If the 2022 World Cup seems a million years away, it's because it's going to feel that way as U.S. national team fans are forced to endure a longer wait than they are used to in order to see their team return to the sport's biggest stage.
The next World Cup is slated to take place in November and December of 2022, adding half a year before we can hope to see American players taking on the world's best in an event U.S. fans grew to take for granted after qualifying for seven straight tournaments.
All that changed in 2017 on a fateful night in Trinidad. The dust has settled since that historic disappointment and the USMNT has a new coach in Gregg Berhalter.
The process of rebuilding the program has begun.
The good news is that there is a considerable amount of young talent on the way up the pipeline – arguably more talent than we have ever seen at once - in MLS and abroad. Christian Pulisic's meteoric rise in Germany has inspired dozens of fellow Americans to make the jump overseas in search of glory, while more and more teenagers are signing deals in MLS.
With that in mind, here is a closer look at the talent pool that will be drawn from to build the next U.S. World Cup — assuming the Americans successfully qualify. The Top 100 is based on a variety of factors, including recent form and high-end potential. This is why some top prospects just beginning their careers are listed ahead of established professionals, and why an elite talent like Giovanni Reyna can be included despite having yet to formally start his professional career.
The list excludes some dual-national players who have reportedly expressed interest in playing for the United States but have yet to fully commit, such as Theoson Siebatcheu and Folarin Balogun, though they could be added eventually if they declare for the USA.
After originally excluding players who will be older than 30 by the next World Cup, we are including older players on the revised rankings. Obviously there should be a few players in their 30s on the 2022 U.S. World Cup squad, but the number of players in their 30s is limited on the list, and players such as Tim Ream, Brad Guzan and Fabian Johnson were left out even though they could very well still have parts to play in the next World Cup qualifying cycle.
The Top 100 has been updated to reflect changes in status after the Gold Cup, a tournament which served to help boost the stock of some players, while also leaving some others sliding down the list.
Here are the Top 100 Americans in the U.S. national team player pool for the 2022 World Cup.