Despite a break in competitive matches for the Men’s and Women’s teams, there is still plenty to be kept up-to-date on in American soccer. With the USWNT facing a world class Canadian team twice over the next week, a host of new faces set to feature in the men’s squad against Portugal on Thursday and a lineup of challengers queuing up to replace Sunil Gulati as USSF President, talking points are in no short supply. Let’s talk!
- Former US Soccer Player and current NBC Premier League analyst Kyle Martino announced his candidacy for USSF President on Monday. He laid out the pillars of his campaign via Twitter, including a pledge to step down from the position should the men’s team fail to make the 2022 World Cup or the 2026 quarterfinals, or if the the women’s team fail to make the semifinal round in 2023.
- The man who sent the US to their first World Cup in 40 years in ‘89 has also announced his candidacy for USSF President. Paul Caliguiri made official announcement on Friday, calling the present situation a moment of “transformational change” and highlighting his main goals – winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the 2022 Men’s World Cup.
- This race is getting crowded. In what was seen as a surprise announcement, current USSF Vice President Carlos Cordeiro joined the ever-growing race to replace Gulati as well. Cordeiro laid out his vision for the federation to voters last week, with a vision to increase the organization’s $100 million budget five times over.
- Youth soccer development guru Tom Byer is coming back home after spending decades playing and teaching the sport in Japan. Byer has built a legendary reputation in Japan, and he’s been credited with developing a generation of Japanese talent including stars Shinji Kagawa and Aya Miyama. As part of a contract with US Soccer, he’ll be implementing his Soccer Starts at Home strategy to better improve the technical skills of children in the country starting at ages as young as 2 years old.
- In the midst of an MLS playoff run, Clint Dempsey made his first public comments on the USMNT’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Deuce noted that now might be a good time to reevaluate the program from top to bottom, including playing style and youth development.
- Speaking of Deuce, the striker added two more goals to his impressive club tally to help the Seattle Sounders move past the Vancouver Whitecaps into the Western Conference Finals. Dempsey’s heart problems kept him out of the club’s MLS Cup win last year, so don’t be surprised to see Deuce making up for lost time this go around.
- Despite his club falling to Bayern Munich 3-1 on Saturday, Christian Pulisic was causing waves internationally for his performance in Der Klassiker. Pundits noted that the winger was the sole bright spot for BVB, with Bayern legend Lothar Matthaus even suggesting he should be Munich’s next transfer target. In the game, Pulisic completed the most one-v-ones of any player in the Bundesliga this season. Oh yeah, and he megged Arjen Robben. HE’S 19.
- With a friendly against Portugal on the horizon next week and no competitive matches for nearly two years, some new and fresh faces have been called in to the USMNT squad. Interim coach Dave Sarachan announced his 21-man roster that gives us a small glimpse into to the future with the inclusion a number of young yanks like Josh Sargent and Cameron Carter Vickers. Click below to check out the full roster.
- Let’s keep our eyes on the future. 20-year-old Shaq Moore made his La Liga debut for Levante over the weekend. The right back went 18 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Girona on the heels of his first senior team appearance in the Copa del Rey earlier in the week.
- Although he hasn’t featured in the squad since 2016, we’d be remiss not to mention that Kyle Beckerman chopped of his dreads that he’s had since Pulisic was a first grader.
- Jill Ellis has named her 23-women roster, which will be looking to finish the year strong in two friendlies against Canada this week (Tickets available here). Adrianna Franch, Emily Sonnett and Chioma Ubogagu make up the new additions since the team dominated two matches against South Korea last month. Crystal Dunn (club obligations), Mallory Pugh (injury), Morgan Brian (injury) and Rose Lavelle (injury) will miss out. Click below to see the full roster below.
- In case you missed it, Lindsey Horan’s close-range rip proved to be decisive in the NWSL Championship last month. The goal helped the Portland Thorns defeat North Carolina Courage to lift their second cup in four years.
And there’s your AO talking points for this week. Check back in next week to see what we’re talking about!