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Pulisic's Premier League move and 10 things for U.S. fans to look forward to in 2019

20:00 GMT+3 31/12/2018
Christian Pulisic USMNT 11152018
For the most part, 2018 was a trying year for U.S. soccer fans, but there is plenty to look forward to in 2019

  • Christian Pulisic USA

    #1 Pulisic's Premier League transfer

    The smoke is there, but when will we see the fire?

    Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with a move for Christian Pulisic, with the latest reports having the Blues offering €50 million (£45m/$57m) to land the Borussia Dortmund winger. 

    The expectations for Pulisic are and have been massive in the USA, and the transfer to one of the Premier League's top sides would be a logical next step. And there is reason to believe, with the money being talked about, that wherever he goes Pulisic will, at the very least, be given the chance to prove his worth. 

    Pulisic's transfer, or rumors of a transfer for the youngster, opens the year as the biggest story in U.S. soccer. If it comes through, how he fares with a new club will immediately become a hot topic of conversation, and if it doesn't the rumors will continue to fly. 

  • Alex Morgan Megan Rapinoe USWNT Concacaf 2018

    #2 The USWNT and the Women's World Cup

    If you're a fan of U.S. soccer you probably already know this, but the U.S. women's national team will be playing for a World Cup title in 2019, and they will enter the tournament as the team to beat. 

    While 2018 was a disappointment for the U.S. men's national team, the USWNT rolled to one of the best years it has ever put together. Alex Morgan was scoring goals for fun and looks to be the best player she's ever been, and the team went unbeaten through a year that included winning efforts at three tournaments. 

    The USWNT won their third World Cup title in 2015, drawing massive TV ratings for the final against Japan, and will be looking to make it four with another strong showing in France next summer. 

  • Verratti Acosta Italy USA

    #3 USMNT return to competition

    It's been a while right? 

    The U.S. national team has not played a competitive match since that night in Trinidad that we're just not going to talk about. It's been more than a year, and by the time the USMNT takes the pitch to open the Gold Cup, nearly two years will have passed since last the side played in a meaningful match. 

    The Concacaf Nations League will follow, so there will be plenty of action - the real kind - to help us all forget about the bland friendly-fest that was 2018. 

    And......

  • Gregg Berhalter USMNT 12042018

    #4 Gregg Berhalter takes charge of USMNT

    Along with returning to competitive action, USMNT fans will get a nice long look at how this team will play under new boss Gregg Berhalter. 

    The first look will come at the end of January against Panama, with Costa Rica to follow in early February, but by the end of the summer there should be a real understanding of what the team will look like under the former Columbus Crew boss. 

    Will it be a drastically different team to the one we saw in 2017 and 2018? Can Berhalter bring the brand of attacking soccer most fans have been craving? 

    Nobody knows yet, and that's part of what has us salivating over the prospects of 2019. 

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic LA Galaxy

    #5 More Zlatan

    There was a moment there where it looked like all we would get of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was one year in MLS

    Honestly, it wasn't going to be enough. 

    Ibrahimovic came into the league sporting a type of arrogance, grace and brilliance that MLS has lacked from day one. He was simply brilliant, and a full year with the Galaxy - along with a full offseason - promises to be special. Even if the big Swede slows down (he's shown no signs of this happening) and can't produce the brilliance on the field, another year of interviews is worth the price of admission. 

  • Tyler Adams Red Bulls Best XI collage

    #6 Tyler Adams at RB Leipzig

    The flow of American players to Germany has been steady over the last decade or so, and Tyler Adams will be the next player with a chance to make his name in the Bundesliga

    It's a brilliant chance for a player chalked full of potential, with Leipzig​ sitting fourth in the Bundesliga table and fighting for a Champions League spot. 

    Adams has a skillset that should translate well to the German top flight and watching his progression over the next year should be something of great interest to USMNT fans. 

  • Federico Higuain Wil Trapp Columbus Crew

    #7 Birth and rebirth in Ohio

    2019 is a birth and rebirth for soccer in Ohio. FC Cincinnati is set to enter MLS after proving itself both on and off the field in the USL. Meanwhile, just over 100 miles south, the Columbus Crew are, in a way, reborn following a trying season that saw the club saved.

    The Crew's rich history has been preserved by new ownership, and new grand plans for a downtown stadium. Following a full year of off-the-field politicking and ensuing uncertainty, the Club here to stay as the team heads into what genuinely feels like Crew 2.0.

    Meanwhile, just north, FC Cincy takes the leap, joining MLS with a number of familiar faces leading the charge. They've thrived in the USL, but now they'll have to prove themselves in a world where expectations for expansion signs have risen astronomically.

    Two teams, big changes and now, a Hell is Real derby. 2019 will be a special year for Ohio soccer.

  • Alex Mendez USA U20s 11122018

    #8 U-20 World Cup

    The U.S. U-20s cruised their way through Concacaf, and expectations are high heading into this summer's U-20 World Cup.

    Tab Ramos' side blitzed their way through World Cup qualifying, winning the Concacaf tournament for just the second time while outscoring opponents 46-2. Alex Mendez, Ulysses Llanez and Ayo Akinola all shined in a tournament where the U.S. was, for lack of a better word, dominant.

    That team was also missing a number of age-eligible players, like Josh Sargent and Timothy Weah, who have been making waves with the senior team. Concacaf qualifying showed this age group is much deeper than that, with a number of players boosting their stock considerably heading towards this summer's tournament.

    It remains to be seen who heads to Poland in May but, no matter which way you look at it, the U.S. will hope to make a deep run once again. 

  • Giovanni Reyna NYCFC 08152018

    #9 U-17s eye summer glory

    The U-20s aren't the only American youth national team eyeing a shot at glory this summer.

    Player like Gio Reyna, Gianluca Busio and George Bello give the U.S. plenty of starpower heading into their own qualifying tournament. Reyna, in particular, is seen as a future star for the USMNT, and his presence alone should generate excitement around what should be an exciting team.

    That team recently put together a solid run through the Nike International Friendlies, although their spot at the World Cup will have to be earned at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship.

    If they do book that trip to Peru, the U-17s provide another glimpse into the future of American soccer.

  • Josh Sargent Werder Bremen RB Leipzig

    #10 Sargent's growth

    Josh Sargent has seemingly got a headstart on life in the Bundesliga. Already with two goals to his name, it wasn't supposed to come this soon for the 18-year-old striker.

    But it has, and that means expectations are high heading into 2019.

    Werder Bremen clearly think very highly of Sargent, who has scored two goals in three matches for the German side. Even now at the senior level, Sargent has shown an innate ability to show up in the right place at the right time, and the instinct has translated across every level in which he's played.

    Sargent is seemingly rising to the challenge and, with forward still a weaker position for the USMNT, Sargent's growth over the coming years will be vital.