Okay, so soccer is not as popular in the US as American Football or Baseball, but if the National team were to improve its standing in world rankings, it would help. The good news is that change may well be on the way.
Part of the problem is that the league system in America isn’t yet strong enough to help players with skill to reach their full potential. That’s why the best players go to Europe to develop their prowess. The three players we review below have done so. As a result, the experience they are gaining will be invaluable in helping the USMNT to become serious contenders on the world stage.
Young Gio Reyna was born in England while his father was there playing for Sunderland. However, they moved back to the US, and the youngster is a fully-fledged US citizen. His mother was also involved in soccer, and she played for the US Women’s national team.
In 2019, after having played in New York City FC Academy teams, Reyna was scouted and accepted by the Burrusia Dortmund Academy in Germany. He made his first appearance in the Bundesliga in 2020, aged 17 years and 66 days. He came on a substitute in the 72nd minute, and a few weeks later, he scored his first Bundesliga goal against Bremen.
Since then, he has blossomed. As an attacking midfielder, he has great skill and pace and is now one of the first names on the team sheet. So far this season, in 11 appearances, he has netted 3 goals and notched up 5 assists.
Sergiño Gianni Dest
Sergiño Dest is the first-ever US football player to play for Barcelona, one of the top teams in Europe. He joined them in October 2020, making his debut appearance in the home 1-1 draw against Sevilla. He was brought on in the 75th minute of the game, and during his 15-minute cameo role, he made 11 passes and has a hand in creating the goal for Lionel Messi, Europe’s deadliest striker.
When asked about the players that have influenced him the most, he mentioned Barca manager Ronald Koeman. He said he admired Koeman’s defensive brilliance and his ability to make great shots from distance. To date, Dest has seen action in 56% of Barcelona’s league fixtures and 86% of the cup games.
Originally born in the Netherlands, he played for another European football giant, Ajax, before bought by the Blaugranes for €21 million.
Christian Mate Pulisic
Christian Pulisic is a 22-year-old winger or attacking midfielder bought by Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund in January 2019. He is a two-footed player with great pace and dribbling ability. In 35 appearances, he has scored 10 goals and made 4 assists and is destined to become a Stamford Bridge favourite and a USMNT regular.
There are many other US soccers players strutting their stuff in Europe. They include the likes of Weston McKennie, who plays for Schalke 04, and Tyler Adams of RB Leipzig. Both of these teams are also in the Bundesliga – a home from home it would seem for up and coming US soccer players.
It Bodes Well for the Future of the USMNT
One thing is for sure, and that is the experience all these players will gain from playing in Europe, the toughest, most skilful and competitive soccer arena in the world can only bode well for the fortunes of the USMNT.