Following the devastating loss to Belgium in the Round of 16, the United States will start looking forward to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Four years from now, the United States Men’s National Team roster will look completely different. The United States will possibly be without Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey and most of the defensive midfield. Mainly due to age being a factor, Howard and Dempsey will not be on the roster come 2018. With these stars exit, it creates an avenue for rising young players such as Julian Green, Joe Corona, Luis Gil, and Gedion Zelalem.
The one young player that I will focus on is Zelalem. Zelalem is a seventeen-year-old German American footballer who plays for Arsenal‘s youth team. Although he has one appearance for the Gunners, Zelalem shows a heap of potential and would be a helpful compliment to the midfield for Jurgen Klinsmann.
Zelalem is a playmaker in the middle and is simply a distributer. Zelalem would be a perfect apprentice to Michael Bradley, despite Bradley’s less-than-great World Cup performance. Similar to Bradley in many ways, Zelalem is younger and faster on the pitch which makes him a serious upgrade once he begins getting more minutes at the club and international level.
Having Zelalem and Green on the pitch at the same time is a dream situation for any American despite whether or not one believes it is wrong to have German-born Americans on the team. Green and Zelalem in the offensive midfield will lead to goals and offensive output. The United States in the 2014 World Cup showed a lack of offense, often optioning for a more defensive-minded game plan in group play and against Belgium. In the game against Belgium, the United States put more offense into the last four minutes than I have seen in previous games.
Klinsmann will need to convince Zelalem to commit internationally to the United States as opposed to Germany. Klinsmann has some time to convince the young star and for the sake of Americans, we hope Zelalem joins the red, white and blue.
Collin Ruby is a Soccer Writer for RantSports.com, Follow him on Twitter @Collin_Ruby