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5 Players USMNT Should Call Up for Copa America Challenge

John D. HalloranContributor IIJuly 8, 2014

5 Players USMNT Should Call Up for Copa America Challenge

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    With the 2014 World Cup now over for the United States men's national team and their head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, thoughts will turn to the future. That includes the 2015 Gold Cup, the 2016 Copa America and qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

    With many key players from the United States' 2014 World Cup run near the end of their careers, Klinsmann will need to begin bleeding young talent into the team sooner rather than later.

    Here are five previously uncapped players that could be ready for the full national team by the time the 2016 Copa America rolls around. 

Honorable Mention

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    USA TODAY Sports

    At the 2014 World Cup, Jurgen Klinsmann went primarily with trusted veterans, including a number of 30-year-olds in DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman and Clint Dempsey.

    Although Klinsmann will probably keep many veterans around in the short-term—for example, winning the 2015 Gold Cup would guarantee U.S. advancement to the 2017 Confederations Cup—none of them will be around come 2018.

    The 2016 Copa America represents the perfect opportunity to begin looking at new talent, something the U.S. has in spades.

    Some previously uncapped Americans who may be able to help the cause include Liverpool's Marc Pelosi, the Colorado Rapids' dynamic duo of Chris Klute and Shane O'Neill, as well as Chicago Fire rookie Harry Shipp.

    A full list of nearly 70 youngsters Klinsmann may be looking at for the 2018 World Cup cycle can be found here

Will Packwood

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    If it were not for an unfortunate leg break in 2013, Will Packwood probably would have already made his USMNT debut by now.

    Packwood has been with English Championship side Birmingham City since he was 14.

    By the time the 2016 Copa America rolls around, he will be 23.

    Packwood already has two seasons as a professional underneath his belt and is a versatile player who can play in the midfield, at right-back or center-back.

    He has represented the United States at the U17, U18 and U20 levels and is already on Klinsmann's radar, having been called up—but not capped—for the national team's game against Ukraine last March. 

Diego Fagundez

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Diego Fagundez is one of the most exciting prospects in Major League Soccer.

    Only 19 years old, Fagundez is already in his fourth season of professional football and has 21 goals and 13 assists in 73 games played.

    He was born in Uruguay and has represented their U20 side, but he's lived in the United States since he was five and is in the process of becoming an American citizen. 

Amobi Okugo

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Amobi Okugo is only 23 years old, but he is already playing in his fifth season for the Philadelphia Union in MLS.

    He can play as either a center-back or defensive midfielder and has previously represented the U.S. at the U17, U18 and U20 levels. 

Darlington Nagbe

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    If Darlington Nagbe were already an American citizen, he would have already seen his first cap for the USMNT. He was born in Liberia, but only lived there until he was five months old.

    His family settled in the U.S. when Nagbe was 11 and he has lived here ever since. He's also married to an American and on track to become a citizen by 2015.

    With the Portland Timbers, Nagbe has become a household name for MLS fans and a YouTube sensation for some of his spectacular goals.

Jack McInerney

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Despite only being 21 years of age, Jack McInerney already has 31 MLS goals, including 10 goals in all competitions in 19 games this season.

    He has previously represented the U.S. at the youth level and was called up, but not used, by the senior team during the 2013 Gold Cup.

     

    Follow me on Twitter @JohnDHalloran

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