After missing out on qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, it seemed as though the US Men’s National Team had taken a step backwards and potentially halted the massive growing interest in football in America.
That doesn’t appear to be the case and more so now than ever the MLS is drawing more interest, not just in the States but around the world. Having players with the star-power of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, who joined LA Galaxy and DC United respectively, will certainly help the cause but there was a growing interest in the MLS even before they stepped foot on American soil.
The previous two World Cups in which both USMNTs advanced to the knockout stage and lost in extra time certainly would have caught the interest of the young players who are breaking out now in their late teens and early twenties. Not only are we now seeing plenty of young players emerge in the MLS as potential starters, but also in Europe.
Of course, everyone who knows anything about US football will know about Christian Pulisic who his leading the new wave of American talent in Europe. Christian emerged three seasons ago after quickly rising through the Borussia Dortmund ranks. Now in his 4th season with the German club, Pulisic is considered as one of the most highly rated young attacking players in Europe.
Pulisic is thought by many to be the brightest American prospect and his performances have led to speculation that he is being sought after by many other European giants. At the age of 20 he has established himself in Europe, but what other American players are on European club’s books that could make a name for themselves in the near future.
Here is a look at some of the US footballers playing in Europe that Americans can get excited about:
#1 Weston McKennie
McKennie spent one year with the Schalke 04 youth team that has produced the likes of Mesut Ozil and Leroy Sane, before being promoted to the first team squad. After making his debut in September of last year he signed a 5-year contract with the Bundesliga team and has since become a regular in the midfield. Last season he made 25 appearances for The Miners and this season he’s off to a great start making eight appearances and scoring twice, including a late winner away to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League group stage. The 20-year-old has also made six appearances already for the USMNT, scoring on his debut.
#2 Timothy Weah
An already well-known name thanks to his father George, Timothy plays as a striker for European giant PSG. It is remarkable that the 18-year-old has received any playing time in the PSG first time given he is in competition for minutes with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting although he does have the advantage of being a typical front-man. So far this season he has only made three appearances for the Parisian club but has scored twice. It is unlikely Weah will receive consistent playing time at PSG but he has already shown flashes of what he can do at a top level.
#3 Tyler Adams
Ok, I’m cheating a bit here. Adams is still a New York Red Bulls player but it is thought that he will be joining his former coach Jesse Marsch at German club Red Bull Leipzig. Yes they are sister clubs linked by Red Bull. At 19, he has established himself as one of the best prospects in the MLS and made 50 appearances for the New York team. He will be joining a RB Leipzig team that has placed a lot of trust in their younger players over the years and Adams could well become as highly regarded in that team as Naby Keita who moved to Liverpool last Summer. Adams has also been a consistent starter for the USMNT since making his debut last year and scored his first international goal just over a month ago.
#4 Josh Sargent
Josh Sargent is about to take on a bigger role at Werder Bremen. Sargent has impressed in the Junior Bundesliga with the Werder Bremen reserves, scoring six goals in 10 games. He is likely to be featured in the first team squad for the first time this weekend and an appearance would then be just around the corner. Along with his six goals for the Bremen youth team, he has scored twice in five appearance with the USMNT and previously scored four in five games for the under 20’s. The midfielder seems to have an eye for goal and if he can notch one early into his Bremen career, he could be on his way to reaching the heights of Christian Pulisic.
#5 Matt Miazga
It feels like Matt Miazga has been a prospect forever. He emerged as a New York Red Bulls homegrown prospect and then made the move to Chelsea in 2016. So far he hasn’t been able to break into the Chelsea squad despite making two appearances in the 2016/2017 campaign. Matt has spent two seasons on loan to Vitesse in the Eredivisie where he picked up 55 appearances and is now at French Ligue 1 club Nantes where he is also getting regular playing time. Despite becoming a common figure in the USMNT, it seems as though Matt will have to eventually cut his ties with the Blues in order to find a starting role with a top team, but at just 23 there is plenty of time for the centre-back.
Antonee Robinson, 21, Left-back, Wigan (On loan from Everton). He is the first choice left-back for Wigan in the Championship playing in all 12 games so far this season.
Romain Gall, 23, Striker, Malmo. After an impressive start to this years Allsvenskan campaign with Sundsvall he made the move to fellow Swedish team Malmo. So far this season between the two teams he has notched 11 goals in 22 games.
Sebastian Soto, 18, Striker, Hannover 96. Like Josh Sargent, Soto is making a name for himself in the Junior Bundesliga, scoring 7 goals in 7 games. We might see Soto make similar strides as Sargent in the near future.
Jonathan Amon, 19, Winger, Nordsjaelland. Has scored four goals in eight games this season for the Danish side.
Keaton Parks, 21, Midfielder, Benfica. So far this season Parks has yet to feature in a first team game for the Portuguese side. He has made 6 appearances in the past but with the tradition of bringing exciting and technical young players into their lineups, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Parks feature more and more over the next year or two.