The United States have appointed Gregg Berhalter as their new boss, replacing interim manager Dave Sarachan.

Berhalter made 44 appearances for the US as a player, while also playing for clubs such as Crystal Palace, Energie Cottbus and 1860 Munich. The 45-year-old was recently in charge MLS side Columbus Crew and led his side to the final of the 2015 MLS Cup against the Portland Timbers.

The US have had an underwhelming last few years, with a horrendous qualification campaign resulting in the nation missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They finished fifth in CONCACAF, with a 4-0 loss to Costa Rica and a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago highlighted the problems with the national team.

It’s a huge contrast to their 2014 World Cup campaign, where they made the round of 16 of the tournament and pushed Belgium to extra time. Their overall performance in the World Cup gave Americans hope that they could match it with the best nations. However, four years have passed, and the country is struggling to return to the summit of the CONCACAF confederation.

Despite being far from their best, there is reason to hold hope. There are several talented young players coming through that are playing in Europe, who are in line to replace experienced names such as Tim Howard, DaMarcus Beasley, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan.

Christian Pulisic is a name that comes to mind and the 20-year-old has already made 23 appearances for his country. Pulisic currently plays for the current Bundesliga leaders  Borussia Dortmund and has scored 10 league goals in 78 appearances. First team football is aiding his career and there is a bright future ahead of him.

Timothy Weah is another young talent playing in Europe. Weah plays for French heavyweights PSG and has made five senior appearances for the club, scoring one goal. The 18-year-old is following in the footsteps of his father George, who had a successful career for clubs such as AC Milan, PSG and Monaco. However, Timothy can potentially reach greater heights and there is plenty of time for him to develop.

21-year-old Keaton Parks has made four senior appearances for Portuguese side Benfica and while he plays most of his football for the ‘B’ side, he is a player to look out for.

Weston McKennie plays for Bundesliga club Schalke 04 and is getting first-team action – he has made 32 appearances to date.

Erik Palmer-Brown is on the books at Manchester City and is currently on-loan to Eredivisie club NAC Breda. The 21-year-old attracted interest from Juventus in 2014 and is a capable defender.

Luca de la Torre and Antonee Robinson both play in England, while Matthew Olosunde is involved in the youth setup of Manchester United.

Matt Miazga is at Chelsea – the 23-year-old is on loan at Ligue 1 club Nantes, while Cameron Carter-Vickers is on loan at Swansea City from Tottenham.

The number of American footballers playing in Europe has risen and this will no doubt influence the national team in the next decade.

The team may currently be struggling, however this generation of players can lift them out of this dark period. It will be interesting to see how these youngsters progress and whether they can match it with the best in the world.

 

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com