When it comes to soccer in the US, the USWNT tend to be the focus of attention.
They win World Cups and they dominate the headlines with their crusade for equal pay. The USMNT did not even qualify for the last World Cup and their lack of success is part of the argument in the equal pay debate.
One of the US men’s squad has been impressing recently though, not here in the MLS but on the wider world stage. The Champions League is Europe’s premier soccer event, featuring clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich. It is the major club competition for the world’s best teams and players who succeed there are generally regarded as at the pinnacle of their domestic careers.
It is very rare indeed for a US player to impress even in the group stages, so when Tyler Adams scored for RB Leipzig in the quarter-final recently, it became big news here in the US. Adams started his career with New York Red Bulls but moved to Germany in 2018 to try his luck in the Bundesliga. His side has, rather surprisingly, made it through to the semi-finals courtesy of his goal against Atletico Madrid. It is big news for a player who was driving himself 75 miles to appear for the New York Red Bulls with his mother sat at the side of him a few weeks ago.
Adams has 10 appearances for the USMNT, scoring once in a friendly win against Mexico, but his goal is surely the biggest of his career. Red Bull Leipzig is a relatively new side, only formed 11 years ago, making Adams’ achievement even more remarkable in context. It also shows players trained right here in the US can compete on the national stage and fuels further hopes of some success in Qatar 2022, the next World Cup tournament.
Adams might be excelling on the world stage, but his spell with New York demonstrates that the US is moving in the right direction when it comes to producing exciting young talent. Gedion Zelalem is another one of those prospects, and he already has significant pedigree. He is German-born and appeared for the four-time World Cup winners up to Under-17 level, before switching to the US, whom he has played up to Under-23 level for.
A feature on MLS wonderkids by Bwin demonstrates how he is one of the most promising young midfielders in the league, playing for New York City. His youth career also saw him coached at Hertha Berlin and Arsenal, and he got senior football with Scottish giants Rangers. He is likely to be challenging Adams for a spot in the squad come 2022, as is another prospect; Greensboro-born Gianluca Busio.
Busio has scored eight goals in 16 appearances for the US U17 side and is primed to step up to the senior side in the coming seasons. He’s currently with Sporting Kansas City and netted three goals in 16 in 2019. He is only 18 years old and is showing huge potential as he makes his way in senior football.
Tyler Adams is the poster-boy for US soccer right now, having made headlines around the world with his recent goal, but that could have a positive effect for any of the other young prospects hoping to breakthrough. It also brings some positive news to the USMNT as they prepare for the new eight-team qualifying format for the Qatar World Cup.
If Adams goal is anything to go by, the future might be much brighter for the USMNT than many have previously thought.