Meet The USA's 2018 World Cup Squad

The United States bowed out of the World Cup in the round of 16 after a narrow defeat to Belgium, but in the grand scheme of things, the campaign was a massive success.

The lasting impression left by the Americans? The memory of that final, tantalizing goal, a brilliant volley by 19-year-old forward Julian Green that gave the Americans - down 2-0 in extra time - a glimmer of hope.

Green is just one of the many exciting talents working their way into Europe's top teams - his club, Bayern Munich, won the 2013-14 Champions League. While America's interest in soccer has always waxed during World Cup years, interest quickly dies down due to the lack of Americans with star power on the world stage. For the first time in the history of American soccer, the US has young players in the academy of almost every leading European club...and in Tim Howard, they also have a legitimately world-class player to follow.


Starting XI:

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan

After his virtuoso performance against Belgium, having anyone here other than Tim Howard seems like borderline treason. Still, Howard will be 39 when the 2018 World Cup rolls around, and while he should still make the 23-man squad, Guzan is a more-than-capable replacement.

Currently, Guzan plays for England's Aston Villa, and in 2013-14 he was named their Player of the Season.

Left Back:

Center Back: John Anthony Brooks

Center Back:

Right Back: DeAndre Yedlin


Midfielder: Gedion Zelalem

Of all the young Americans at top European clubs, Zelalem is the most exciting - and it isn't even close.

A 17-year-old creative midfielder with nearly limitless potential (seriously - coaches at Arsenal, his club team, have absolutely no idea what his ceiling is), Zelalem announced himself to the world last summer during Arsenal's preseason tour of Asia. Against much older professionals, Zelalem was mesmerizing - his vision, timing and passing ability drew rave reviews from all corners of the soccer world.


Zelalem, who was born in Berlin to Ethiopian parents, is eligible for Ethiopia, Germany, and the United States, where he lived from 2006 to 2011. He hasn't decided where his international future lies yet...but Jurgen Klinsmann has proven to be an excellent recruiter of young, German talent, and the odds of starting right away for the United States are much, much better than the odds of breaking into the stacked German team.

If Zelalem continues to develop at his current pace, he could be one of the best midfielders in the world, and at 17, he would already be one of the best midfielders in the US squad. If Klinsmann plays his cards right, a 21-year-old Zelalem will be the creative force behind his 2018 team.



Back to the Soccer Newsfeed