The U.S. Men’s National Team always had to find talent wherever they could get it. Now, though, a new generation of Americans is not only thriving overseas, but thriving at the very top.

For years, the drill was the same for USMNT fans. Someone on social media would post a brief, blurry clip of an American scoring a screamer of a goal in an obscure league — the Belgian league, say, or maybe the Scottish second division. Fans would obsess over the details, wondering whether this newly uncovered gem might be called up to the national team and potentially earn a move to a league that has games on TV sometimes.

We don’t have to wonder, now. Americans such as Weston McKennie (Juventus), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) and Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig) are key pieces, not bit players, for Champions League teams. Others such as John Brooks (Wolfsburg) and Tim Weah (Lille) are starters for good European teams. Nineteen-year-old right-back Sergiño Dest is on the verge of completing a big-money move from Ajax to Barcelona, and 17-year-old attacker Giovanni Reyna has forced his way into Borussia Dortmund’s lineup.

They’re already in the big time, not up and coming. Whether it translates into success for the national team is still unknown, but suddenly American fans don’t have to search to find the next big thing.

Short takes

• English soccer’s plan to bring back limited numbers of fans was canceled by a spike in COVID-19 cases, leading to renewed fears for the survival of English soccer as we know it. England has long been proud of supporting 92 professional clubs in four divisions. Some already have gone out of business. More of the 92, especially at the bottom, might follow.

• They’re not Europe’s best team, but after one week, Borussia Dortmund might have made their case as Europe’s coolest team. BVB won 3-0 behind an attack featuring two 20-year-olds, Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland, and two 17-year-olds, Jude Bellingham and Reyna. It’s rare to see what appears to be the next generation of global superstars all gathered at one club.

WATCH GUIDE

Premier League: Leicester City at Manchester City, 10:30 a.m. Sunday, NBCSN. Leicester City collapsed down the stretch last year to miss the top four, but the Foxes have started this season with two wins out of two. Manchester City, meanwhile, failed again in its quest to win in Europe and couldn’t even console itself with a Premier League title last season, finishing runner-up. It’s a battle of teams with different kinds of Champions League dreams.

 

Jon Marthaler gives you a recap of recent events and previews the week ahead. E-mail: jmarthaler@gmail.com