Geoff Cameron (Stoke City)
Cameron was a mainstay in Stoke’s squad a season ago and looks to continue in his role as both a center back and defensive midfielder this year. However, the Stoke defense was uncharacteristically weak last season, allowing 50 goals, 14th-worst in the league, so there is certainly some work to be done. There’s not too much reason to think that Cameron will be unseated in the starting lineup, so we expect another full year for him in the heart of the Mark Hughes’ squad.
Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough)
It was a miserable campaign for Guzan at Aston Villa last season, and now the 31-year-old keeper will need to regroup as he joins Middlesbrough. Though Guzan rarely got much help from a porous defense, he could have done much better at times, and in truth seems to be regressing a bit. After being benched late last season, Guzan will have to earn his way into the line up with Dimitrios Konstantopoulos, who played every single one of Boro’s 46 Championship fixtures a season ago, and Victor Valdes coming in. It wouldn’t be a shock if Guzan gets some playing time, but for now he will have to take a back seat. Luckily, his defense could be much better this season, as Boro allowed a divison low 31 goals last season during their run to automatic promotion.
Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth)
Hyndman is a highly regarded 20-year-old who struggled to see much of the field last year at Fulham with his contract expiring, although he did start to play more consistently down the stretch. His move to Bournemouth, though a league up, could prove to be a beneficial one, as he might start to find much more first-team minutes, though that remains to be seen, with a fairly settled midfield in place for manager Eddie Howe. Regardless, Bournemouth seem to be looking to the future with this move, as Hyndman has a big upside and could be turning heads soon.
Matt Miazga (Chelsea)
Since moving to Chelsea in the winter, Miazga made just two appearances in the second half of the season, logging a disappointing 136 minutes. Like Hyndman, Miazga is a purchase for the future, and at 21 years old, he has plenty of upside. His status on the Chelsea squad is largely up in the air, as there have been rumours of the Yank leaving on a loan. In the long run, a loan spell could be very beneficial for Miazga, who needs to get first-team minutes under his belt this season to start trending in a positive direction again.
DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
Speaking of successful loans, that is exactly what Yedlin is returning from after Spurs shipped him off to Sunderland for the 2015-16 season. Yedlin was at first a rotation player at right back for the Black Cats, starting 21 times overall, but he seemed to win over Sam Allardyce at the end of the season. But while it's rumoured that Yedlin might head back to Sunderland permanently in the next few weeks, he will need to impress a new gaffer in David Moyes if he does. As always, his electric pace is a dangerous weapon, and he proved he can hack it in the PL last season, so he’ll hope for the chance to do so again this year.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur)
Before an injury ended his season early, Carter-Vickers was a starter for Spurs’ academy side. There’s some significant buzz inside of the Spurs system as well regarding the 18-year-old center back, who started in Tottenham’s three most recent friendlies, against Atletico Madrid, Juventus, and Inter Milan. In truth, he will have to do a ton to unset Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, and Kevin Wimmer, who are all firmly planted above him on the depth chart, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Carter-Vickers appear in some peripheral games, such as the League Cup, as Mauricio Pochettino has spoken highly of him recently.
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland)
Gooch returns to Sunderland after a second-half loan at League One side Doncaster Rovers and will be trying to break into the first team. There’s no doubt the Black Cats are invested in the youngster’s future after penning him to a new deal in April, but it is likely that his minutes in the top flight are going to be limited this season.
Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal)
After a bright start to Zelalem’s loan at Rangers saw the 19-year old logging consistent first-team minutes, the midfielder faded a bit down the stretch, struggling to earn much playing time. Still, Zelalem earned much praise from the Rangers coaching staff for his talent, which is really beginning to show. Though he has been playing in many of Arsenal’s friendlies, there could well be another loan spell in the works for Zelalem, which would likely prove beneficial for minutes, given the pedigree of the team he is trying to break into.
Tim Ream (Fulham)
Though he wasn’t the most solid performer, Ream found himself in the Fulham lineup on 32 occasions last year in all competitions, and he will most likely return to his spot as a squad rotation player during the forthcoming campaign. In Fulham’s first fixture of the season, Ream was deployed as an 85th-minute sub in order to preserve a 1-0 lead against Newcastle (which they did). Expect more appearances like this one, as well as a chunk of starts for the 28-year-old, who will look to find more consistency this season.
Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest)
Lichaj was a stalwart for Forest a season ago, warrioring through 43 starts in the grueling Championship schedule. However, it wasn’t a clean start to the new year for Lichaj, who was surprisingly used as a substitute for Forest, entering in the 85th minute of Forest’s 4-3 win over newly promoted Burton Albion. Given how much he played a season ago, it is a bit unsettling to see the 27-year-old on the bench, but there is still plenty of time for the outside back to make his mark.
Andrija Novakovich (Reading)
Novakovich had a rough time last season in the Reading academy, often struggling to break into the U-23 side, starving the youngster of minutes. Still, at just 19 years old, there is plenty of time for growth, and though breaking into the first team is unlikely, he should have a chance to see more minutes for the reserves. Unsurprisingly, Novakovich was not in the 18-man roster for Reading’s 1-0 opening-day win over Preston. The U-23’s kick off on August 12.
Danny Williams (Reading)
Williams was very solid for Reading last season, making 39 total appearances (35 starts). The midfielder was able to produce five goals and two assists during the campaign, and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to see him improve on that this season. He opened the new season playing a full 90 minutes for Reading in their aforementioned win, passing at a cool 85 percent.
Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
Like many of his fellow Americans in the Championship, Spector is a squad rotation player that saw over 20 starts a season ago. Though he would like to become a more consistent choice, Spector has now crossed over the hump at 30 years old and will have to start working harder to make sure to avoid decline. The right back’s season started well, as Birmingham earned a goalless draw with Cardiff.
Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield)
Ariyibi is a new addition to the list who is looking to work through the ranks of the English football system, starting at League One side Chesterfield.
Duane Holmes (Scunthorpe United)
Holmes didn’t play often for Huddersfield last year, having just two starts in the Championship and four appearances off the bench, and as such, he has taken a demotion to League 1 in a move to Scunthorpe United. Holmes is surely in search of more playing time and will hope to earn that quickly. He didn’t make an appearance in Scunthorpe’s first fixture, a 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers, but he was on the bench, meaning he might not be that far away from the first team. At 21 years old, Holmes has plenty of time to grow.
Terrence Boyd (RB Leipzig)
Boyd did not play a single fixture for Leipzig a season ago, after tearing his ACL at the end of 2014, but his teammates got a big job done, earning promotion to the Bundesliga. The jury is still out on how much Boyd will see the pitch, but if he does, it will be in the top flight, and is exciting news.
John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
Brooks was hampered by injury last year, but he was generally solid in the 23 appearances he made for Hertha Berlin. Unfortunately, with Brooks on the sideline, Hertha threw away a brilliant first three quarters of the season, getting only two points in their last seven games and dropping to the third qualifying round of the Europa League, where they lost (six more points last season and they would have been in the Champions League). Brooks started and played a full 90 minutes in both the qualifiers, which ended 3-2 on aggregate to Brondby. That’s a good sign for the 23-year-old, who will most likely be a full-time starter at center back if he can stay healthy — and if the rumors about a potential move to either a bigger German club or the Premiership prove false.
Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Chandler was out of Frankfurt’s team through much of the season despite the team going through some severe struggles, although they did avoid relegation by winning a playoff against Nurnberg. His status is very hazy to start the season, but he did see a bit more time on the pitch over the final weeks of the season after the arrival of new manager Niko Kovac. He did start in Eintracht’s most recent friendly, a win over Atalanta, so there is hope that Chandler could have a big part to play in what is likely going to be a relegation battle for Eintracht.
Julian Green (Bayern Munich)
It’s make-or-break time for Green at Bayern. Much has been written about the 21-year-old winger this offseason (including on this site!), and he’s definitely starting life under Carlo Ancelotti on the right foot, having scored a hat trick last week in a friendly against Inter Milan. It looks as though Green will remain with the Bayern senior squad this season rather than playing with the reserves or going out on loan. He’ll probably get a few chances here and there to earn consistent playing time, but if he doesn’t impress, Green’s time at Bayern could come to an end sooner rather than later.
Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen)
In his first Bundesliga season, Johannsson got off to a decent start with two goals in six games, but a hip injury ended his momentum then and there. He hasn’t played a first-team match since, but Johannsson announced on Twitter this week that he had returned to training with Bremen. He won’t be ready to play when the season first kicks off, but Johannsson should be able to return to full fitness within the next month or so, and he’ll provide a boost for both club and country when he does.
During his age-28 season, Johnson truly came into his own for Monchengladbach, scoring six Bundesliga goals and twice in the Champions League. He garnered a bit of buzz as the best left winger in Germany, and while that may or may not be validated, Johnson will undoubtedly be counted on to chip in offensively again this season for Andre Schubert’s side as it takes on the CL again. Most of the club’s transfer movement was in the middle of the park, so Johnson will likely enter the year as a starter or one of the first alternatives as he seeks another solid campaign.
Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt)
Morales had something of an up-and-down season as Ingolstadt survived their first-ever Bundesliga campaign. Throughout the first half of the season, the 26-year-old midfielder was an ever-present in the lineup, but his playing time dwindled over the second half of the campaign. He won’t start every game, but Morales will be an important depth piece for new manager Markus Kauczinski as he tries to extend Die Schanzer’s top-flight stay.
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
Following his loud arrival on the season at the end of the Bundesliga season, Pulisic will hope for continued chances to prove himself in year two at the top level. The 17-year-old midfielder burst onto the scene for Dortmund, and despite the massive changes the club made over the summer, Pulisic should still find himself around the first-team squad most weeks. He may not start all that many games, but Pulisic’s star is rising in world football, and his exceptional talent means the sky is the limit, for this season and beyond.
Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
His exceptional 2015-16 campaign was always likely to earn Wood a move to the top flight, and he didn’t wait long into the summer to confirm his long-rumored switch to Hamburg. He then shined for the USMNT at the Copa America Centenario and had a full preseason with his new club, for whom he started and played 45 minutes in a 1-0 friendly win over Stoke on Saturday. With so much recent success, Wood has become one of the most promising young American players in world football, and he’ll look to continue his rapid career development in his top-flight debut season.
Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim, on loan to Bochum)
After breaking into the Hoffenheim first-team squad, however fleetingly, a year ago, Canouse was sent on a two-year loan to 2. Bundesliga side VfL Bochum to gain seasoning. He made his debut for the side this weekend, entering in the final stages of a 2-1 win over Union Berlin. The two-year deal gives Bochum extra incentive to play Canouse, and he has the tools to play a major part in his loan club’s immediate future and his parent club’s more distant future.
Jerome Kiesewetter (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
Few players on this list needed a change of scenery quite as badly as Kiesewetter. By the end of last season, he wasn’t getting any game action at Stuttgart, either with the senior squad or the reserves, and a move to Fortuna Dusseldorf provides the 23-year-old forward with the fresh start he sorely needed. He was on the bench but did not play in the opening game of the 2. Bundesliga season, a come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Sandhausen, but Kiesewetter’s presence in the 18-man roster can only be construed as a positive for a player who had such a rocky 2015-16 season.
Fafa Picault (St. Pauli)
Picault is a 25-year-old striker we featured in our Americans Abroad section over the summer, and he is coming off a late-season hot streak in which he scored three goals in four starts in April and May. The forward played 67 minutes in St. Pauli's 2-1 season-opening loss to Stuttgart, and he should continue to get chances to impress over the coming weeks and months.
Andrew Wooten (Sandhausen)
Last season was a bizarre and frustrating one for Wooten. He scored six goals in his first six games, and none in his last 27 as Sandhausen slumped to a 13th-place finish in the 2. Bundesliga. His 2016-17 season got off to a decent start Saturday, as Wooten’s layoff was slammed into the net from long range by Korbinian Vollmann in the fifth minute of the draw with Fortuna Dusseldorf, but he would later pick up a yellow card as his side threw away a two-goal lead. Through his scoring struggles, Wooten remained a weekly squad member for Sandhausen last season, and early indications are that nothing will be changing in that regard.
Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes)
Well, we were all set for another season of watching Bedoya ply his trade in France’s top tier, but that dream was dashed when it was announced that the midfielder is coming home to join the Philadelphia Union. It’s a move that makes sense in many ways, as Bedoya will play a much more important role for the Union than he would for Nantes, but it’s slightly disappointing for those of us who write about European football. He’ll remain a key cog in the national team, though, so we certainly haven’t seen the last of Bedoya.
Jordan Siebatcheu (Reims)
Siebatcheu is a 20-year-old striker who was born in Washington D.C. and moved to France at a young age, joining Reims when he was seven. Since, he’s advanced in the ranks and broke into the first team last season, tallying three goals and three assists in 21 appearances as the club was relegated from Ligue 1. He has been on the bench for each of Reims’ first two Ligue 2 games, entering late in a 1-0 win over the weekend, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to break back into a starting side he was in six times last season.
Ethan Horvath (Molde)
Horvath is the only player on this list who’s actually in the middle of the season, although it hasn’t been a great one for Molde so far. Through 19 (out of 30) games, Molde sit in eighth, with Horvath having started 14 of those contests. Concerningly, the 21-year-old keeper has kept just two clean sheets, and the team has allowed the fourth-most goals in the Tippeligaen. He’ll look to get back on track over the coming weeks.
Bjorn-Maars Johnsen (Hearts)
Another new name on our list, Johnsen is a tall striker from North Carolina with a knack for scoring goals who finds himself in Scotland, joining Perry Kitchen at Hearts. The Norwegian-American is 24, so he should be approaching the prime of his career, and is just coming of a stint where he scored 12 league goals in two seasons for Bulgarian side Litex Lovech. He wasn’t in the roster for their 2-1 defeat to Celtic over the weekend, but Johnsen should have ample chance to make his presence known for Hearts.
Perry Kitchen (Hearts)
It didn’t take long for Kitchen to become an integral part of Hearts’ side after his arrival in March. He made 10 appearances down the stretch as the club finished third in the Scottish Premier League, but he wasn’t in the opening day squad that lost to Celtic. Kitchen has already made three European appearances on the campaign, although Hearts were knocked out in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. Still, he’ll be a key part in any challenge the club wish to put forth in terms of securing European football once again.
Desevio Payne (FC Groningen)
Payne wasn’t in Groningen’s lineup as they started the season with a 5-0 loss to Feyenoord, but the young fullback should have a big part to play this season. The 20-year-old has made 11 appearances for the club, and he is a nice piece of defensive depth, as well as a young talent. It looks as though he may start the season with the reserve squad, but his performances last year earned him looks with the senior squad, and a similar story could be on the cards again.
Rubio Rubin (Utrecht)
After a season mostly lost due to injury, Rubin was in the starting lineup and played 90 minutes for Utrecht in a season-opening 2-1 loss to defending-champion PSV on Saturday. This is an important season for the 20-year-old striker, as he will look to nail down a permanent place in Utrecht’s squad. Playing alongside another young striker, Seb Haller, who has higher expectations lightens any pressure on Rubin, which should help him settle into the side.
Josh Gatt (Molde)
Joe Gyau (Borussia Dortmund)
Junior Flores (Borussia Dortmund)
Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Joshua Perez (Fiorentina)
Haji Wright (Schalke)
Erik Palmer-Brown (Porto)
Ken Gipson (RB Leipzig)
Shaquell Moore (Real Oviedo)
Maki Tall (Free agent)
Cody Cropper (Free agent)
Mukwelle Akale (Villarreal)
Luca de la Torre (Fulham)
Marlon Fossey (Fulham)
Kyle Gruno (Leicester)
Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United)
Brooks Lennon (Liverpool)
Joel Sonora (Stuttgart)