The 2026 World Cup for the USMNT

World Cup stadium

World Cup stadium

Hannah R.

After their absence from the World Cup for eight years, the US Men’s National Team had an astonishing run in the 2022 tournament, but 2026 is looking even better.


The US team went into the 2022 tournament as absolute underdogs, but they were able to shock the world throughout the group stage. England faced the US in the 2nd game of the group stage, and the US genuinely shocked everyone by the final 0-0 tie. Following the team’s back to back draws against England and Wales, the squad quickly found themselves in a knock-out environment game early against Iran. 


Hometown hero of Hershey, Pennsylvania, Christian Pulisic led the squad to a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute of the matchup. Pulisic gave the country a quick scare after the goal as he went down, but after multiple whistles, fouls and a nerve-wracking 9 minutes of overtime, the group maintained the lead and locked down Iran, advancing to the round of 16 against the Netherlands.


While the US maintained 59% of possession with more opportunities on goal, the Americans fell to the Dutch with a 3-1 deficit. The emotions shown on the faces of the US players, coaches and fans show the disappointment and embarrassment that might have been found from the loss. The players of the US went into the game fighting until the last seconds, but overall heartbroken the young team’s World Cup journey came to an end. 


The 2022 World Cup run for the squad was an extremely beneficial learning experience, as the team will come back better than ever on home grounds in 2026. The hard work, determination, support and heartbreak will be able to help this team improve for the hosting of the 2026 World Cup.


The 2022 run helped the US change the view of soccer, which was one of the main goals within the group going into the tournament. With the team’s overall 14th place finish, it will still be inspirational to the next generation. Tyler Adams, 23-year-old captain of the squad, was the first ever African American to lead the World Cup team in US Soccer history. This year, the World Cup was more than just soccer to the USA.


While there are still three and a half years until the US hosts the next World Cup, it is likely that many familiar faces from this year’s roster will return in 2026. With the team being the 2nd youngest in the tournament this year, the team will be able to grow a bit older and stronger, while still maintaining a young squad. Heading into the 2022 world cup, the team averaged 25 years old. 


If the entire 2022 team was to attend the 2026 World Cup, 35-year-old Tim Ream, a left- back or center-back for the team, would still be the oldest at 38 years old. While it is unlikely to see Ream on the pitch, the possibility is still there.

 Along with the three current 19-year-olds on the team with an astonishing amount of talent, who will at most be reaching 23 years old by the time of the first whistle of 2026.


Key players Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKinnie should still continue to lead the team to success within the next few years.


Pulisic, the 24-year-old star winger, will only be 27 by the 2026 World Cup. 


Along with Pulisic, captain and talented defensive midfielder Tyler Adams and outside midfielder Weston Mckennie will also be reaching 27-years-old. On the back line, star outside back Sergiño Dest will only be 25. 


Along with the stars on the starting 11, there comes the bench. 


Brenden Aaronson, a young attacking midfielder and winger from Medford, New Jersey, is a huge player to keep an eye on over the next few years. With his quick feet and incredible skill, Aaronson is playing for Leeds United in the Premier league, along with Adams.


Cameron Carter-Vickers, who was a starting center back against England in the group stage, has an immense amount of potential to carry through to the 2026 world cup and make a huge impact. 


Americans can also prepare to see new players coming up from the next generation, and those valuable players that were cut from the World Cup roster this year to make their comeback.


While the players look certain, the head coach on the other hand is up in the air. Gregg Berhalter, the groups current head coach, has his contract quickly expiring. 


A lot of questions have risen on if Berhalter is the right guy, after the 3-1 loss against the Netherlands. 


Lots of signs point to Berhalters contract being extended, but the announcement seems to be taking some time to hit the public. 


Berhalter has a 65% winning record with the team. While there is a lot of speculation around the coach, he has been able to turn this team around over the last few years for the better. It is likely that US soccer will extend his contract, and we will see him on home ground in 2026.


With the 2026 World Cup being hosted on home soil in the US, the team can find a lot of benefits from it. 


Home crowds of the cities will be able to show up for the team with the World Cup being so close. Along with the families of the players in the stands, the home field advantages should be huge for the team, and could provide a better push for history.


The players playing in front of their home cities in a World Cup is going to be a dream come true for most.


While the US is immediately qualified for the tournaments since the country is hosting, there will still be important friendlies and group play to help the team improve on and off the field for 2026.


Overall, the 2022 World Cup for the squad was exciting, but the 2026 tournament has even more for us to look forward to. US soccer is changing for the better, and there is so much for this country to be proud of for this team and where it is heading!