|Image from The Premier League|
With most of the world’s sports including football on pause at the moment, here at the United Devils wanted to create a Best XI from our respective FIFA Confederations. Hailing from the USA, I wanted to create one for the current CONCACAF players. I wanted to use at least 5 countries, and I valued a mix of experience, potential, and past impact on the biggest stages. Here goes:
Keylor Navas, Costa Rica
With Tim Howard no longer playing international football, this was an easy choice. The Costa Rican star made the move from Real Madrid, where he was the first choice keeper, to Paris St-Germain where he has assumed the same role. Navas has been capped 89 times for the Costa Rica’ senior squad and led The Ticos to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, and the semi-finals of the 2009 Gold Cup. Navas was named “Best Goalkeeper” of the ‘09 Gold Cup.
Edson Álvarez, Mexico
Alvarez is one of the up and coming young defenders in the world. After starring from Club America, he made the move to Ajax in 2019. The Mexican starlet was first called up to El Tri in 1997 for an international friendly against Iceland. That year, he was a practice member of the Confederations Cup team, but saw his first real action in the Gold Cup. In that tournament, he became the youngest Mexican player to score in a Gold Cup match when at 19 years old, he scored against Curaçao in a Gold Cup match. Alvarez is mainly a centre back but is capable of playing wingback.
Kemar Lawrence, Jamaica
Simply awesome. The speed and ball skill to be an offensive threat and to track back and cover. The Jamaican international burst onto the scene with Red Bull New York of Major League Soccer in 2015 and parlayed his club success to a transfer to Anderlecht of the Belgian league this season. Lawrence has seen action for the Reggae Boyz since 2013 the same month he turned 21 years old.
John Brooks, USA
Brooks is known mostly for his 86th minute header goal off a corner kick in the USMNT’s opening match of group play in the 2014 World Cup against Ghana. The goal put the US on solid ground for advancing to the knockout stage. Just 21 at the time, Brooks put himself on the international soccer map. Since then, Brooks has made a name for himself in the Bundesliga, making over 170 combined appearances between 2012-2020 at Hertha BSC and VfL Wolfsburg.
Cameron Carter-Vickers, USA
Born in England, Carter-Vickers made a name for himself coming through Tottenham’s academy. With England’s FA looking at the player for international duty, the United States pushed Carter-Vickers to the senior team in 2016 and he debuted in ‘17 at age 20. Although he hasn’t quite established himself at the club of international level, his potential is impossible to ignore.
Tyler Adams, USA
Tremendous ball-handler who is capable of playing anywhere on the pitch. Adams came through Red Bull Academy in New York and his ascension forced Red Bull’s hand in unloading mainstay and fan favourite Sacha Kljestan in 2017. Adams burst onto the scene in 2015 when at age 16, he scored against Chelsea in a preseason friendly at Red Bull Arena.
Héctor Herrera, Mexico
Tremendous leader, Herrera captained FC Porto in Portugal before making the move to Atletico Madrid in 2019. A veteran of the national team since 2012, Herrera played a big role in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup and has helped El Tri win Olympic gold in London 2012 and the 2015 Gold Cup.
Christian Pulisic, USA
The 21 year old Chelsea man made headlines when he signed with Borussia Dortmund as a 16 year old and made headlines again when he scored 5 goals in 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Any USMNT team sheet starts with Pulisic.
Hirving Lozano, Mexico
Lozano is one of the best wingers in the world.
The 24 year-old Napoli man began his career with Pachuca in Liga MX. Lozano is and will be a fixture on any El Tri team sheet for the foreseeable future. Lozano scored the winning goal in Mexico’s World Cup 2018 group play opening match against Germany and helped lead Mexico to the 2016 Olympics.
Raul Jimenez, Mexico
Jimenez was part of Mexico’s 2012 gold-winning Olympic side, and has been a mainstay for El Tri ever since becoming a full international in 2013. He is most remembered for scoring an eye-opening bicycle kick goal in 2013 against Panama that helped Mexico qualify for the 2014 World Cup. The goal earned Concacaf goal of the year honours for 2013. Jimenez is currently on loan at Wolverhampton where he’s scored 13 goals in 29 appearances to date.
Javier Hernandez, Mexico
Although his career is headed toward the finish line, the LA Galaxy man was once one of the most feared strikers on the planet. Chicharito has scored 52 times for his national team and 156 times for his club including 37 at Manchester United. Chicharito also has the distinction of scoring over 25 goals in 3 different countries at the club level.
Remko Bicentini, Curaçao
Bicentini took over the Curaçao National team in 2016 and managed the squad to its first Caribbean Cup title in its nation’s history in 2017 after a shock victory in the final against Jamaica. Curaçao was installed as 4.7 to 1 underdogs in the matchup against Jamaica.