The U.S. Men’s National Team has always been about young talent. Players like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Michael Bradley all got their starts at a very young age. Current manger Jurgen Klinsmann maintains the philosophy that the youth are the future and is a firm believer in giving youngsters their shot. While these experiments don’t always yield immediate results, with time, players adapt to the rigors of international soccer and can become legends.
With the U.S. currently doing well in the 2015 Gold Cup, we decided to take a look at the 10 rising U-23 American stars that will be doing great things for the national team in a few years time.
DeAndre Yedlin (22):
Yedlin has almost overnight become one of the hottest American youngsters in the game. He earned his first senior call up to the U.S. National Team in early 2014 and was on the final squad that went to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, where he contributed in multiple games. Yedlin is currently contracted with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League and has 19 caps with the USMNT to his name.
John Brooks (22):
Although the center back was born in Germany, his American serviceman father allowed him to play for the U.S. National Team instead of the country of his birth. He made his senior debut in 2013 and was named to the 2014 World Cup squad, where he scored the winning goal in his first substitute appearance in the opening game. He now has 14 caps and 2 goals to his name. At such a young age and having experience playing in Germany with Hertha BSC, Brooks has a bright future of the U.S.
Julian Green (20):
Green’s showing in the 2014 World Cup announced to the entire world that he was a prospect worth paying attention to. After cutting ties with his German nationality for the U.S., the youngster was brought on in the 105th minute against Belgium in the round of 16 and scored with a brilliant volley making him the youngest player in U.S. history to score in a World Cup. His performances caught the eye of German giants Bayern Munich, where his is currently contracted. Green has 5 caps and 1 goal to his name for the national team.
Bobby Wood (22):
Bobby Wood was a largely unknown American national team player until very recently, but he has taken his chances well and announced himself in the best way possible on the international stage. Wood was called up for friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany recently and the Hawaiian scored the game winning goals in both fixtures. His lively performances for the national team have some saying he could be the future striker to take over the team. With 8 caps and 2 goals to his name, the future looks bright for the young American.
Emerson Hyndman (19):
Hyndman is on the younger side, but what he doesn’t have in experience, he makes up for in technical ability. His U.S. U-20 national team manager, Tab Ramos, said that “Emerson has all the tools to be a 10-year national team player.” His performances for English side Fulham have been outstanding, and Klinsmann rewarded that effort with a senior squad call up in late 2014. Emerson has done extremely well in the U-20 and U-23 age groups, so we are yet to see what he is fully capable of on a bigger stage. He currently has 1 caps to his name.
Jordan Morris (20):
Morris is one of the most talked about young prospects in the USMNT setup at the moment. In 2014, he was called up for a friendly against the Czech Republic making him the first college player to be called up to the squad since Chris Albright in 1999. Klinsmann saw something in the youngster that must have impressed him as he continued to feature for the Stars and Stripes leading up to the 2015 Gold Cup. Although he didn’t make the final squad, Morris is definitely a talent for the future that could be lighting up 2018 World Cup qualifying very soon. He currently has 5 caps and 1 goal to his name.
Gyasi Zardes (23):
Zardes had a breakout season for his club, LA Galaxy, in 2014 and the striker was immediately given a call up for the USMNT in early 2015. Zardes has been doing very well in the 2015 Gold Cup providing assists and energy that have resulted in victories for the U.S. People have marveled at the forwards speed and determination to win. At the moment, Zardes has 11 caps and 1 goal for the national team. Expect great things from him if he can continue progressing as he has.
Gedion Zelalem (18):
While Zelalem has not suited up for the USMNT just yet, he is still a youngster to keep your eye on. The Arsenal midfielder just recently got his U.S. citizenship after choosing America over his place of birth, Germany. He’s been making strong appearances for the U-20 national team as well as some substitute appearances for club side Arsenal in the Champions League. Zelalem has been progressing rapidly since being called out of the reserves to the first team, so it is only a matter of time until the playmaker makes his way into the senior national setup.
Ventura Alvarado (22):
Alvarado has become a U.S. National Team regular, usually paired with fellow center back John Brooks at the heart of the defense. While some have been critical of his play, the young 22 year old still has talent and some growing to do. Alvarado was first called up in for the USMNT in 2015, despite being eligible to play for Mexico due to his parents. The defender committed his long term future to the U.S. when he accepted a call up for the 2015 Gold Cup, where he has helped led the team to an undefeated record in group play. Alvarado has 7 appearances currently to his name.
Juan Agudelo (22):
Agudelo has shown brightly in the U.S. U-17 and U-20 setup in recent years. His exploits were not in vain either as he received a call up for a friendly against South Africa in 2010. He debuted as a substitute in that game and scored a brilliant volley making him the youngest player in U.S. National Team history to score a goal in a senior game. Agudelo’s distinct style of dribbling and technical skill even got him a contract with English side Stoke City, although the contract was later terminated with mutual consent due to work permit issues. Agudelo has 20 caps and 3 goals to his name, making his the most capped and highest scoring player on our list.
That concludes our list of the 10 rising U-23 American players to keep your eye on. With 2018 World Cup qualifying just around the corner, a lot of these players will be called upon and they will be ready. See which current USMNT players made our 2015 Gold Cup roster to watch and get the latest news on squad changes.