The FIFA World Cup, what many around the world crown as the king of world competitions. The weight of entire nations is sometimes on these players to perform.
Like the case of Andrés Escobar in 1994. Colombian captain Andrés Escobar was the star defender for the “Golden Age” of Colombian football during the 1994 World Cup which was played in the United States. In a game where Colombia played none other than the United States.
The location was Pasadena and with 93,000 in a packed rose bowl the game was one that had lives hanging in the balance. After Colombia lost in a surprising defeat to Romania, this game against the U.S. was a must win.
It was the 35th minute when midfielder John Harkes sent in a cross that Escobar, for the first time in his career, put in his own net. This one mistake would later cost Escobar his life. Escobar was murdered in cold blood July 2nd 1994 on his way home from a Medellín nightclub. This coming only a week and a half after the 2-1 loss to the U.S., the 1994 World Cup was still being played when the news broke.
The fact that Colombians cared so much about a team meant that it was more than football to them. This team carried the pride of an entire nation. This team was more than a “If we lose, I’ll be sad all day Monday.” A loss for this team would mean some Colombians would not have food to eat for a week.
During the time of the 1994 World Cup Pablo Escobar had just been sentenced to prison but the drug trade and high stakes gambling was still a large part of Colombian culture. This in turn, from what we know, played a role in the death of Andrés Escobar.
The World Cup tournament that is played every four years to some countries is more than a showcase of talent and something fun to watch. If the United States Men’s National Team is to ever to win a World Cup, they will need the raw passion that is required– and what better place than on our home soil. The site for the 2026 World Cup is set to be here in North America. The United States of America will host the majority while neighboring Canada and Mexico will partake jointly. The final decision for host cities is set to be announced later this summer but many venues could be very interesting to see. These include Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium and Dallas’ AT&T Stadium.
This will all play into the hands of the United States Men’s National Team who is producing young talent that is playing all across the globe. With many of those players hitting their prime in 2026. Players by the names of:
Christian Pulisic, 21. Already a big name with close to a $60 Million move to Chelsea. Going forward, Pulisic would be our most skilled player, being able to accelerate past defenders with ease as well as possessing control and finishing to finish it off. He would be a perfect creator in the middle of the field but could also play on the left.
Weston McKennie, 21. With Pulisic being the creator, you will need someone on the back end to clean up with defensive responsibility. This is the perfect job for the aggressive hard nosed Texan McKennie.
Josh Sargent, 20. Without seeing much of Sargent he is still on the fringe of this team. The flashes we have seen are a poacher’s goal since much like a Clint Dempsey and a good finishing ability. He has yet to showcase his ability in the German Bundesliga but he comes with a lot of promise.
Sergiño Dest, 19. Our one defender of the list who does not operate as a defender (from what I have seen). Dest was one of the most sought after fullbacks in all of Europe in 2019. He had the choice of becoming a Netherlands national team player but saw the U.S. as a place that needed him. And maybe he saw what I am seeing right now. With the Netherlands being a historically good footballing nation he might have to work many years to maybe earn a spot. With the U.S. he would be able to come in and secure a spot on an up-and-coming team.
Conclusion: With ages 21, 20 and 19 we won’t see their full potential for a few years but these are a few to keep in mind. What is also interesting to see is that these are not the only young guns I wanted to include on this list. There are countless others that are just as good and could become better than anyone in this group. Will the United States Men’s National Team see it’s “Golden Years” soon? I am optimistic. Will we have something to prove in 2026? You bet your sweet ass we do.