The USMNT has received a double boost in recent weeks with high-profile transfers of two of its star players during the European summer transfer window.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner moved from Arsenal to Nottingham Forest, and up-and-coming striker Haji Wright switched from Antalyaspor in Turkey to Coventry in the English Championship.
On the surface, they might not sound like great transfers. But in the case of both moves, the positives can only be of benefit to the US men’s national team.
A pathway to the English Premier League
OFFICIAL: Coventry City announce the signing of USMNT striker Haji Wright from Antalyaspor 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/tHLFOuKMsX— USMNT Only (@usmntonly) August 4, 2023
In the case of Haji Wright, signing for Coventry City doesn’t come with the same gravitas as a move to Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. But it does put Wright in with a chance of breaking into the top flight of English football.
Coventry (+2500) is currently in the top eight sides in the betting to win the Championship. Leicester is the clear favorite at +200. Southampton is at +450, with Leeds and Ipswich at +750. In other odds on the Championship, the Sky Blues are +600 to gain promotion to the Premier League for next season.
But even if Coventry doesn’t go up this season, Wright has the opportunity to impress and earn a move to the Premier League. Gustavo Hamer impressed in a Sky Blues shirt last season and now plays for Sheffield United in the top flight, while Viktor Gyokeres earned a move from Coventry to Sporting Lisbon.
All this shows that it is possible to use the Championship as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. So if Haji Wright can perform well at Coventry City, he will almost certainly have an opportunity to progress to a higher level in England, or maybe to another top league in Europe.
Matt Turner’s move to Nottingham Forest is a boost for US soccer
But it’s the transfer of Matt Turner from Arsenal to Nottingham Forest that is the biggest plus of all for USMNT. Turner may not have been able to become the number-one keeper at the Emirates, but he is the man in possession of the shirt at the City Ground.
Okay, so it would have been a better situation if Turner had become the undisputed number one at Arsenal, but he can only do that if he is given the opportunity. And for whatever reason, it was clear there was no direct pathway into the Arsenal first team.
So Matt Turner has done the next best thing and taken a step backward to move forward.
Turner is now in the spotlight
At Nottingham Forest, Turner will be playing every week. This allows him to increase his sharpness and learn about playing in the Premier League. And if he is good enough, he will be in the shop window, and a bigger club will come calling.
Playing in Europe will help US soccer in the long run
Playing in the top leagues in England and Europe will help the USMNT and American soccer. It’s great to see the continued growth in the MLS, and in time, it would be good to see the top US stars playing in their domestic league.
But for now, the top leagues in Europe are of higher quality. And if more Americans are plying their trade there, the future of US soccer is looking good.