14 American and Canadian players that could tear up the 2026 World Cup
The 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico looks like it will be perfectly-timed for some of the rising stars of the USA and Canadian national teams.
While both countries failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they are home to some of the world’s most promising young players.
Looking ahead six years, here are 14 players where – if everything goes to plan – could be a force to be reckoned with come the World Cup on their own patch.
Weston McKennie (Juventus)
Brian McBride, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey. All were good – great, even – players in their day.
But 22-year-old Weston McKennie turning out for Juventus in the Champions League and scoring an acrobatic finish like this away at Barcelona may well signify this new crop is a level above anything America has seen before.
There’s a certain irony in the famously, wonderfully unhurried Andrea Pirlo being the coach to unlock the potential of the all-action midfielder with boundless energy.
Weston McKennie my GOODNESS https://t.co/rvOlrAUIPm
— Back Again W/Troopz Podcast (@backagain) December 8, 2020
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
The trailblazer and great hope for the USMNT, it’s easy to forget that New Jersey’s own Christian Pulisic is still just 22 and has plenty more to offer in the coming years.
He’ll be at the peak age of 27 when the 2026 World Cup comes around. His nation is expecting greatness and he might just deliver.
Chituru Odunze (Leicester City)
Originally from North Carolina, hotly-tipped goalkeeper Chituru Odunze moved to England at a young age but represented the USA at Under-17 and Under-20 level.
Having spent time at Chelsea’s academy as a youth, he spent some of his teenage years back in North America in Calgary, turning out for Vancouver Whitecaps, before returning to these shores last year. He’s now in Leicester City’s youth ranks.
Yunus Musa (Valencia)
The summer firesale at Valencia has given the New York-born, Arsenal academy graduate regular starts in La Liga this season, and it’s an opportunity he’s taking with both hands, having only recently turned 18.
Antonee Robinson (Fulham)
An issue with his medical at Milan in January saw a dream move break down.
He’s since moved to Fulham for a cut-price deal amid Wigan’s administration issues over the summer. Craven Cottage may not be the San Siro, but he’s playing in a major European league and doing pretty well.
Sergino Dest (Barcelona)
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Dest is eligible to represent the United States through his to a Surinamese-American father and represented them at Under-17 and Under-20 level before his senior debut arrived last year.
Having caught the eye at Ajax last season, he’s followed the path trodden by Frenkie de Jong, Frank de Boer and Johan Cruyff himself by making the switch to Barcelona in the summer.
Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
Born in Sunderland while his dad Claudio Reyna was turning out for the Black Cats in the Premier League, following in his footsteps to represent the USMNT. An attacking midfielder, he already looks seriously special.
Don’t take it from us, take it from his Borussia Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland.
“I called him the American dream before and that’s true,” he told reporters in the summer.
“He’s only 17 years old and what he’s doing on the pitch is amazing. He has a huge future in front of him.”
18-year-old American Gio Reyna rifles one in for Dortmund 🎯 pic.twitter.com/IQuvjDUyw5
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 5, 2020
Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig)
With stiff competition from this latest generation of players, few garner as much hype and excitement as the supremely technically-gifted Tyler Adams.
Able to play as a full-back, wing-back or centre-mid, he’s gradually become a key part of the first-team set-up at RB Leipzig and was shown a major faith by playing 90 minutes in their recent 3-3 draw with Bayern Munich.
He’ll be 27 when the World Cup comes to America. On his current trajectory, he could light the tournament up.
Timothy Weah (Lille)
The son of the legendary George Weah, rather than represent Liberia – which his dad is the actual president of – he’s instead opted to play for where he was born and raised.
Having come through PSG’s academy, his pathway to the first-team looked blocked by their stacks of senior elite talent and having spent a short loan spell at Celtic, he’s now at Lille and continuing his development.
It looks a more natural fit for the forward. He’ll be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Eden Hazard, Lucas Digne and Franck Ribery in going from the Ligue 1 outfit to the big-time.
Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona)
He’s yet to break through into Barcelona’s first team but the 19-year-old winger has already made his national team debut. Trust us, he’s going to be mint.
Jonathan David (Lille)
Named ahead of Alphonso Davies as Canada’s Player of the Year for 2019, he was also named in the Best XI in the Gold Cup that summer after finishing top scorer in the tournament, outshining the likes of Raul Jimenez and Pulisic.
He also finished joint top scorer in the Belgian top-flight last season with 18 goals in the curtailed campaign, becoming its most expensive export when he moved to Lille for a reported €30million in the summer.
He’s struggled to be quite as prolific in his early months at the Ligue 1 outfit, but he already looks like an important cog for a side upsetting the odds to challenge PSG at the top of the table.
Liam Millar (Liverpool)
Having been sent out on loan to a couple of stints with Kilmarnock, Liam Miller has since returned to parent club Liverpool and made his debut last January in the FA Cup, leading the line as an academy XI beat Shrewsbury 1-0 in a fourth-round replay at Anfield.
No more have followed, but the 21-year-old already has eight caps for Canada, and the Reds are said to have turned down offers for him in the summer. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
He’s just 20 years old and has already won a treble in his first full campaign in European football.
Not only that, but he was one of Bayern’s standout performers. Poor Nelson Semedo is having nightmares of Davies putting on the afterburners in that 8-2 Champions League quarter-final.
Stephen Eustaquio (Pacos de Ferreira)
Born in Leamington, Ontario to Portuguese parents, the midfielder’s decision to represent Canada rather than Portugal last year raised a lot of eyebrows, with plenty believing him capable of going on to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix and co.
Having broken through at Primeira Liga outfit Chaves three years ago, he’s progression is continuing along nicely in the Portuguese top-flight at Pacos de Ferreira, on a loan deal from Mexican side Cruz Azul.