The state of California is more famous for its celebrity lifestyle than for its football talent, but the glamorous state has a strong representation in the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT).
Most of these players are big names in the MLS (Major League Soccer) and some are on the radar of European clubs. Ahead of their appearance at the World Cup, this article spotlights some of California’s best in the USMNT setup who could make it to Qatar.
Your FIFA World Cup bets on USA will be richer with the information on these players provided in the coming sections.
Aaron Ray Long was born in Oak Hills, California, and began his football career with the University of California Riverside Highlanders. He currently turns out for the New York Red Bulls and is one of USMNT manager Greg Berhalter’s most trusted players.
The center-back is a late bloomer by professional football standards, having had his first taste of top-flight football in 2016. Before then, he was low on the pecking orders at all the clubs he signed for. His first season as a top-flight footballer coincided with his long-awaited USMNT call-up as he won the MLS defender of the year award for that season.
As a USMNT defender, he was key to their 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup second-place finish. He missed out on the 2021 edition but has since regained his spot back in the side. Barring any setbacks, he is expected to start for the USMNT in their World Cup games come November 2022.
Luca de la Torre
Lucas Daniel de la Torre is a 24-year-old midfielder who plays for the LaLiga club, RC Celta de Vigo. He was born in San Diego, California, and got his first call-up to the USMNT in 2018.
He is one of a few USMNT players to have never played senior football in the MLS, having represented Fulham in England, Heracles Almelo in The Netherlands, and, currently, Celta Vigo in Spain. He began his career in his hometown, however, playing for two years before moving to Fulham to finish his development between 2013 and 2020. It was at Fulham he got his first call-up to the USMNT.
Despite getting his first call-up in 2018, he has only 11 caps under his belt because he has also struggled for game time at his clubs. He also has no major tournament experience with the team and will have his sights set on making his mark in the upcoming friendlies before the World Cup squad is announced.
Sebastian Francisco Lletget is a midfielder who plays for FC Dallas. He was born 30 years ago in San Francisco, California, and has been in the USMNT set-up since 2017. Lletget has 33 caps to date for the team and is a popular squad option for the handlers of the team.
He started his career in California before being snapped up by West Ham United as a youth prospect in 2009. He was called up to the Hammers’ first team in 2013 but failed to make a senior appearance until he left for the country of his birth in 2015. He became the player he is today after joining LA Galaxy that year, and two years later, he was wearing the USMNT crest.
He is versatile enough to play in every area of the midfield as well as on the wings and this is why Greg Berhalter loves has him on speed dial. He is also one of the most experienced members of the current setup with enough tournament experience. After winning the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup and Nations League, he’ll be targeting an appearance at the World Cup and possible glory.
Cristian Roldan is a USMNT stalwart who has been in the team since 2017. He is a guaranteed starter and is regarded as one of the best midfielders to have played for the USMNT in the 2010s. He is also regarded as one of the best midfielders in the MLS.
The 27-year-old was born in Artesia, California and started his career far away from home with Washington Huskies, before moving on to Washington Crossfire. He is currently with Seattle Sounders who he signed for in 2015. It was at Sounders he got his USMNT call-up, and he has not relinquished his position ever since.
He has been a member of every squad since his first call-up, only dropped for a few friendlies for rest purposes. The diminutive midfielder is one of Greg Berhalter’s favourites and is a shoo-in for the USMNT World Cup squad that will be travelling to Qatar in November.
Paul Joseph Arriola, 27, was born in Chula Vista, California and is a winger with FC Dallas in the MLS. He is one of the USMNT players who has experience outside the MLS, having played in Club Tijuana, a Mexican club, and with Swansea City in Wales (PL) for a brief period in 2021.
He started off his senior career in Mexico after a youth career spent in his home state. He played for Tijuana between 2013 and 2017, which earned him a call-up to the USMNT side in 2016. This makes him a veteran of the current setup.
He is one of the biggest names in the MLS and is also on the radar of a few European clubs. He has plenty of tournament experience with the side, having participated in their 2017 and 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup wins and the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup runner-up campaign. Barring any last minute issues, Arriola will be at the Qatar World Cup and is therefore a good player to consider for your FIFA World Cup bets on USA.