool and captained the USA team at the U17 World Cup in 2011 prior to his move to Anfield. During his time at Anfield he has played left back, left wing and in the centre of midfield and while it remains to be seen where his best position is there is no doubt as to the talent he possesses.
It is no surprise to see the Bayern Munich winger on this list. The USA scored five goals in Brazil with Green scoring their last one in the 2-1 loss to Belgium in the knock out stages. The 19-year-old was born in Florida however he has spent most of his life in Germany, joining the youth ranks of the Bavarian giants in 2010. He has since progressed through the ranks, featuring for the Bayern second team last year. His rise in prominence over the last few months should see his move into the first team reckoning this season, he is poised to feature in pre-season, and by the time Russia 2013 comes around the then 23-year-old should be a key man for his country.
The Irish born defender almost made the U.S. team for the World Cup but has yet to win full international honours. The Colorado Rapids star played for the U.S. in the U20 World cup in 2013 and has been a regular in the Rapids first team since making his break-through in 2012. His performances may have caught the eye of Jurgen Klinsmann but they have come to the attention of Irish boss Martin O’Neill with the player and he could turn out for the country of his birth.
The Vitesse Arnhem trainee has caught the eye of both the Dutch and U.S. youth coaches. The striker, from Florida, made the decision to move to Holland, the country of birth of his mother and has flourished receiving a call from their U16 national team. His dual citizenship means that the U.S. could still miss out but with the feeling of “excitement” he expressed at finally a call from the U.S. underage team means that may not be issue. Koreniuk scored four goals for the under-16 squad and 11 more for the under-17 team. Already 6 foot, if he continues to develop at the rate he has currently experienced he will be huge talent.
The Fiorentina starlet has football in his blood. He is the nephew of former U.S. World Cup player Hugo Perez. The attacking midfielder is widely regarded as a top talent and was on the development books of Chivas USA before opting to move to Italy where he believes his style of play will thrive. “I got interested in the Italian League because I love that style of play,” Perez told USA Soccer in August 2013. “It just came naturally to me. I was attracted to that style of football. That’s my kind of style, and I love the pressure that comes with that. You have to think fast.”
Another worth keeping an eye out for is Christian Pulisic. The young winger has recently moved to Borussia Dortmund in Germany where he will play for their development team. A USA U-17 International the youngster was named Most Valuable Player at the Nike International Friendlies last December.