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Josh Sargent ready for USMNT opportunity ahead of Bolivia match


The past few months have been a major step for Josh Sargent. After shining as a member of the U.S. youth teams, Sargent began his professional career in Germany by signing with Werder Bremen. In the months since, he’s made waves with the club’s youth ranks and looks set for a shot at first team action next season.

Internationally, Sargent is closing in on a senior debut, too. The 18-year-old forward has waited his turn, but it appears the upcoming match against Bolivia could be his first chance to shine in a U.S. Men’s National Team jersey.

Sargent is one of several young headliners on the current USMNT squad ahead of Monday’s match. The squad boasts an average age of 22 with two players, Sargent and Timothy Weah, born in the year 2000.

“We’re all in the same situation, sort of just trying to prove ourselves and trying to find our way into this team,” Sargent said. “I think there’s a lot to look forward to with this group.”

“It’s a great feeling. I’ve been in Germany training as hard as I can every day,” Sargent added. “I didn’t really know the language that well or know any of the guys when I first got into their camp, so it’s a good feeling coming back here where I’m familiar with most of the guys.”

Sargent’s potential USMNT debut comes almost exactly a year after his big breakout. The young forward was the youngest player included on the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team’s World Cup roster, and he responded by scoring four goals. Sargent then rejoined the U.S. U-17s for their World Cup in the fall, scoring three more goals while joining Freddy Adu as the only Americans to play at the two World Cups in one year.

Sargent earned his first USMNT call-up in November, joining the squad against Portugal. However, with a number of more experienced options on the bench, the youngster didn’t earn his first senior appearance.

This time around, it looks like that won’t be the case. Sargent is one of just two pure forwards on the roster, joining Andrija Novakovich. Players like Julian Green, Rubio Rubin and Weah can also play the position, but Sargent sees an opportunity for himself heading into Monday’s Bolivia match.

USMNT interim boss Dave Sarachan also sees an opportunity for the 18-year-old forward.

“As a striker, he’s shown great promise at the higher youth levels in World Cup play,” Sarachan said of Sargent. “I feel physically he has the power and strength to play at this level; now it’s a question of can he adapt to the speed of play and physicality at the senior international level?

“The way he stepped into the U-20 squad just before the World Cup last year showed how he’s able to handle some bigger challenges, and so we thought this was a prime opportunity to give him an extended look with our senior team.”

It remains to be seen how Sarachan looks to handle the forward position. The coach said both Sargent and Novakovich are “smart guys” that understand they’re competing for that spot on Monday. Still, he did leave the possibility open of playing a two-striker formation, although that would more likely feature someone like Rubin or Green as a more mobile creator.

Sargent, meanwhile, is just looking to prove himself once again. He did so at the U-17 level and once again at the U-20s. By all accounts, he’s done so with Werder Bremen’s youth teams as he moves closer to the first team this summer. And now, he’s looking to make a strong opening statement with the U.S. Men’s National Team while looking to become the next generation’s starting No. 9.

“I’m not trying to think about that as much,” Sargent said. “I’m just trying to come out here, play as hard as I can and see what the coach tells me.

“I don’t know how it’s going to go,” he added. “I know there are a lot of guys here that can play forward so I’m just going to try my hardest and see how it goes.”


  1. Being an internationally well-known player by age 18 is not a guarantee of future success. Many things go into that, maturity (or lack of it), speed of thought, strength, injuries, personal problems, ability to handle scrutiny by the press, ability to work hard, etc. Many of those are not in anyone’s control or are possible to predict with any accuracy. Some of these guys will be on the next US men’s W.C. squad, many will not. Still, it will be fun to watch.

  2. I’m all for youth but didn’t Julian Green get rushed into things. Haven’t they learned, and what’s the difference?

    • Green & Sargent are two totally different cases/situations.
      Sargent worked his way up the US Youth teams and has been around many of the players in this camp before at different levels/times. He’s more familiar with these players than Green was in 2014.
      Sargent has previously been in a Sr. Camp, although he didn’t make the game-day roster. So again the coaches have had some hands on time with him previous to now.
      If Sargent gets game minutes during this camp he’ll still need to prove himself a viable option in the future to maintain a roster spot. He’ll have to prove he can contribute to his club & the national team in friendlies for nearly a year before getting minutes in a competitive “A” match.
      Green was rushed into the team right before the WC. He had to file a 1 time switch and had never interacted with his teammates before his 1st camp & cap (no US Youth Teams). He was capped during his 1st team camp, and made the WC squad 2 weeks later. He was even able to contribute to the WC team on the field.
      Green’s inconsistent club situation/minutes dropped him from consideration….Hopefully Sargent won’t have the same struggles, but if he does I’d expect him to dropped from consideration too.

      • My point was a kid with basically no pro mins is fast tracked to senior team. I like green and think should get a shot and like Sergeant but people need to pump the breaks on expectations

    • Difference is this isn’t a World Cup, it’s not even the Gold Cup, it’s a friendly where he can test himself without pressure. If he shines fantastic, we have a star. If he doesn’t, no worries kid go back to Bremen and keep working hard. Also a couple other teenagers, McKinnie and someone named Pulisic seem to be doing just fine.

      Not every youth star develops but the only way to find out is to play them.

      • CP and Mckennie play first team mins and are important parts of their club the comparison to Sargent is a bad one. Look I like the kid but wait till we see something on a pro level

  3. I get we don’t have a coach, but presently the effort level behind changing our qualification fortunes is tepid and rote. Standard club/country juggling. Players left out because their team is playing in MLS and it’s not an international date. etc.

    But these are not normal times. We just missed qualifying. Why not announce an ambitious multiweek multigame player camp with 30 or so people, like we were going to Russia or Gold Cup? And hammer out an agreement with entities like MLS in service of national interests?

    Cause, while I expect some more traction as a GM and coach are hired, we’re just kind of going through the motions. Schedule some games. Didn’t even seem to consider whether those games were well-calibrated to the talent evaluation a coach would need to make, or are like throwing young players in the deep end. And then for a team that just missed qualification, to be chugging along with business as usual, “well, FIFA rules,” seems a little color inside the lines to me. Why not get more ambitious like we care, and maybe shame teams that tried to withhold players?

    • I bring this up because to me a player like Sargent would be best handled in terms of a longer camp and incrementally upped participation in the team. Lots of time for chemistry building, and no rush to get him on the field for a given friendly. Particularly for a guy with no first team history, it might be useful to have longer to camp him and get an idea what we are dealing with, and then play him 10 minutes’ cameo at the end of one game, maybe more if he earns it, maybe not if he needs seasoning.

      • Players that stay for all three matches will be with the team for three weeks. Players coming off the Euro season will be better off resting in June and being rested and fresh to compete for minutes at their clubs than extra ten days. Also about half the guys considered now won’t even be in the picture 4 years from now due to form, injury, or off field issues so building chemistry now is not the most important.

    • I have a hunch more than half of the young ones will survive the process of elimination and will be solid USMNT caliber players. I think Sargent, Mckennie, Novacovich, Weah, Parks, Adams, Miazga, CCV, EPB will make it. that’s 9 players!

      • Unlikely all nine will make it through the next years without significant injury through in at least one or two taking a bad transfer and getting a manager that doesn’t value them and that number quickly dwindles. Look at the first couple of rosters after the 2014 WC how many of those guys are still around?

    • While I can see your point of view….wanting a longer camp with our best players in order to give them a chance to build some on-field chemistry/understanding and evaluate what their level of play is at.
      The good news is that the bulk of our best prospects for the future could be participating for all 3 matches and therefore be in camp together for 3 weeks. Only Yedlin, Moore, Brooks, and a couple fringe guys from Europe/Mexico won’t be present for the 1st game.
      The omission of the MLS players so far, basically means that only Adams, Steffens, Jozy and a couple additional fringe guys won’t be there.

      The fact that we’re still operating without a full time coach means that the games since Bruce left are only worthwhile as a means to showcase individual abilities. Until we have a new coach and they devise a preferred formation and style there’s no telling which players will fit what they are attempting to achieve. Therefore all these games have done/will do is provide a way to get tape on how players interact with one-another, how they could potentially fit into different schemes, and show what potential is coming up through the ranks (maybe helping to USSF sell the job to a desired coach).

      Tons of tape already exists on Jozy, Bradley, Guzan, and the rest of the potential hold-overs. While nearly none exists with one the players called into this camp.

      When the new coach is actually hired the whole process will basically start over for both Veterans & Prospects.

      • My whole point is the lack of a coach, or a player camp, or other initiative or ambition, is a rather tepid response to missing out. Has everyone forgot the idea of a tournament for eliminated teams? There are some good ones. Yes, the new generation may lift the team just by showing up. A new coach when picked may help us get there. But so far it’s uninspired and rote. Part of the US problem is it’s very “going through the motions.”

        The US does long camps for younger youth players. Teams with less of a domestic league who get ambition, or are hosting, sometimes have such camps. We used to have such camps before 90 or 94. Well, we’re not in the world cup, why not go back to acting like we need to go the extra mile?

    • It’s not 90 or 94 anymore where guys aren’t with clubs and getting matches and training year round. I don’t know why you say there isn’t a camp, they have been in Philly all week and will spend two weeks in Europe. They are doing exactly what you are saying they should do except they aren’t calling it the “He Believes Cup”.


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