A very young United States Men's National Soccer team performed above expectations at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
A very young United States Men's National Soccer team performed above expectations at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Credit: iussoccer.com

Jon D. Gaede | BVN Sports

One month after the World Cup Final in Qatar, the US Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) will play two friendly matches in Southern California.

The first against Serbia on January 25th at Banc of California Stadium, home of MLS Champion LAFC, at 7:00 pm, and the second on January 28th versus Colombia at 4.30pm at Dignity Health Sports Park, home of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

A very young United States team performed above expectations at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, playing well enough in the Group Stage with an impressive tie against England, advancing to the round of 16. Led by team captain Tyler Adams (23), whose reliable play on the pitch and mature composure with the press served the Americans well. Each of the young men were the focus of soccer analysts on national television throughout the World Cup.

A more diverse roster in 2022 

The landscape of youth, collegiate and professional soccer has changed dramatically over the past few decades in America. At age 17, Landon Donovan (Redlands East Valley HS) was among the first American-born soccer players to play overseas for Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. Today, there are 17 current USMNT members who make a living playing soccer in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey. The USMNT has become more diverse with 12 Black players on the 2022 World Cup roster.

The landscape of American youth, collegiate and professional soccer has changed dramatically over the past few decades resulting in more diversity on the USMNST. (census.gov).

Among the 2022 World Cup players to play in the upcoming Los Angeles matches will be keeper Sean Johnson, Kellyn Acosta, Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long, including several current younger and upcoming stars who will compete to be part of the next World Cup cycle. FIFA has chosen the United States, Mexico and Canada to host the 2026 World Cup. Although the US lost to a ninth ranked Netherlands side 3-1 in the elimination round, the appetite and expectation for greater success will certainly grow toward 2026.

Jon Gaede

While on assignment for GamePro Magazine in 1996, Jon Gaede met former Black Voice Sports Editor, Leland Stein at a Los Angeles Lakers’ game. They formed a working relationship which has endured for 24 years. In addition to African safaris, theater productions, Footsteps to Freedom Tours with Black Voice News Publisher Emeritus Cheryl Brown, concerts and portraits, Jon’s true passion comes from shooting action sports images. Jon has covered a variety of prep, collegiate and professional sports from track & field to boxing, including six Olympic Games.