There is an opportunity for Yunus Musah in the upcoming worldwide window to cement his place on the United States Men’s National Team. With a number of gamers lacking, the midfielder could also be relied upon to wield a considerable quantity of affect on each side of the ball. That is heavy duty for an 18-year-old, a wunderkind on an already younger USMNT squad trying to find an identification. His profession has already featured daring strikes on and off the sector, incomes fixed consideration in the media.
Musah was born in New York City, whereas his mom was visiting. The household moved to Castelfranco Veneto in northern Italy, the place he started enjoying with Giorgione Calcio 2000, described as “the traditional phenomenon” by the group’s president. In 2012, the younger participant joined the Arsenal Academy after relocating to London, usually staying hours after coaching to proceed engaged on approach. The membership was stated to be fast-tracking the younger participant, being promoted to the U-18s at 15 years previous amid a reportedly accomplished switch to Juventus. In 18 appearances with the squad, the midfielder scored 5 targets and added three assists, whereas additionally competing on the prestigious Dallas Cup and reaching the ultimate of the Premier League U-16 Cup.
With sturdy performances for membership and nation, his standing as a participant to observe continued to develop, drawing comparisons to Paul Pogba and Patrick Vieira. He was anticipated to signal a scholarship contract to remain at Arsenal, which might convert into an expert deal after one yr. However, an intriguing provide got here in from Spain, resulting in a departure that then-manager Unai Emery reportedly likened to a “stabbing.”
In 2019, Musah moved to Spain to hitch Valencia, signing a two-year contract, a key a part of then-sporting director Pablo Longoria’s centered early identification efforts in order to achieve an eventual monetary return. He “determined to take a unique step in [the] pathway to realize [his] dream,” at a membership with a extra clear and confirmed path to the primary workforce. The Guardian named him to the Next Generation record of greatest younger skills, lauding his “daring resolution” to pursue a extra aggressive surroundings than academy soccer.
Originally meant to start out with the Juvenil A youth squad, he impressed throughout preseason and made his debut with the reserves on the age of 16 in a scoreless draw in opposition to CF La Nucía. His first purpose got here in a Segunda División B match in opposition to Gimnàstic de Tarragona. Spanish media raved about his performances, describing his play as “a present to the spectator” whereas praising his bodily power through the COVID-shortened season.
The subsequent summer season, Musah was promoted to the primary workforce for preseason coaching beneath new supervisor Javi Gracia, receiving an opportunity after considerably of a hearth sale left the cabinet barely naked. At solely 17 years previous, he made his first workforce debut in a 4-2 win over Levante. A number of months later, he set a membership document for youngest purpose by a non-Spanish participant, discovering the again of the web in a 2-2 draw with Getafe. His breakthrough generated the everyday stream of headlines and whispers indicating switch curiosity from a few of Europe’s largest golf equipment.
“It’s been a great season to seek out out what I’m about, enjoying my first season in La Liga,” Musah informed the membership’s official web site. “There have been so many ups and so many downs. You be taught extra about your self in the downs: making errors, shedding matches and being in a spot in which you need to win matches. You should be taught rather a lot about your self. Playing a lot in my first season, I bought a lot data. I’m going to look to take this into subsequent season. I performed so many video games, made so many errors and did so many good issues; subsequent yr I’m simply going to attempt to enhance, and have a greater season, hopefully.”
The membership prolonged his contract by 2026 with a reported $121 million launch clause. He made 35 whole appearances, as Los murciélagos (The Bats) completed in thirteenth place. The membership – enduring well-publicized points beneath the possession of Peter Lim – fired Gracia, changing him with José Bordalás. The new supervisor shut down switch curiosity from different golf equipment, hoping to take pleasure in and profit from the younger participant’s maturation in his second yr of senior soccer.
The present season began slowly for Musah, recovering from an ankle harm suffered throughout a preseason pleasant in opposition to Atromitos. He ultimately debuted instead in opposition to Deportivo Alavés after arduous work in the fitness center and the video room. Since then, Bordalás has included him in each match, beginning the final 4, over which Valencia has gone winless and dropped to eighth in the desk. The membership is putting plenty of hopes in him, even making him the main target of an enormous commercial marketing campaign alongside the Gran Vía Marqués del Turia.
At the worldwide stage, Musah was eligible to characterize Ghana, Italy, England, and the United States. He was a member of the Three Lions program from the earliest stage and often served as captain with every successive workforce, though an eligibility difficulty saved him out of the 2019 UEFA European U-17 Championship. The nation would name him up over 35 occasions, making recruitment appear not possible.
In November of 2020, Musah accepted an invite to play with the USMNT, starting a tug-of-war between Gregg Berhalter and Gareth Southgate. He made his debut in a pleasant in opposition to Wales, receiving a “heat embrace” from new teammates. The teenager remained undeclared for just a few extra months earlier than committing his worldwide future to his delivery nation, the end result of “a 20-month recruiting course of” after a Valencia coach notified U.S. Soccer.
“It was a troublesome scenario, as England [has] finished a lot for me,” Musah stated in May. “When somebody’s good to you, you don’t need to form of depart them the wrong way up. But on the finish, you need to make the most effective resolution for your self. I used to be getting so many cellphone calls from plenty of totally different individuals, plenty of totally different organizations. And that kind of made it arduous and in addition the truth that I represented England in the previous. That’s why it was a extremely arduous resolution to make.”
He has made six whole appearances for the USMNT and was on the bench for the CONCACAF National League. His lack of play on the competitors was a “tactical resolution” in response to Berhalter. Musah was not known as into the earlier worldwide window however may play a key position through the upcoming fixtures.
Musah is a extremely versatile midfielder and winger, able to lining up at a number of inside and extensive positions, though is probably best-suited to a box-to-box or deep-lying playmaker position. He often drives ahead with the ball, displaying the excessive stage of technical capacity that’s anticipated from graduates of Premier League academies. His bodily conditioning can be thought of “elite,” with Valencia sources claiming his future might be with a “Borussia Dortmund-style workforce.” The membership has praised his “optimistic angle, adaptability, and starvation,” which allowed for a fast adjustment after transferring to Spain, studying the language “inside two months of his arrival.”
Long dribbling runs are essentially the most visually interesting facet of his recreation, the flexibility to shift a match’s final result in an instantaneous. Musah additionally has the anticipated problems with youth. Total Football Analysis factors to “tactical naivety and a lack of know-how,” principally points with positioning and motion with out the ball. However, Breaking the Lines pushes again on the evaluation, lauding his capacity to establish opposing defenses and set off counter-attacks. Instead, resolution making in possession is talked about as an space for enchancment. Jake Castillo of One Goal echoes the criticism, figuring out long-range passing as one thing that can grow to be extra correct with expertise.
The return of Musah to the nationwide workforce is smart at this juncture. Berhalter is seeking to play with extra verticality, which is the defining a part of the younger midfielder’s recreation. At solely 18, he has La Liga expertise and handled the stress of selecting the tougher street for each membership and nation. The ebbs and flows of dual-national recruitment may be unpredictable, however his addition to this system may pay dividends for a number of World Cup cycles.