It may seem strange to already start making predictions about a World Cup that’s five years away, but the United States Soccer Federation will most certainly be looking forward to the 2026 tournament and eying an opportunity. With the competition set to take place in the US and current superstars expected to be in their prime at that time, the stars could finally be about to align for the USMNT.
World Cup 2022 Will be a Chance to Blood Young Players
Currently, few experts are talking up the US’s hopes at the Qatar World Cup in 2022. According to today’s football predictions, England, Brazil, France, and Spain are among the favorites to win the upcoming tournament. Not only do these nations have incredibly strong teams, but they have all guaranteed qualification to the paramount contest already. The US should make it to the winter tournament, but they still have a few qualifying matches to play before they can start preparing.
Even though they won’t be considered in the mix for the trophy in 2022, Gregg Berhalter and his players will have a solid opportunity to test themselves against some of the best teams in the world. The US is expected to field a relatively young group in the tournament, but many of these players will be experienced and at the peaks of their careers in 2026.
USMNT Has Key Players at Top Clubs
The most exciting thing for the US is the fact that they have numerous players plying their trades at the best clubs in the world. In the past, the US was renowned for having one or two well-known stars among a group of less talented individuals. This isn’t the case anymore, with many American soccer stars regarded as players with high levels of potential.
Christian Pulisic is one of the hottest talents that the US has at its disposal, and the Chelsea star is only set to get better in the years ahead. The 23-year-old already has over 40 caps for his country and has scored 17 goals so far. Another exciting forward is Timothy Weah, the son of the 1995 Ballon D’Or winner George Weah. The 21-year-old came up through Paris Saint-Germain’s academy and now plays for Lille. A few other youngsters including Tyler Adams and Chris Richards are playing in the Bundesliga and gaining recognition for their exploits there.
Soccer is Growing in the Country
Aside from players moving to some of the top clubs across Europe, many of the USMNT’s players are playing in the MLS. In the past, this may have been seen as a hindrance to their progress, but the quality of the league has improved greatly in recent years. There has been a 27 percent rise in interest in soccer in the country since 2012 and, thanks to the increasing amounts of revenue being pumped into the league, clubs have been able to improve their infrastructure and nurture homegrown talent.
It feels like a bold longshot to suggest that the USMNT could be able to win the World Cup when they host it alongside Mexico and Canada in 2026. Nearer the time, though, it may not seem out of the question at all. If key players continue to progress well between now and then, the US could be a strong soccer force.