Team USA Looking Ahead: Five Reasons U.S. Soccer Fans Can Be Excited
American fans are probably disappointed at missing a golden opportunity to get to the semifinals of the World Cup in South Africa (I know I am), but the future does look bright for the Stars and Stripes.
This squad of Americans had many youngsters looking to impress the world.
Some shined, while others not so much.
We can expect, though, that these stars will get better with years of maturation. Americans have a right to be disappointed right now, but they can also look ahead with optimism, as some bright stars look to shine in the World Cups to come.
For many US Soccer fans, Michael Bradley has already matured at the young age of 22 to the point where he can be the general of the national team.
His performances to date have been outstanding. Not only does he have the ability to time good offensive runs, but he is also a strong tackling midfielder.
He has put claims of nepotism to rest with his solid performances not just for his national team, but also for his club.
Jozy Altidore has definitely had his critics in the past. Despite shining in MLS, he struggled at Villareal.
When sent on loan to Hull City of the English Premier League, he only managed one goal in the entire season, albeit against a tough Manchester City side.
This 2010 World Cup has seen Altidore grow from boy to man. He has added speed and technique to his repertoire of physical skills.
Despite missing some clear chances to score goals at this World Cup, Altidore has shown brightly. He will no doubt shine in the coming years.
Charlie Davies was injured in a car crash in October of 2009. However, in the USA's Confederations Cup run in that same year, Davies was one of the Yank's brightest players.
Not only did he score against Egypt, but his speed was a constant trouble for the Spanish defenders, and he also helped set up Landon Donovan score one of the greatest goals in the history of American soccer (against Brazil in the final).
Assuming he recovers (and he most definitely will), Davies could be a breakout forward for club and country.
The chemistry between Altidore and Davies will be a huge asset in the years to come.
Yes, I know, Freddy Adu is a defensive liability. Yes, he can be a bit lazy. Yes, he missed the 2010 World Cup, and didn't play a single minute in the Confederations Cup.
But, Adu has talent. Freddy Adu made his mark on the international stage in the 2007 U-20 World Cup, where he famously led the American team to a 2-1 victory over heavily favored Brazil.
Adu has great technique and is great playing the killer pass. Not only that, but he has an eye for the goal.
If Adu shows the same determination that Charlie Davies has shown to recover from his injury, then U.S. soccer fans have something really big to be excited about.
Jose Francisco Torres was something of a breakout player before this World Cup.
Coming on as a second half sub against Turkey in a warm up game, Torres impressed with his strong tackling, creative distribution, and calmness on the ball.
However, Torres wasn't the answer in the high pressure situation of a World Cup match and that showed, with his somewhat sloppy play against Slovenia.
Torres though, when at his best is a delight to watch, with his defense piercing passes. Torres exudes confidence into his teammates when he's on the pitch.
Plus, he's got plenty of experience with his club, already making it to one Club World Cup with Pachuca and a second one coming up this year.