United States men’s national soccer team head coach Gregg Berhalter had high praise for this new incoming generation of American soccer players that have broken into the squads of top clubs around the world, particularly in Europe. Speaking on the phone with The Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Network, Berhalter agreed with the assessment that the national team is currently going through a golden era.
“We’ve never had this much talent before,” Berhalter told Jim Rome. “When I look at this roster, it’s young talent. So we have players under the age of 23 that are really, really good.
“If you project out and think about the first qualifier at 2022, which would be a big step, and then performing well at 2022, but then really thinking about this age is going to primed in 2026, and how do we take advantage of that with hosting the World Cup in our own country. It could be a great moment for U.S. Soccer.”
It’s hard not to see what Berhalter is getting all excited about. Take the USMNT’s midfield and flanks which consist of Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams. In order, that’s a representative of Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and RB Leipzig. There are even other potential call-ups who are playing for big clubs — take Valencia’s (La Liga) 17-year-old winger Yunus Musah, for example — and could choose to commit to the United States for international duty.
This bold proclamation comes about three years after the United States was humiliated at the hands of Trinidad and Tobago while trying to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. A lot has changed since that fateful defeat. The old guard of players have been replaced, and a new crop of talented youngsters take their place. But unlike in previous iterations of that kind of change, these players are showcasing their skills in Champions League matches with some of Europe’s best clubs. Provided that Berhalter can provide the necessary leadership, and U.S. Soccer can provide the necessary infrastructure, for this group to thrive, that national nightmare can be put well in the team’s past.