Billy’s US Soccer Beat: Three for the Future
With the United States national team looking to make massive leaps in their quality of play before the World Cup in Russia in 2018, Jurgen Klinsmann will look for the youth to drive that improvement in quality. Here are three youngsters who I see with a bright national team future.
Emerson Hyndman MF Fulham
The grandson of former FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman, Emerson made a name for himself in the international soccer community in joining the Fulham academy in London when he was just 15.
Many consider Hyndman the best young prospect in the US talent pool, and rightfully so. He has made nine appearances in the English Championship for Fulham and came on as a substitute for the national team during the friendly against Czech Republic, making his presence known early, as his incredible footwork and on ball presence have turned heads both at the club and national team level. Hyndman will be just 22 when the 2018 World Cup rolls around, but I still expect Klinsmann to include him in the camps leading up to soccer’s greatest tournament. Hyndman is certainly a player to watch moving forward.
Andrija Novakovich ST Reading
Novakovich, a Wisconsin native has starred at just 17 in Reading’s academy in the English Championship, offering him the opportunity to train with the U-20 national team. Opting to skip college and head straight to England was controversial at first, but Marquette University’s head coach Louis Bennett, the man who Novakovich spurned, said he understood the young forward’s decision to turn pro and recognized his pro-level talent from a young age.
At 6’2”, Novakovich could provide the target forward for Jurgen Klinsmann that he has so desperately sought since his arrival as national team head coach. Novakovich provides the size and strength of eastern European forwards (no doubt from his parents’ Serbian heritage), the skill of English players, and the grit, tenacity, and athleticism of an American. Quite simply, he is the total package when considering a powerful target striker for the United States. With Reading’s affinity for Americans (think of Danny Williams) and Novakovich’s physical talents, I’m bullish on the young forward’s future with the national team. National team fans should certainly keep a close eye on the English Championship, specifically with regards to Fulham and Reading, where it seems two national team stars of the future are developing.
Marc Pelosi MF Liverpool
After recovering from a serious leg injury and a 14-month absence from competitive soccer, it seems Marc Pelosi is back on track towards a star studded national team career.
Pelosi was called into January camp with the senior team, and while he didn’t play in either friendly, his inclusion in the camp is certainly an encouraging sign for his national team future. Pelosi has his eyes on joining the Liverpool senior squad after seeing ample opportunity with the U-21 reserves. While Pelosi currently plays box to box midfielder at the club level, many speculate that Klinsmann could utilize him as an attacking left back, which would help build depth at the all important wing back position in Klinsmann’s system. Pelosi has expressed interest in playing a No. 8 position, similar to Liverpool club legend Steven Gerrard but will relish any chance to represent his country at the international level.
His recovery for injury is certainly something to keep an eye on for national team fans and could be key to the depth of the American talent pool. A loan deal from Liverpool could be key for Pelosi’s development, before he takes the field with Liverpool’s senior squad.