Coach Greg Berhalter banking on his European trio for CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 success

CONMEBOL Copa America kicks off on the 20th of June 2024, with USNMT seeking glory on home soil
Mexico v United States: Final - Concacaf Nations League
Mexico v United States: Final - Concacaf Nations League / Stephen Nadler/ISI Photos/USSF/GettyImages

The Host nation of CONMEBOL Copa America 2024, the United States takes on Bolivia in group C opener on June 23rd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, at 5 p.m. local time.  The USMNT will be participating in its fifth Copa America tournament. They debuted in 1993 and finished 4th twice in their best-ever finish after being knocked out in the semifinals in 1995 and 2016. 

The USNMT recently won the CONCACAF Nation League finals and will enter this Copa America tournament with their tails up high like and with a pony on a hot summer day. Greg Berhalter, in his second stint with the national team, will be the second coach in U.S.A history to coach the national team while the country hosts CONMEBOL Copa America. Berhalter is no stranger to this competition, both as a player and coach.  

Coach Berhalter will be banking on his senior players to drive the team forward. Players such as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Giovanni Reyna have come through the U.S. setup from a young age. Under Berhalter, they are expected to be the catalyst in the American’s quest to win the title on their home soil.  

Christian Pulisic
AC Milan v Cagliari - Serie A TIM / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Christian Pulisic (AC Milan) 

Christian Pulisic played in his first CONMEBOL Copa America at age 17, a month after becoming the United States' youngest-ever goal scorer after he scored against Bolivia in a friendly at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Pulisic is set to play his second Copa America, and this time, he will wear the captain armband. Pulisic started his career in Europe at Borussia Dortmund in 2015, playing for Dortmund U19. He then made his senior debut for BVB in 2016 and made 127 appearances, scoring 19 goals and 20 assists. His dazzling display on the pitch made him one of the most sought-after and one of the world’s most exciting young players. 

He later moved to English club Chelsea FC, under the tutelage of Chelsea’s legend Frank Lampard and former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel. There, he went on to win the Champions League during the 2020-21 season and became the first American to play in a Champions League final.  

Pulisic made 145 appearances, scoring 26 goals and registering 17 assists over four seasons. Though he spent four seasons at Chelsea, his form dipped in and out, and he was plagued with injuries. He was offloaded to AC Milan, where he enjoyed a highly successful first season in Italy, scoring 16 goals and registering ten assists in Serie A.   

Pulisic has made over 65 caps for the USMNT, winning three Concacaf Nations Leagues. He hopes to replicate his form in Italy to take home the CONMEBOL Copa America trophy.  

Weston McKennie
Juventus v AC Milan - Serie A TIM / Valerio Pennicino/GettyImages

Weston Mckennie (Juventus) 

At age 25, with two Concacaf Nation League titles, one Coppa Italia, and one Super Cup under his belt, he was one of the United States’ most important players.   

McKennie came up the youth rank of Major League Soccer club FC Dallas before moving to former Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in Germany. He spent four seasons at Schalke before transitioning to arguably one of the most successful clubs, Juventus. After playing second fiddle in manager Massimiliano Allegri’s side, he went on a brief loan spell at Leeds United in search of playing time. Upon returning to Turin, McKennie featured regularly in Serie A and the Champions League. He, however, recorded seven assists in 34 games, making it his best season in the black and white jersey of Juventus.  

 Heading into this year’s CONMEBOL Copa America, McKennie hopes to replicate his club form to help propel his team to the finals. Or outdo his 2019 season with the national team, where he scored six goals and registered three assists from 14 games.  

Gio Reyna
Mexico v United States: Final - Concacaf Nations League / John Dorton/ISI Photos/USSF/GettyImages

Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)

Playing alongside young proteges like Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland at Borrusia Dortmund, he was never overshadowed because he is just as good. Following stealthily in his father's footsteps, Claudio Reyna stood out for the USNMT in his time scoring and setting up goals. Reyna became the youngest goal scorer in the history of the German Cup 2021 and, at that time, had already registered a goal and three assists in the Bundesliga.  Injuries kept him out of regular action for Dortmund, where he had played only 13 games that season. 

After recovering from an injury-ravaged 2021-22 campaign, he got a fresh start and played 30 Bundesliga games with seven goals and four assists. He was loaned out to Nottingham Forest in England during the January transfer window of 2023/2024.  

His disappointing form there will do little to convince coach Edin Terzic that he should be reintegrated at Dortmund. A quick thinker with terrific vision and composure on the ball, Reyna is the pivot at orchestrating goals through several good passages of play. Coach Berhalter has named a very balanced squad mixed with experience and youthful exuberance and hopes to go at least one better than their feat in 1995 and 2016.