USMNT Academy Review – Copa 2016 Squad

Recently the US national team has come under fire once again under the Kilnsmann Era, and while the focus is on the senior national team perhaps we should take a step back. In fact many many steps back, to the US academy system, which in turn is also completely overseen by Klinsmann and his board of coaches and directors of US Soccer.

People who know the inner-workings of the system know that the academy has been nothing but an absolutely collapsing failure. In fact of the current USMNT roster selected to play int the Copa America 10 of them were not products or direct products of the US Academy system. Some of them being big name surprises such as Graham Zusi, Gyasi Zardes, Chris Wondolowski, Geoff Cameron, and Alejandro Bedoya. Other players such as and Edgar Castillo was formerly capped by Mexico and  Jermaine Jones by Germany.


copa 2106

Listed below is the Squad for the Copa America Centario and their youth backgrounds:

Name and Number Youth Teams Appearances(Goals)
1.Brad Guzan United States U23 45 (0)
2.DeAndre Yedlin United States U20 4 (0)
3.Steve Birnbaum United States U18 U20 N/A
4.Michael Bradley United Staes U17 U18 U20 U23 19 (1)
5.Matt Besler United States U20 1 (0)
6.John Brooks

(Born in Germany)

United States U20 U23 Germany U20 US- 6 (0)

Germany- 1 (0)

7.Bobby Wood United States U20 U23 7 (4)
8.Clint Dempsey United States U20 13 (1)
9.Gyasi Zardes None None
10.Darlington Nagbe

(Born in Liberia)

None None
11.Alejandro Bedoya None None
12.Tim Howard United States U20 U23 7 (0)
13.Jermaine Jones

(Born in Germany)

Germany U21/2006 Olympic


Germany U21/Olympic- 9 (3)

Germany- 3 (0)

14.Michael Orozco United States U23 7 (0)
15.Kyle Beckerman United States U17 6 (1)
16.Perry Kitchen United States U17 U20 U23 46 (0)
17.Christian Pulisic United States U15 U17 44 (22)
18.Chris Wondolowski None None
19.Graham Zusi None None
20.Geoff Cameron None None
21.Edgar Castillo Mexico U23


U23- 8 (1)

Mexico- 3 (0)

22.Ethan Horvath United States U20 U23 8 (0)
23.Fabian Johnson

(Born in Germany)

Germany  U17 U18 U19 U20 U21 Germany U23- 35 (0)
pulisic Bundesliga
(Photo from Bundesliga)
If the fact that Pulisic appears to be the most qualified US player doesn’t scare you, the fact that he compiled those without playing with any of the other players on tonight’s roster should. I’m not saying that these players didn’t get proper training with the academy, but that fact that little to few of them have played together at the youth level is not good for the development of chemistry among the squad. Even if there were not official qualifying matches, US Soccer should go out of its way to arrange friendlies for these teams to get to know each other better as players. Another article by another source stated that the US is constantly trying to copy European teams and model themselves in that manner. But the fact that the academy lacks pure development seems to prove to opposite of this. Of the 23 members of the 2014 German World Cup squad only one player, Miraslav Klose, had not been capped at the academy/youth level. While none of the members of Spain’s 2010 World Cup squad had not been through some level of their youth academy.
bob bradley and michael from ZIMBO
(Photo from Zimbo)
At the 2010 World Cup, Bob Bradley was the coach so this was pre-Klinsmann Era. Even at this point 7 of the 23 players on the roster had no experience in the youth teams. Though this problem runs a little deeper than Klinsmann’s leadership it should be mentioned that of the 23 players in the 2014 roster, 9 of them had no experience in the youth system. And further, unlike the squad of the 2010 World Cup, 4 of those 9 had youth experience and senior experience in other countries. These players include Johannsson(Iceland), Mix Diskerud(Norway), Jermaine Jones(Germany) and Fabian Johnson(Germany). Not only had these players not participated in our own youth system, players like Jones made senior debuts and appearances for these other nations. Though Abby and Donovan have received a lot of backlash for their foreign comments it does have something to do with team development and chemistry.
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