Who is the face of American soccer?
Clint Dempsey is the best American field player on the planet, an honor he has taken from legendary midfielder Landon Donovan. Tim Howard may be the best American soccer player of all time, but it's Michael Bradley—the previous coach's kid—who has become the face of the U.S. Men's National Team.
Okay, so who is next? Who will be the next face of American soccer heading into the 2014 World Cup and beyond?
There are certainly a lot of choices right now, and the next round of World Cup qualifying will help develop some more legitimate contenders. For now, here are five players that could become household names for the USMNT over the next cycle.
Graham Zusi is already 26 years old but he is still coming into his own, cementing himself as a star in MLS—leading the league in assists this season—and putting himself on the shortlist of the best players plying their trade in America. He's not quite Landon Donovan, but he could be that guy for the national team in the coming years.
Geoff Cameron has had the best year of his career in 2012. He left MLS for Stoke City of the EPL and has become an obvious choice at center back for Jurgen Klinsmann. A good run during World Cup qualifying could land Cameron a starring role on the back line for the next decade.
It's rare that defenders become the face of a team, but the second defensive player on this shortlist is Fabian Johnson, who should solidify the left back position for years to come. Johnson, like Cameron, is extremely comfortable on the ball and can move up to play in the midfield if needed. While Johnson may not have the personality to become the face of the lineup, he could develop into the most reliable player on the field.
Like Johnson, Terrence Boyd is another Klinsmann player who has a chance to make a name for himself with a few more impressive outings. Boyd hasn't been in the lineup much for Klinsmann, but his potential will become too much to ignore. In 14 matches for Rapid Vienna this season, Boyd has seven goals. He has a world of potential, a ton of skill and he is only 21 years old.
I'll admit the last name on the list is a complete roll of the dice, but Juan Agudelo may have the best chance of anyone to become the face of U.S. soccer. It's crazy to think Agudelo is just 19 years old—he turns 20 on Friday—and he's already getting his second chance with the USMNT. He's had a horrible year, but if he can learn from his experience and get stronger, he could be the guy whose jersey everyone lines up to buy.