U.S. Soccer players stared over the weekend for their club teams.
It was the first time since 2005 that three different players scored a goal in Europe’s top five leagues. This one was more special than the previous.
The first time this happened in 2005, goals came from Jermaine Jones, Brian McBride and Claudio Reyna. Their average age was 29.7 years old.
Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna, son of Claudio Reyna, were the goal scorers who made history this time around. Their average age is 20.6 years old, almost a decade younger.
This is not a coincidence; the U.S. has made this their goal to flood the European leagues with youth talent. McKennie and Pulisic’s goals were achievements in themselves as well.
This summer, McKennie became the first player to be signed by Juventus. Saturday, he became the first American goal scorer for the club. His header in the 78th minute leveled the score in the win against Torino.
Pulisic became the fastest to score 10 Premier League goals in the 3-1 win against Leeds United. He is the fourth American to achieve this milestone.
Reyna scored the equalizer in the 58th minute for Borussia Dortmund to salvage a point. Although he was happy about the goal, he felt that one or two more should have gone in as well.
This will not be the last time this happens, and it should not take another 15 years to achieve. There is a possibility that it will happen again this season. U.S. soccer has more than these three that could score goals.
Tyler Adams, Sergino Dest, Josh Sargent and Timothy Weah are also capable of finishing a shot in the back of the net. It is crazy to think that out of all the names that have been mentioned, the oldest players are McKinnie and Pulisic at 22 years old.
The new generation of U.S. Soccer players are part of the most talented group to ever come out. Before, clubs in Europe would not spend a penny scouting talent in the U.S. With this serge in talent, teams have started to place youth academies here to groom players for the next level.
Experts, including myself, have said for years that talent is coming through the ranks. They are having milestones never seen before. For example, Dest became both the first U.S. player to be signed and play for Barcelona.
He is not the only American there either. Konrad de la Fuerte has played in the Champions League for them this season. He is not a regular, but at 19 years old, regular minutes should be coming within the next year.
I did not include Yunus Musah because he has not declared alliance to the U.S. The 18-year-old played in both friendlies this past international window. He also became the youngest non-Spanish goal scorer in La Liga history, and he signed a new deal with Valencia that includes a €100 million buyout clause or about $121 million.
If Musah does decide to play for the U.S., the team could have a midfield of him, Adams and McKennie. That is one that could play together for the next decade or more.
Every player will be important along with others like Zack Steffen and Antonee Robinson as World Cup qualifying starts in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) next year. This is the steppingstone to seeing how talented of a group the U.S. produced.
There are three main goals for this group until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Some are individual and others are team based.
The first is to stay injury free as much as possible. One of the issues that have plagued this group are injuries. If the team has more options, then that is better for head coach Gregg Berhalter, especially if there are five or six players that could score goals.
The second goal is to make it impossible for your club team to not include your name in the line-up. American soccer is still going to be downplayed. Players need to go out and prove them wrong.
Coaches have said that American players will work as hard as possible to get better. Show them why you are the most important player to that team.
Finally, qualify for the World Cup. The reason this is not No. 1 is because without the first two, this is harder to achieve. After the disappointment of the last qualification, this is almost a whole new group, but the thought of not qualifying last time lingers in each player’s mind.
The potential of the team is not reached and will not be by the time 2022 comes around. Qatar should be the goal of qualifying and making it to the round of 16 or better. The full potential will come the World Cup after.
When 2026 rolls around, the World Cup will arrive in North America for the first time since 1994. Soccer is growing at an extraordinary pace. Anything short of a competitive team capable of winning a World Cup would be a disappointment.
If the U.S. has even half of those players develop into stars, this team will be a force to be reckoned with. Adams, McKinnie, Pulisic and Reyna are known names throughout club soccer now.
The American Outlaws are here, and they are here to stay.