With the growth of soccer in the United States, it only makes sense that more United States Men National Team players are going to be picked up by European sides big and small. While in previous years, only high profile athletes like Clint Dempsey or Tim Howard could be found overseas, things have changed.
Between Deandre Yedlin, Matt Miazga, Gedion Zelalem, Bobby Wood and more, it is clear that far more teams are keen on developing American players, as opposed to just claiming finished results.
But that doesn’t mean it is going to be smooth sailing for everyone. Just most.
Deandre Yedlin, 22, is on loan from Tottenham at Sunderland and he has been a solid contributor to everything that happens on the right side of the pitch. While regular appearances haven’t been easy to come by, he has made the most of what has been given to him, averaging over two tackles per game.
Gedion Zelalem, 19, made headlines when he declared himself for the United States despite having the option of choosing world heavyweight Germany as well. While his viability at home club Arsenal has been up for question thanks to his smaller size, he helped Scottish side Rangers to gain promotion by what continues to turn into a larger margin.
In the process, he reportedly convinced Arsene Wenger to give him a first-team shot this summer.
Bobby Wood has been tearing up the headlines lately, as he has become the highest scoring United States’ soccer player to ever play a season in Germany. Despite playing in the second tier of German soccer, his brace, for his 15th and 16th goal, broke Conor Casey’s previous record of 14 goals.
But then again, it’s not all good. Matt Miazga’s baptism by fire didn’t go according to plan. But then again, such baptism’s rarely do. After looking decent enough in his debut for Chelsea the previous week, Miazga was given the start. Several botched clearances (one leading to a goal) and a yellow card led to a premature exit at half.
Chelsea lost 1-0. It’s early for Miazga. he has enough ability to learn from the heightened competition and adjust to it.
The United States Men National Team has moved up the world rankings into a tie for 29th with the Czech Republic. Which, while it is nowhere near the No. 8 spot they held in 2005 (or No. 14 in 2013), it is still one step in the right direction.
The future is bright, and these are four guys that have a large part to play in that future. Despite the USMNT’s U23 side not qualifying for the Olympics, there is still so much hope from guys on the home front as well. There is a lot to look forward to. The increased presence on the global stage is just another piece of that excitement.