As the U.S. Men’s National Team inches closer toward the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup – and their first visit to Nippert Stadium on June 9 – the roster will resemble a new-look national team after the calamitous failure to quality for last year’s FIFA World Cup.
That new look starts at the top: Gregg Berhalter was named the new head coach and awaits his first major tournament leading the team. The group he’ll coach in the Gold Cup should look fairly new, too – at least in comparison to the USMNT roster that won the 2017 Gold Cup.
Here’s a guide to five integral players in the national team’s long-term future. (All five will likely play for the U.S. against Venezuela at Nippert Stadium in the final tune-up before the Gold Cup starts a week later.)
Position: winger/attacking midfielder
Club: Chelsea (English Premier League)
Pulisic became the most expensive American player ever earlier this year when Chelsea paid $73 million to Borussia Dortmund for the midfielder’s services. Chelsea unveiled Pulisic at Stamford Bridge earlier this week.
The 20-year-old is seen as the country’s best talent: a fast winger who can create scoring opportunities every time he’s on the ball. Since his international debut in 2016, he’s made 25 caps and has 10 goals.
Club: RB Leipzig (German Bundesliga)
FC Cincinnati fans should have some familiarity with Adams, who played in Nippert Stadium back in 2017 during the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He started in Cincinnati’s extra-time loss to New York Red Bulls in the semifinals.
Adams moved to RB Leipzig earlier this year and has already made nine Bundesliga appearances. The center midfielder is as creative on the ball as he is winning it back defensively.
As Berhalter cements his midfield for the future, there’s no doubt the 20-year-old, who already has 10 caps, will play a critical role.
Club: Schalke 04 (German Bundesliga)
Another influential midfielder, McKennie is also a 20-year-old who will be a reliable option moving forward. Already with eight caps, he’s a deeper-lying mid who can offer attacking options while also fortifying the national team’s defense.
Playing alongside Adams, the duo have the potential to develop and thrive throughout the next generation of American soccer.
Club: Werder Bremen (German Bundesliga)
The best way to describe his potential is this: Sargent scored with his first touch for Werder Bremen’s first team. Still a teenager (19), he’s played less of a role for the national team. His first appearance was last year and he only has six caps – and two goals.
But limited facetime shouldn’t dampen hype. After all, SB Nation published an article in January with the headline, “Josh Sargent is 18 and should become the best striker in USMNT history*.”
Club: Ankaragücü (Turkish Süper Lig)
No, he’s not the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver.
Boyd is a 24-year-old left winger who recently became eligible to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team after youth and friendly appearances for New Zealand.
It’s unknown how Berhalter plans on using Boyd, but for an American side that’s limited in depth at left wing, Boyd could slot in and produce.
A front three of Boyd, Sargent and Pulisic is filled with limited international experience, but plenty of type hype and potential.