Predicting the U.S. Roster for the 2026 World Cup
After one win at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, the United States men’s national team is beginning its buildup to another home World Cup. It will be the second time America has hosted a World Cup, and things are incredibly different since 1994.
One is the great improvement of soccer around the country and the U.S. national team. So, we take a look at how the USMNT 2026 World Cup roster could look.
Could We See Any New Youngsters?
Predicting who could make it to the next World Cup for those playing with the national under-20 soccer team is simply guesswork with so many things set to change in four years.
But unlike in 1994, when the U.S. last hosted the World Cup, there are now a bunch of youngsters playing in Europe.
Kevin Paredes is just one of the many names spotted by the giants of German soccer, as the American plies his trade with Wolfsburg. Paredes has played in more than 50% of Bundesliga games this season and he is likely going to become an integral part of Woflsburg's future.
As a 6-foot-1 forward, Malick Sanogo has already caught the attention of Premier League sides, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, after scoring 16 goals and registering seven assists in 21 games for Union Berlin U19s. After being named in The Guardian's "Next Generation" list for 2021, it feels like only a matter of time until we see this 18-year-old play for the senior team.
Sebastian Soto has made his mark on the U.S. senior squad with two goals in a friendly against Panama in 2020. At 22, he hasn't played for the USMNT for a while, but he is another name to consider for the future.
Twenty-one-year-old Johnny Cardoso is in the same situation, having played for the national team four times already. He has been impressing and playing regularly for Internacional in Brazil for several years and if his form can continue to be so positive, he could be ready to play at the 2026 World Cup at 25.
Sam Vines of Antwerp missed the U.S. squad at the 2022 World Cup because of injury, but at 23, he will likely be included in the squad, too, if he can continue to impress in Europe.
Another notable name is Tanner Tessmann, who stands at 6-3 and plays in Italy with Venezia. The Serie B club is struggling in 2022, but if he can continue to impress in Europe at his age, Tessmann could find himself on the roster for the 2026 World Cup.
For the players currently playing in the U.S., Diego Luna of Real Salt Lake already has three goals in 10 appearances for the under-20 team from midfield, while Caden Clark has two in eight caps. These two will likely be regular first-team players for their clubs in the near future, while players like Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy) and Brian Gutierrez (Chicago Fire) are already likely on the radar of the senior squad with their excellent performances for the under-20 team so far.
Alejandro Alvarado is another midfielder who we expect to see make his way into the senior setup over the coming years, as he has been playing often for Portuguese team, Vizela.
Out of all the stars coming through the US soccer ranks, Paxten Aaronson stole the show. The midfielder is looking to follow in the footsteps of his successful brother, who plays for Leeds United and the senior team. After getting a call-up to the United States national under-20 team, where he scored seven goals in seven games at the 2022 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, he won both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot Awards at the tournament.
Quinn Sullivan is another star to note coming through the ranks of the United States under-20 team, scoring 10 goals in 13 games. More impressively, he has played 42 times for the Philadelphia Union and with five assists for the U.S. under-20 team, too, a call-up to the senior team is surely over the horizon for Sullivan.
Who on the 2022 Roster Won’t Make it?
As the bulk of the U.S. squad at the Qatar 2022 World Cup was under the age of 25, we expect most of the names on that roster to make it onto the 2026 list. Some names, however, might not.
Matt Turner was the No. 1 goalkeeper at the 2022 World Cup and will be 32 at the time of the 2026 World Cup, so he should still be the main man in goal. Backup keeper, Sean Johnson, will be 37, however, and might not make it. What’s more, Aaron Long of the New York Red Bulls will be 34 and will have to do a lot to make it to the 2026 finals.
DeAndre Yedlin has 77 caps for the U.S. now, but he will be 33 and he continues to be put under pressure by young stars like Sergiño Dest, which means Yedlin is also going to have to do something special to make the 2026 roster.
Tim Ream is all but guaranteed to be absent at the age of 39 in 2026, but Cristian Roldan should be ready to go and may even be at the peak of his soccer powers. Roldan is 27 right now and continues to be one of the superstars of the MLS, although he will be 31 in 2026. But if he can stay healthy and continue to impress, he should be even better in 2026.
Kellyn Acosta — a recent MLS Cup winner with Los Angeles FC — is in the same situation. He has 55 caps at 27, but he has been getting better and better in recent years and should be on the 2026 roster.
With 11 goals in 51 caps for the U.S., Jordan Morris is already finding himself being pushed away from the starting XI with the likes of Jesús Ferreira, Gio Reyna, Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah and Christian Pulisic all under the age of 25. Morris will be 32 in 2026, and with the youngsters already playing for the U.S., the Seattle Sounders star could struggle to argue his case in 2026.
World Cup 2026 U.S. Futures Odds
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