United States Men’s soccer was established in 1913 and has qualified for 10 of the 20 world cups since. The team failed to qualify for the 1986 World Cup but subsequently has earned a place in the last seven World Cups.
The United States Men’s National Team hasn’t found the manager to take them to the ‘promise land.’ Since the placement of Jürgen Klinsmann as the manager, the team has grown and has unseen success. Klinsmann is a German national who played for the German national team and saw success as a player. He has achieved a 27-10-7 record along with two record setting years as the US manager. Klinsmann is ushering in a new era in American soccer. He has brought his style of play that has attracted many players who have other options when it comes to a national team
Jürgen Klinsmann’s foundation of veterans is being bolstered by youth. Young talent brought in by Klinsmann has already paid dividends. Julian Green, 19, plays for the top team in Germany during club season but represented the red white and blue at the world cup. In his world cup debut, Green came into the game became the youngest to score in the world cup since legend Lionel Messi in 2006, being a bright light to the team in their 2-1 defeat to Belgium in Brazil.
John Anthony Brooks, 21, a name not well known around US soccer, burst onto the scene when the starting defender for the team went down with an injury. Many doubted Klinsmann’s choice in bringing Brooks to Brazil, but those who doubted were soon chanting “USA! USA!”. When Brooks leapt off the ground, the world stood still, as the ball curled into the 18-yard box those watching held their breath. The ball hit the back of the net, and in an instant, became a legend.
The youth movement in the United States soccer program shows that the organization is committed to building a winning team. Klinsmann on the youth movement in US soccer said, “When you start a new cycle, you want to see as many new players and young players breaking in as possible. Obviously you always respect your established players and you always want to give them the space to continue their good work.” Needless to say, Klinsmann has a plan for the future.
Past, Window to the Future
If I were to be asked who a legend of United States soccer is, one name comes to mind, Landon Donavan. Even though he was left out of the 23-man roster for Brazil, Klinsmann kept many of the names us soccer fans have come to expect. Mainstays such as Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Tim Howard have brought experience to an otherwise adolescent team. Between the three of them, they have over three hundred caps (appearances on the field) for the team. The experience the veterans bring to the team is invaluable and will influence and mentor the new generation of players that will be representing the nation in the next world cup.
Foreigners Bring Hope
With the addition of John Brooks and Julian Green, who both have duel citizenship in Germany and the United States, there are a slew of other young players who could very well hold the future of US soccer in their hands. The top three prospects for the national team have a vast array of experience, many coming up through the ranks of youth soccer.
Dom Dwyer left England to play at Tyler Junior College in Texas. He scored an unprecedented 37 goals in his sophomore season, which earned him a spot at the University of South Florida. He was drafted in the MLS draft by Sporting Kansas City and has scored 22 goals in the 35 games that he has started in the last two seasons. This scoring prowess could be a very big asset in national team play.
Jürgen Klinsmann has his eye on another German-American playing in Germany’s top league, the Bundesliga. Shawn Parker, 21, is a forward playing for FC Augsburg and might be a tough ‘get’ for the United States. Parker has played for Germany’s U15, U16, U17, U18, U19, U20 and U21 levels of international competition and if given the invite to the top team, Parker says, “It is a hard decision to make of course. One should be very proud to play for the country your father is from. I am playing for Germany now and this is my home base. Both sides are very interesting. I like Germany now, but I won’t rule out that I will play for the United States in the future.”
At 16, Gideon Zelalem made his debut for the widely known Arsenal Football Club located in England. His US Men’s soccer future lies in the hands of his father. For Zelalem to be eligible to represent the red white and blue, his father must become a citizen of the United States before Zelalem turns 18 in 2015. Klinsmann and the rest of the coaching staff hope that this young talent is available for play, during the upcoming years.
Those Who Say No
Nobody foresaw the amount of success that the United States achieved in Brazil this summer. Many still don’t believe the team has what it takes to be an international soccer superpower. Critics tend to bring up the fact that the team does not have a consistent scoring threat. Fans thought that Jozy Altidore would be that threat after scoring in four consecutive world cup qualifying games. Altidore did not get to show what he could bring to the team after pulling up with an injury in the teams opening game in Brazil. Nevertheless, the teams was able to score 2 goals against Ghana, 2 against Portugal, 1 against Belgium but were not able to put one in against the eventual world cup champs, Germany.
The roster that Jürgen Klinsmann chose received a mass amount of criticism, especially with the star of the last world cup for the United States, Landon Donavan nixed from the 23-man roster. Klinsmann’s additions of the young and unknown were not received well by the die-hard fans. Questions about why and what his plan was were thrown at Klinsmann. His philosophy of having a combination of young and old players is how he believes the United States will become a mainstay in the later rounds of the world cup for years to come.
Jürgen Klinsman has his eye on the future. Between his recent winning ways and his new ideas on building a winning team, US Men’s soccer is headed in the right direction. The youthful stars on the team give a glimmer of light on the future of US Men’s soccer.