Young players helped by Klinsmann 

August, 2, 2011
08/02/11
2:32
PM ET

When he took over the German national team after a poor European Championship in 2004, the first thing Juergen Klinsmann did was cut the dead weight. That meant fast tracking retirement for a score of Die Mannschaft's veterans, and a search for the young pieces that could be molded into the fast-paced, aggressive side Klinsmann hoped to craft.

Given the talent pool, repeating that process in America will not be such an easy task. But the clear need to stimulate generational change at many positions -- a need somewhat sidetracked by Bob Bradley's loyalty to aging veterans -- suggests Klinsmann's hiring will mean opportunity for some new faces.

Olympic team shoe-ins such as Mixx Diskerud, Brek Shea and Timothy Chandler will now get clearer shots to prove their worth, but what about some even younger American players? There are some exciting teenagers among the U.S. soccer ranks who may get a call sooner rather than later from a coach who's not afraid to put his faith in up-and-comers. And with a new set of eyes evaluating the American talent pool, there may be some prospects moving up the list who you haven't heard much about in the past.

Bear in mind that America's most promising U-20s aren't ready for the big time. But everyone on this list is at least on the verge of first-team club soccer -- an approximate tipping point for making the USMNT radar.

John Anthony Brooks, D, Hertha Berlin (GER)


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Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for ESPN.com. Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.

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