USMNT ‘are too young to be afraid’ and ‘the BEST we’ve ever had,’ says Leeds boss Jesse Marsch

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USMNT ‘is too young to be afraid’ and ‘the BEST we’ve ever had,’ warns Leeds’ American boss Jesse Marsch, as he claims Qatar World Cup is just a ‘stepping stone’ for when USA hosts in 2026!

Leeds United’s American coach Jesse Marsch has penned an emotional essay espousing hope for the youthful USMNT ahead of their imminent World Cup campaign in Qatar.

The United States first face Wales on Monday afternoon, before a Black Friday clash with England, and finish off the group stage against Iran on November 29. 

While many fear the US disappointing at the tournament, Marsch — who represented his country twice and was an assistant on the 2010 World Cup team — sees promise in both the immediate and long-term future. 

He praised US coach Gregg Berhalter and the governing body for putting their trust in youth

Leeds United’s American manager Jesse Marsch is hopeful ahead of the World Cup in Qatar

‘This US team has a chance to be inspiring again. That’s the best thing that can happen for our sport,’ Marsch said in a guest column for The Athletic.

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The United States have the equal-second youngest squad in Qatar, with an average age of 24, which bodes well for the highly-important home tournament — shared with Canada and Mexico — in 2026.  

‘They won’t want to talk about it right now, but in reality, this World Cup is a stepping stone for the team,’ he wrote.

‘We all want to see the team do really well now, but everyone back home is looking at 2026 and imagining what this can really become when the World Cup comes back to the US’

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Christian Pulisic is the undoubted star of the USMNT heading into this month’s tournament 

While expectations might be relatively low, the MLS legend believes there is a world wherein the USMNT contend in their own backyard. 

‘It’s a foolish thing to even say out loud, but can we be contenders at home? To even say that out loud is ridiculous. But we do think this is a golden generation of players. 

‘We do think that — on pure potential — this is the best group we’ve ever had. So can they develop and grow in a way where, in three and a half years, they can be talked about as semi-finalists? Finalists?’

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Marsch, who has Leeds sitting 15th in the Premier League, praised US coach Gregg Berhalter and the governing body for putting their trust in youth. 

Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna and Leeds United's Brenden Aaronson will also be integral

Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna and Leeds United’s Brenden Aaronson will also be integral

Leeds' Tyler Adams

Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie

Leeds’ Tyler Adams (L) and Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie are pivotal players for USA

‘Gregg and the federation committed entirely to young players and now when you look at it, of course achieving qualification was a must given the fact we missed out in 2018, but if this group can do well in this tournament, you can use it as a springboard for 2026,’ Marsch wrote. 

‘It was really well done and really well thought-out and it gives us a chance to be better in 2026. 

‘And youth doesn’t have to be a detriment. They’re too young to be afraid. Too young to know any better.’

Just one player on the 26-man roster, MLS and Inter Miami star DeAndre Yedlin has been to the World Cup with numerous veterans left out at the expense of the US’ exuberant, potential-filled group. 

The United States begin their World Cup campaign against Wales on Monday afternoon ET. Yunus Musah and Luca de la Torre (front) during training at Al Gharafa SC Stadium

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The United States begin their World Cup campaign against Wales on Monday afternoon ET. Yunus Musah and Luca de la Torre (front) during training at Al Gharafa SC Stadium

Cameron Carter-Vickers (L) and Antonee Robinson take a selfie with fans in practice this week

Cameron Carter-Vickers (L) and Antonee Robinson take a selfie with fans in practice this week

Utilizing the experience of Premier League players Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson, Antonee Robinson, Matt Turner and Tim Ream will be key — particularly against the English on November 25. 

The US’ last appearance at a World Cup came in South Africa where a dogged, ‘fearless’ team topped a group consisting of England, Slovenia and Algeria. 

Those qualities exist within this latest iteration of the USMNT, according to Marsch. 

Whether they can piece this together with requisite tactical application and energy will be revealed within the next 11 days. 

The US fan base should feel positive about what is next to come, according to the Leeds boss

The US fan base should feel positive about what is next to come, according to the Leeds boss

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