With the World Cup kicking off (pun intended) this week, I thought I’d put together a list of 5 United States players to watch this month. The success of the U.S. will depend highly on their performance. Plus, you’ll be able to impress your friends with all of your “fútbol” knowledge whenever the World Cup comes up in conversation (you’re welcome).
At 35 years old, this may be Tim Howard’s last opportunity to bring World Cup glory to the United States. The long time goalie of the United States team has had a successful career in the English Premier League, having played for Everton since 2007. He has been the starter for the U.S. for many years now and has a history of playing through pain and injuries. The U.S. is going to have to keep him healthy and hope he has a strong performance if they hope to beat teams like Germany and Portugal who are both loaded with talented forwards.
Player #2: Clint Dempsey- Forward/Attacking Midfield
Dempsey is another American who has had success playing in England’s prestigious Premier league. He has played for Tottenham Hostpur, and Fulham, where he is the club’s highest premier league goal scorer of all time. He has most recently been playing for the MLS team, the Seattle Sounders F.C. on loan. Dempsey has been struggling as of late to score as many goals, but hopefully he can change that. I’m hoping he will lead the U.S. team and help them keep up with the other high powered offenses in their group.
Player #3: Michael Bradley – Midfielder
This world cup is Michael Bradley’s chance to establish himself as the face and leader of American soccer. He will need to come up big and control the middle of the field if the U.S. hopes to compete. Being the son of former team U.S.A. coach Bob Bradley, Michael has been involved with soccer at a competitive level his whole life. This World Cup is his opportunity to show the world that he should be recognized as one of the dominant midfielders in the game.
Player #4: Jozy Altidore – Forward
Along with Bradley, Jozy Altidore is part of the next generation of American Soccer players, working to establish the United States as a legitimate World Cup competitor. Altidore is only 24 years old and has already proven to be a key player for Team USA in international matches. Although he has been quiet as of late, on June 7th he scored two goals against a solid Nigerian team. Hopefully he can carry that momentum into the World Cup and provide team USA with some serious firepower.
Player #5: Julian Green – Midfield
Playing for the German powerhouse Bayern Munich, Julian Green has experience playing with – and against – the best players in the world. The 19 year old superstar actually has dual citizenship in the United States and Germany – he was born in the United States to a German mother and American father, but moved to Germany at the age of two. Lucky for America, he chose to represent the United States in the World Cup. Here’s hoping he makes Germany regret not being chosen!
Which players are you keeping your eyes on? Have you been following the World Cup?
Written by Guest Blogger, Jared B. of Vanderbilt University