On July 2, 2007, for a friendly against China, Carlos Bocanegra wore the US captain’s armband for the first time. And since, he has been Bob Bradley’s first choice.
Having just celebrated his 32nd birthday, Bocanegra’s career is likely closer to its end than its beginning. And as the team continually fails to reach expectations, it may be time to think about who will be heir to the armband.
He’s rarely seen cracking a smile and always seems to play through injuries. It’s Dempsey’s intensity and toughness that is practically unrivaled in today’s game. And really, what more could you ask for in the leader of your squad?
How about someone who has been able to consistently create and convert on scoring chances? In the Gold Cup, Dempsey led the Yanks with three goals and in the final against Mexico was able to assist on their second goal with a beautifully threaded pass to Donovan in the box.
Other than Donovan and Brian McBride, Dempsey’s also the only American to score in two different World Cup tournaments.
As long as his father is calling the shots, Bradley definitely seems to have a chance to become the next captain. Ever since Bob has been manager, Michael has been a main-stay in the US lineup.
He’s only 23 years old, but with 59 caps he has much more international experience than any other American his age.
It could be attributed to nepotism, but to his credit, Bradley has come up big for the US. Let’s not forget, Bradley scored both goals in a 2-0 game against Mexico in February 2009.
He also scored the game-tying goal late against Slovenia in last year’s World Cup. Bradley even captained the team for their first match after the World Cup, a friendly against Brazil last August
Like Bocanegra, Howard is on the wrong side of 30. However, like a good commander, Howard is not afraid to be vocal and wear his emotion on his sleeve.
When the situation presents itself, Howard’s not afraid to let the defense, and even CONCACAF, hear it.
Howard plays club for Everton in the Premier League and has made the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper list in 2009 and 2010.
Also, who can forget the outlet pass he made to Donovan in the waning minutes of last year's World Cup match against Algeria that started a fast break and led to the winning goal? Howard is truly world class.
Being older than Bocanegra by a few months, it seems unlikely that Cherundolo would be next in line to get the armband. However, he does have plenty of international experience and knows a little something about being a captain.
Hannover 96, his club team, whom he’s played for since 1999, appointed Cherundolo captain at the beginning of this last season.
Under his guidance, Die Roten finished fourth in the Bundesliga, a much better result than the 15th place finish they posted the year before.
Really? Yes. He may not be the next captain, but he could definitely sport the armband sometime down the road. Also, Bocanegra seems to have a few more years left in the tank, which would give Altidore, who is only 21 years old, more time to develop into a team leader.
In this year’s Gold Cup, Altidore did play a crucial role in the group stage, scoring the opening goal against Canada and rocketing home the only goal in a narrow 1-0 victory over Guadalupe.
If he hadn’t pulled his hamstring against Jamaica, it makes you wonder whether the result against Mexico would have been any different (with their defense, probably not).
He's the face of American soccer. He was chosen to don the No. 10. He has more caps than any other active American male, second all time to Cobi Jones.
Yeah, it seems pretty obvious that Donovan will be Bocanegra’s successor.