However, a new era looks poised to begin in American soccer.
After 157 caps, Donovan has become the nation’s all time leading goal scorer and assist distributor, accolades which he has earned over 14 years across various friendlies, CONCACAF fixtures, and World Cup matches, most famously the goal vs. Algeria in stoppage time to send the US through in the 2010 Cup.
Time will tell, though, if this new batch of American talent can surpass these records and lead the stars and stripes to more team glory. What sets apart this generation of American talent, and what is a phenomenon spreading across the country, is that these are the first groups of kids who grew up in an America in which soccer is counted as a legitimate athletic powerhouse.
For players like Deandre Yedlin, aged 21, the US’s host status for the 1994 World Cup precedes their memory, but the importance of the occasion has been imprinted on them permanently. As this trend continues to solidify itself, this can only be a positive sign for the wealth of talent Jurgen Klinsmann will have at his disposal.
Another trend that looks sure to help strengthen the roster is the increased globalization of the team, a progression that has already taken hold.
Promising starlets Mix Diskerud, Fabian Johnson and John Brooks all have foreign roots, with the former coming from Norway, and the latter two coming from Germany. While all of this is incredibly promising, the advancements being made by other soccer powers are just as awe-inspiring, if not more so.
For example, Spain has the likes of Munir el Haddadi and Gerard Deulofeu to pick up where attackers like David Villa leave off. Most intriguingly, the possibility of a first family of soccer exists in Belgium.
What fewer know is that he has a brother, Thorgan, plays for Gladbach in Germany’s first division who shows flashes of brilliance. Fewer still realize that there is a third brother, Kylian, who has tons of potential at the ripe old age of 19.
In fact, there’s an even younger brother, Ethan, who has been described as the best out of the four.
Ultimately, while Europe poses its own threats, America’s own youth talent and thus progression of talent should not be ignored by the global soccer community.
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