Geoff Cameron (Stoke City)
On Friday, Cameron put the cap on a fantastic season for Stoke by signing a contract extension that will keep him in England through the 2019-20 season. It’s no less than Cameron deserves. The versatile veteran was a key figure for Stoke this season outside of a three-month stretch on the sidelines with a knee injury, playing in 19 Premier League games (starting 18) and tallying one assist. He was the highest-rated Stoke player over the course of the campaign according to whoscored.com, finishing with a season-long rating of 7.11 with 2.5 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game. His performances unsurprisingly garnered Cameron a spot in the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, and the 31-year-old figures to remain a stalwart for club and country for the foreseeable future.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur)
After returning from a knee injury suffered late in the English season, Carter-Vickers twice started this week for the USMNT U-20 team at the U-20 World Cup in
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland)
Gooch appeared in 11 Premier League games for relegated Sunderland, starting four. He did not tally a goal or assist. His season was somewhat marred by injury, but Gooch was and is still a highly considered prospect for the Black Cats and will hope to be involved more with the first team next season as Sunderland drops down to the Championship.
Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough)
Guzan’s final season in English football was a trying one as the keeper started 10 games while serving as second-string keeper for relegated Middlesbrough. The 32-year-old kept three Premier League clean sheets but was only in net for two Boro league wins. He did have some success in the FA Cup as Middlesbrough made the quarterfinals, but it was nonetheless a season to forget for both player and club. Guzan will now continue his career in the United States with Atlanta United, but he’ll first play for the USMNT in the upcoming contests.
Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United)
Olosunde did not appear for United’s senior side this season, but he was a solid presence for the U-23 team despite being just 19. The fullback did get close to appearing for the first team as he traveled with the side late in the season, but he’s unlikely to feature early next season outside of cup competitions. Still, the future looks bright for the youngster.
Gboly Ariyibi (Nottingham Forest)
After arriving at Forest in the winter window, Ariyibi did not appear for the senior side during the second half of the season and only played sporadically for the youth teams as he acclimated himself to his new club. Prior to his transfer, he appeared 28 times (24 starts) for League 1 side Chesterfield, and while he didn’t score, he opened some eyes with his performances and eventually jumped up a division. He’ll look to break into the first team next season.
Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest)
Lichaj was Forest’s Player of the Season after a trying campaign for the club as they avoided relegation on the final day. The fullback wore the captain’s armband at times throughout the season, playing in 41 Championship games, 39 of which he started. He scored two goals and added two assists while recording 2.3 tackles per game, third-most in the squad. Lichaj should continue to be an important player for Forest next season, and while his contract expires next summer, the club is reportedly looking to discuss an extension with the 28-year-old, who has said previously this season that he hopes to remain with the club for a while yet.
Tim Ream (Fulham)
Early in the season, Ream looked like he would be nothing more than a depth piece for Fulham, but he eventually won a place in the starting lineup and contributed excellent minutes for a Cottagers side that finished sixth and lost in the promotion playoffs. Ream started 30 games for Fulham in the Championship and was a substitute in six others, scoring one goal and tallying 4.6 clearances per game. His solid campaign wasn’t enough to get Fulham into the Premier League, but it was enough to get Ream a spot on the
Luca de la Torre (Fulham)
De la Torre again contributed for the USMNT U-20 team as the Americans earned a spot in the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup. The Fulham youngster tallied the assist on the only goal of the 1-0 win over Senegal, setting up Josh Sargent’s goal at the end of a slick passing move (this video is blurry but it shows the buildup). Then, against Saudi Arabia, de la Torre again set up the USMNT’s goal, with his shot being saved into Brooks Lennon’s path for an easy rebound tally. De la Torre didn’t play in the Championship for Fulham this season, but the 19-year-old showed his promise for the youth teams throughout the season and looks like a potential future star.
Danny Williams (Reading)
Williams suffered a heartbreaking loss in Monday’s promotion playoff final as Reading lost to Huddersfield on penalties after 120 tense, scoreless minutes. The midfielder was at the heart of the action, earning man-of-the-match honors on whoscored.com with a match rating of 8.8. He won a stunning game-high eight tackles, tallied three interceptions, three aerial wins, and three dribbles, and passed at an 87 percent clip. To cap it off, he rolled home his penalty with aplomb in the shootout. Williams was understandably inconsolable at the end of the contest, but that
Andrija Novakovich (Reading)
He didn’t appear for the senior side, but Novakovic was a vital figure up top for Reading’s U-23 side, scoring a number of key goals throughout the season. He should have a chance to earn more consistent minutes next season with Reading’s major goal threat, Yann Kermorgant, turning 36 in November.
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
Injuries somewhat dampened Yedlin’s first season with Newcastle, but the 23-year-old was outstanding when healthy as the Magpies won promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt and finished atop the Championship table. He earned effusive praise and acclaim and was touted as the best fullback in the division, particularly during the middle portion of the season. Yedlin finished the year with a goal and five assists in 27 games (21 starts) and constantly got up and down the flank to good effect for Newcastle. His performances should earn Yedlin plenty of action next season as the Magpies return to the top flight, although his preseason could be affected somewhat by USMNT duty.
Duane Holmes (Scunthorpe United)
In his first season with Scunthorpe, Holmes cemented himself as a valuable member of the squad, playing in 39 games total (33 League 1 contests, six cup games) and scoring three goals. The 22-year-old winger couldn’t help lift the side into the Championship as the Iron fell in the promotion playoff semifinals, but he has built himself a platform that he’ll hope to use as a springboard to greater success moving forward.
Terrence Boyd (Darmstadt)
Boyd moved to Darmstadt in the winter window after starting the season with RB Leipzig. The striker did not appear for Leipzig as he worked his way back from a long-term knee injury, but he did play in seven games (five starts) and score one goal for Darmstadt, although the side was relegated at the end of the season. Boyd will hope to play more consistently next season in the 2. Bundesliga as he tries to get back to where he was prior to his knee injury.
John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
Brooks was among Hertha’s best players this season, starting 24 games at center back and helping the Berlin-based side to a sixth-place finish and a Europa League berth. The 24-year-old scored two goals over the Bundesliga season and led his team with five clearances and 2.6 interceptions per game. Assuming he remains at Hertha next season, Brooks should continue to be a stalwart in Hertha’s first team, and he’ll play for the USMNT in the coming weeks as well.
Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen)
After a challenging season on a personal level, Johannsson looks likely to leave Bremen this summer. The striker appeared in just nine games, starting only twice, and recorded a goal and an assist. His future should be sorted out this offseason, with a potential move to the MLS possibly in the offing. What is certain is that the 26-year-old needs first-team opportunities next season wherever he plays his football.
Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Neither Johnson nor Gladbach had great seasons as the winger was hampered by a hamstring injury that kept him out from March to May and struggled for playing time even when healthy for the ninth-place Foals. The 29-year-old appears committed to his future with the club after recently signing an extension despite only starting 12 Bundesliga games (and being used as a sub for nine) this season, which produced just three goals in the league. Johnson is an important depth piece for the side but likely will never be an automatic starter at Gladbach. Of course, Johnson still made the USMNT roster and will play a critical part for the national team wherever Bruce Arena plays him.
Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt)
Morales was a key cog in the heart of the midfield for Ingolstadt, but that was not good enough to keep them afloat as they took the drop after finishing 17th. Morales appeared 27 times for the club in the Bundesliga, and while he was able to have a decent impact in the middle of the park, generally both he and his side were outclassed. That play reflects his position in the national team set up, where he is still an outsider looking in (he did not make the most recent squad). At 27, Morales is closing in on his prime and probably won’t be featured too heavily with the USMNT unless he really steps his game up.
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
The DfB-Pokal final was a perfect microcosm of Pulisic’s season. The rising star came on for the injured Marco Reus and changed the game when he was scythed down in the area, leading to the 66th-minute penalty that broke the 1-1 draw and won Dortmund the cup. It was a terrific cap to a brilliant first full season of professional football. The 18-year-old wasn’t always among the first names on the team sheet this season, but with Dortmund dealing with absences (largely due to other Reus injuries) and a lengthy, three-front schedule, the winger got plenty of playing time, starting 15 Bundesliga games. He made the most of it, too, tallying three goals and six assists and generally looking dangerous, which seems to have secured his place as a squad player for seasons to come. He is still too young to have the weight of America on his back, but Pulisic is by far the most promising youngster the USMNT has had in a long time, and there is a good chance that the national side will hinge on him in half a decade or less. Pulisic is, of course, on the most recent USMNT roster, and you can expect that to be the case for some time to come.
Wood naturally didn’t have the crazy scoring outburst he did last year in his first top-flight season, but the 24-year-old was one of the main threats for Hamburg all year long. The striker scored five goals and assisted on two more in 28 Bundesliga appearances, and while he certainly could use some more talent around him to boost those numbers, he will need to step up his own game moving forward. The biggest win of the season for Wood, however, might be that Hamburg survived relegation on the last day, ensuring him another season of Bundesliga football. There are a few whispers of English and other German teams, including Dortmund, being interested in Wood, but there are also reports that he will likely sign a new contract with Hamburg, so a move isn’t totally out of the question. Wood is still growing and like Pulisic is a young, promising talent for the USMNT, but whether or not he will become the main man up top for the Stars and Stripes remains to be seen.
Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim, on loan to Bochum)
A loan suited Canouse well this season as in the 2. Bundesliga he was able to earn some valuable minutes for his development. The 21-year-old defensive midfielder appeared in 20 games for Bochum (12 as a substitute) and even scored a single goal, a 77th-minute match winner to break a 0-0 deadlock. Bochum will hold on to Canouse through the offseason, as he completed the first season of his two-year loan spell. He still has plenty of time to grow, and though he probably isn’t ready for top-flight football at the moment, we might be ready to rescind that statement in a year’s time.
Julian Green (VfB Stuttgart)
Green’s move to Stuttgart in the winter was a major career change as one of America’s highest-touted stars left Bayern Munich for the second tier. Green played in 10 matches for Stuttgart from January on, scoring once. It certainly wasn’t the season Green was looking for, especially after it was thought he might break into the senior squad in Munich, but the move was necessary for the winger to try to kick-start his career. At 21, Green has a ton of time to make good on his promise, but where or when that will come is largely unknown. Still, with Stuttgart earning promotion, he will get a chance to really prove himself in the top flight starting next year. With the emergence of other young stars such as Wood and Pulisic, Green can rest easy knowing there are others to take the weight of the national side and instead focus on improving his game. Still, he was pencilled in as a piece of the future, so hopes are still high, even if he is taking the road less travelled.
Jerome Kiesewetter (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
Kiesewetter received little consistent playing time this season and was mostly relegated to a role as a sub, coming off the bench 13 times this season. The striker scored twice for Dusseldorf, but didn’t really make much of an impact otherwise. The 24-year-old is not really making much headway in his standing with the national side, either, as he still appears to be far from making a USMNT camp, much less the squad. It is going to be another grind of a season next year for Kiesewetter as he continues to grow his game.
Andrew Wooten (Sandhausen)
Wooten was Sandhausen’s leading scorer this season, bagging nine goals and tacking on four assists for the club, which finished 10th in the 2. Bundesliga. Similar to Kiesewetter, it seems that as long as the 27-year-old is still in the second flight and not thriving, he will not be coming close to Arena’s squad. Still, he did have a pretty good season all things considered and should be returning to Sandhausen in the fall.
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, Jupiler League)
After moving to Brugge from Molde, Horvath couldn’t get a sniff of the pitch until the final stretch of the season. However, after finishing the year with four straight starts, he should enter the 2017-18 season with an opportunity to win the job from 34-year-old Ludovic Butelle. Brugge finished in second place in the Jupiler League playoffs, which means they’ll begin next season in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth, on loan to Rangers, Scottish Premiership)
After going on loan in the winter, Hyndman had a productive short spell at Rangers, scoring four goals in 13 games before a late-season injury kept him out for the last two-plus months. His stock is high at the moment, and word is that Bournemouth are very happy with the 21-year-old's progress. With a good preseason, he could become a part of the Premier League side’s plan next year.
Bjorn-Maars Johnsen (Hearts, Scottish Premiership)
Johnsen proved to be a decent contributor for Hearts this year as he broke through as a first-team regular. The forward netted five league goals and added three assists in 34 games, of which 22 were starts. The numbers might not be overly impressive, but after arriving last offseason, he has clearly done enough to earn his minutes on the pitch and has shown a decent amount of promise as well. At 25, it is hard to tell if he will reach a high ceiling, however, and he still remains on the fringe of the USMNT set up.
Perry Kitchen (Hearts, Scottish Premiership)
Like Johnsen, Kitchen is an outside USMNT player who had a growing season at Hearts. He started 26 games at defensive midfielder and even captained the side for a short stretch during the campaign while generally impressing with his contributions. The difference is that Kitchen has reportedly had a falling out with Hearts’ new manager and is free to leave the club this summer, so expect him to move somewhere. He has shown his talent in the MLS in past seasons, so as long as he doesn’t shoot too high, Kitchen should stay in line for regular minutes at his new home.
Matt Miazga (Chelsea, on loan to Vitesse, Eredivisie)
Relatively, Miazga had a huge success of a season. After leaving Chelsea on loan, the young center back helped Vitesse win their first ever piece of hardware in the KNVB Cup and played in the cup final. Additionally, Miazga brilliantly filled the shoes of an injured veteran center back over the last few months of the season, starting 15 games and coming on as a sub in eight more to help Vitesse qualify for the Europa League. Still, Miazga’s future is largely unsettled, as it appears that he will not call Vitesse or Chelsea home next year. Regardless, given his end-of-season spell of form, the 21-year-old should set himself up nicely to break into a first side elsewhere.
Desevio Payne (FC Groningen, Eredivisie)
After playing just six games at Groningen this season, Payne needed a change of scenery and got it, in the form of a move to Excelsior Rotterdam. The club finished 12th in the Eredivisie last year and hopefully sees Payne as a first-team player soon. The 21-year-old outside back is seemingly taking control of the direction of his career, which is critical at this developmental stage.
Siebatcheu’s expectations took a hit when he couldn’t even make Reims Ligue 2 squad, but his mid-season loan to Chateauroux proved to be just what the young forward needed. Siebatcheu scored 10 times in 15 games for Chateauroux and helped the club win the Championnat National, meaning they too will be in Ligue 2 next year when the 21-year-old returns to Reims. However, the twist is that Siebatcheu could still chose to play his international football for France and has recently been called up and is playing for the FFF’s youth sides. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will end up committing to the French, but they seem to have the pole position at the moment.
Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz, Swiss Super League, on loan from SC Freiburg)
Stanko made 26 appearances in the Swiss Super League for Vaduz. Unfortunately, Vaduz finished last in the league and were relegated. Stanko is fortunate in that he will get to return to Freiburg, who finished seventh in the Bundesliga last year, but he will probably find it hard to break into the squad. There is certainly a lot of growth potential for the 23-year-old, but it would be smart to expect another loan or an offseason move for the midfielder.
Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal, on loan to VVV Venlo, Eerste Divisie)
Zelalem had a rough go this season. He only started one game for VVV Venlo (and subbed on in eight) after moving on loan in the winter due to not getting a chance in the Arsenal squad. Then, when it seemed like he would break through for the U-20 squad at the World Cup, Zelalem tore his ACL in the first game in South Korea. Zelalem, like many other on this list, is still very young and full of promise, but he has desperately lacked first-team minutes over the past couple seasons. Simply put, he needs to find a place where he can get some consistent playing time, so that he can develop the skills he needs to stay in the squad at a larger club. However, he isn’t likely to play again in 2017 after the injury.