The Top 5 American Players Who Didn’t Make the 2010 Squad, But Who Will be Pivotal in the 2014 World
Well that sucked. After years of preparation — not to mention four of the most controversial andexciting games in the World Cup — the U.S. Men’s National soccer team was eliminated by Ghana in the Round of 16 last weekend. Even if you don’t give two shits about soccer, you were more than likely captivated by all of the Americans’ games in South Africa, and it’s gonna feel like having your teeth pulled to watch Ghana flop and dive their way through a game versus Uruguay this Friday. We all know that we deserve to f*cking be there, but looking to the past is for cowards. Real men look to the future. How are we going to do better in 2014? Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Jay DeMerit, and Maurice Edu are a few of the Americans who played a large role in this World Cup despite not being on the 2006 roster. In honor of their performances we give you the top 5 Americans who weren’t on the 2010 squad roster, but who are poised to be big contributors in the 2014 World Cup.
5. Gale Agbossoumonde
Yeah you read that right, he’s American and his last name is Agbossoumonde. The soon-to-be-19 year old was born in Togo before fleeing to Syracuse, and is a force to be reckoned with on the backline. He opted to play for the American National Team over Togo, and has started all 11 games he’s played with the U-20 squad. He is also currently on loan and playing in the top professional league in Portugal. Oguchi Onyewu isn’t going to be around forever, and if his knee can’t hold up he won’t be around for very much longer at all. Agbossoumonde’s size and frame have drawn comparisons to Onyewu’s and he could be his eventual successor in the center of our defense.
4. Mike Grella
Hailing from the great city of Glen Cove, N.Y., Grella currently sees occasional playing time for Leeds United, one of the most historically respected clubs in England. An All-American at Duke, Grella actually hasn’t played above the U-20 level for the USA, despite being 23 years old. A lot of that, however, can be attributed to his lack of regular playing time for Leeds. But that is expected to change soon; he’s become a fan favorite among one of Europe’s most famous fan bases (who chant “U-S-A” whenever he’s subbed in) and scored 3 goals in four appearances during the FA Cup this year.
3. Sacha Kljestan
Considered a snub off of the 2010 roster, Kljestan might be the dynamic scorer and playmaker that the Americans are sorely lacking. He has proven he can score from the midfield, and even has a hat-trick to his name for the USA National Team (in a 3-2 friendly win over Sweden). The 2006 MLS Rookie of the Year is moving his game to greener pastures this year, playing for Anderlecht, the champions of the Belgian League (yes, it is sad that the Belgian League is higher quality than the MLS). He probably should have been on this year’s roster over Ricardo Clark, but at the age of 24, he should be at about his peak form by 2014.
2. Freddy Adu
Yup, that Freddy Adu. The phenom, once dubbed “The Savior of American Soccer” when he joined the MLS at the age of 14, should be ready to start making a difference by the 2014 World Cup. Despite the disappointing path his career has taken — most Americans consider him a failure and a bust — Freddy has actually accomplished more at the age of 21 than almost any American soccer player before him. He’s played for a premier team in Europe, and he’s the only American ever to record hat tricks in both the U-17 and U-20 World Cups (if you haven’t seen footage of Adu’s hat trick vs. Poland, I highly suggest watching it below). He’s often overshadowed by the success of Jozy Altidore, but when paired together they have formed a dynamic combo that actually upset Brazil 2-1 in the aforementioned U-20 World Cup, a tournament that Adu drastically outplayed Altidore in. It’s easy to write off Adu’s career as a bust but he’s 21 freakin’ years old. I think when he’s 25, he’ll be a vital player on our 2014 World Cup roster.
1. Charlie Davies
When you watched the Americans in the World Cup this year, I bet you found yourself wondering, “How the f*ck is it possible that we don’t have any forwards better than Robbie Findley?” Charlie Davies is that guy. Davies was involved in a tragic car accident the night before America’s last qualifying match for this World Cup (the game in which Onyewu blew out his knee) and suffered near-fatal injuries. With a combination of hard work and good-old American grit, Davies almost got himself back into form to play in South Africa, but just couldn’t get ready in time. He was instrumental, and maybe even our best player, in our upset of Spain and subsequent run to the final of the 2009 Confederations Cup. And he provides Jozy Altidore with the (competent) speedy counterpart that he needs to be successful. He plays for Sochaux in the top league in France, and scored twice as a substitute in his first game with them. He’s only 24 years old, so health pending, he should be ready to have as big of an impact in 2014 as he did in 2009. And if he is, the rest of the world better watch out.