Pulisic, McKennie, and Adams Forge Path for Future USMNT Generations
It’s now crystal clear that we are at a turning point in the presence of American players in international soccer. With the rise of young American talent getting opportunities to take the plunge and play in Europe, American soccer seems to be taking the initial steps to becoming a global powerhouse.
Christian Pulisic, debatably the most successful American soccer player ever, recently spoke of other footballing giants fearing the United States.
"I want them to think of [us] as a real world force, a team that has a chance against anyone in the world," Pulisic announced ahead of USMNT March friendlies.
"I don't want them to just see them as, 'Oh, it's just the U.S.' I want them to fear [us] like a big team. That's our goal. We want to be respected around the world. We're going to continue to work at that.”
Pulisic’s vision yields a unified squad, one in which each player competes at the elite levels of soccer. While that certainly does not exist today, with Pulisic, Adams, and McKennie becoming key fixtures on their respective teams in the Bundesliga, have they paved the path for more stars to develop?
We certainly think so. There’s been a remarkable uptick of 17, 18, and 19-year-old American players being plucked from domestic youth academies, MLS teams and even collegiate teams. With the incredible success of the Bundesliga trio, surely, some hopefuls will see a major opportunity to do the same.
They must believe that It’s not only possible to play in the top European leagues — Americans can become mainstays in match day squads for some of the best teams in the world.
Of course this dream won’t happen overnight. There should be more US-based players moving to Europe earlier, and likely there will be more mediocre “fails” than there will be superstars. At the moment, only the best of the best American youth players are picked up by big European clubs, but that small percentage will be getting bigger in the future as top foreign clubs begin to focus their scouting in the US.
Take Bavarian giants Bayern Munich as an example. Already acquiring RSL Academy product Taylor Booth and FC Dallas player Chris Richards, Munich took a step further in establishing a professional partnership with FC Dallas. What sets this relationship apart from the other MLS/European partnerships is that it seems more organic and focused on developing youth by exposing them early to German training methods and facilities. Given its initial success, we anticipate that more European clubs will follow this model going forward, increasing the exposure and development of American players.
There’s a pipeline under construction for American talent to make their way to Europe. With the likes of Richy Ledezma, Alex Mendez, Uly Llanez, Chris Richards, Erik Palmer-Brown, and Sebastian Soto ready to burst onto the scene in Europe, surely the best of U.S. Soccer is yet to come.