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11 USL Alumni named in United States’ 2022 FIFA World Cup Squad

By Staff, 11/09/22, 5:40PM EST


2016 Championship title-winners Adams, Long joined by Ferreira, Aaronson, Turner among alumni

NEW YORK – Eleven alumni of the USL Championship and USL League Two were on Wednesday named to the United States Men’s National Team squad that will compete at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The squad, named by Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, brings more than 250 combined appearances across the two leagues, and more than 20,000 minutes of action on the path to the top of the professional game.

“We are excited to take this group to compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” said Berhalter. “Final roster decisions are always difficult, and we appreciate everyone’s contributions who helped us get to this point. We believe we have a talented group, a strong team spirit, and one that is ready to compete. We are extremely proud and honored to represent the United States and appreciate all the amazing support from our fans as we head to Qatar.”

Here's a look at the 11 USL alumni and their pathway to the biggest soccer event in the world.

Brenden Aaronson, Philadelphia Union II (2017-18): Aaronson was the first of two players that came through the Union II on his way to Europe, first starring for Red Bull Salzburg in Austria – where he won the league and cup double in 2021 – before this past summer being transferred to Premier League club Leeds United. Aaronson made 24 appearances and recorded one goal and five assists for the Union II across two seasons in the USL Championship, and helped the side claim its lone postseason advancement in the league when it defeated Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in a penalty shootout in the 2018 USL Championship Playoffs.

Brenden Aaronson made 24 appearances for the Philadelphia Union II in the USL Championship, helping the side to a pair of postseason appearances. | Photo courtesy Philadelphia Union

Tyler Adams – New York Red Bulls II (2015-16): The first signing in New York Red Bulls II history may no longer be its youngest, but Adams’ progression from the Championship to the USMNT and the top league in Europe is one of the most remarkable in the past six years. Adams made 33 appearances across the Championship’s regular season and playoffs on his way to helping the Red Bulls II become the first MLS-owned-and-operated side to win the Championship Final in 2016, logging more than 2,400 minutes in the league, and is now starring for Leeds United alongside fellow United States standout Brenden Aaronson in the Premier League.

Tyler Adams celebrates claiming the 2016 USL Championship title with the New York Red Bulls II. | Photo courtesy New York Red Bulls II

Jesus Ferreira – FC Tulsa (2018): A 17-year-old when he joined FC Tulsa on loan from FC Dallas in the 2018 USL Championship season, Jesus Ferreira took his experience in the Black and Gold and used it as a platform to outstanding recent success for his hometown club. Ferreira recorded six goals and two assists in 14 appearances for Tulsa – including the first hat trick of his professional career – and this year was voted Major League Soccer’s Young Player of the Year while featuring regularly in the United States Men’s National Team lineup during FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifying with seven goals in 15 appearances at the senior level.

Jesus Ferreira recorded six goals in 14 appearances on loan with FC Tulsa in the 2018 USL Championship season, including his first professional hat trick. | Photo courtesy Charis Wilson / Tacoma Defiance

Sean Johnson – Atlanta Blackhawks (2009): The current New York City FC captain and 2021 MLS Cup winner, Sean Johnson featured in USL League Two in his native Georgia for the Atlanta Blackhawks, where he recorded 35 saves across six appearances prior to his selection in the 2010 Major League Soccer SuperDraft by the Chicago Fire. The 33-year-old has gone on to build one of the most successful goalkeeping careers in MLS, making more than 350 appearances in the league while earning 10 caps for the senior national team.

Aaron Long – FC Tucson (2012-13); Orange County SC (2014); Sacramento Republic FC (2014); Tacoma Defiance (2015); New York Red Bulls II (2016): Aaron Long’s path to the United States Men’s National Team might have been the most arduous of any in the squad, but once he arrived after earning the USL Championship’s Defender of the Year award in 2016 for the New York Red Bulls II his ascent was rapid. A former standout at FC Tucson in USL League Two over two seasons, Long spent time on loan at Orange County SC and Sacramento Republic FC from Seattle Sounders FC in his first professional season in 2014 before competing for the now-Tacoma Defiance the following year. Making a permanent move to center back with the Red Bulls II paid major dividends, and since claiming the league title with Tyler Adams in 2016 he has been voted the 2018 Major League Soccer Defender of the Year for the New York Red Bulls and earned 29 caps for the USMNT.

Aaron Long lifts the trophy at the 2016 USL Championship Final. He had previously been voted the league's Defender of the Year for the New York Red Bulls II. | Photo courtesy New York Red Bulls II

Jordan Morris – Sounders FC U23 (2014): The summer of 2014 saw Jordan Morris both compete in USL League Two for Sounders FC U23 and make his senior international debut for the United States, with the then-Stanford University standout making his debut that November for the side against the Czech Republic. After making four appearances in League Two, the Seattle native has made more than 150 appearances for his hometown Sounders while helping the club win two MLS Cups and the Concacaf Champions League, while also making 49 appearances and recording 11 goals for the United States.  

Jordan Morris made four appearances for Sounders FC U-23 in 2014, the same year as he made his debut for the United States Men's National Team. | Photo courtesy Sounders FC U-23

Tim Ream – Chicago Fire U-23 (2008-09): One of the team’s veterans, Ream spent two seasons in USL League Two with the Chicago Fire U-23 and made 19 appearances for the side as he competed collegiately for Saint Louis University. In 2009 he competed for a Fire U-23 side that reached the USL League Two Final alongside fellow future professionals including Jimmy Maurer and Justin Morrow. Currently the captain at Premier League club Fulham FC, Ream has made more than 450 appearances in the professional ranks both in the United States and England while appearing for the United States almost 50 times at the senior level.

Cristian Roldan – Washington Crossfire (2013-14); Tacoma Defiance (2015): Roldan played in two seasons for the Washington Crossfire in USL League Two, recording six goals in 13 appearances for the club before being selected in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by Seattle Sounders FC. He went on to make just one appearance for the Tacoma Defiance in the Championship, but it certainly was a memorable one as he scored in his pro debut in the club’s inaugural game in league, a 4-2 victory against Sacramento Republic FC. The 27-year-old has gone on to claim two MLS Cups and the Concacaf Champions League with the Sounders, making 280 appearances for the club, while also making 32 appearances for the United States.

Cristian Roldan in action for Washington Crossfire during the 2014 USL League Two season. | Photo courtesy Sounders FC U-23

Josh Sargent – Saint Louis FC U23 (2016): Sargent was one of the highly-regarded prospects in the United States six years ago, representing the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team as it began to prepare for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, but he also appeared in a pair of games for Saint Louis FC U23 in USL League Two, with the side drawing from the talent within the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club in its inaugural season. Sargent scored once in his two appearances before returning to the U.S. Soccer Residency at IMG Academy and eventually joining the professional ranks with German club Werder Bremen. The 22-year-old has made 20 appearances for the United States in his career, recording five goals, and enters the World Cup in solid form for English club Norwich City FC.  

Matt Turner – Jersey Express (2014-15); Richmond Kickers (2016-17): Turner was a standout across two seasons for the Jersey Express in USL League Two, helping the side win the Eastern Conference title in 2014 while making 27 appearances across two seasons for the club before joining the professional ranks with the New England Revolution in 2016. Turner was sent on loan with the Kickers in each of his first two seasons, making four shutouts in seven appearances for the side in his rookie season before registering 20 appearances for Richmond the following year, logging 61 saves. Turner went on to star for the Revolution in Major League Soccer before earning the Golden Glove at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup in leading the United States to victory at the tournament. Now with Premier League club Arsenal, Turner has made 20 appearances at the senior national team level.

Matt Turner made 27 appearances on loan with the Richmond Kickers in the USL Championship over two seasons to begin his pathway up the professional ranks. | Photo courtesy Brian L. Zimmerman / Richmond Kickers

DeAndre Yedlin – Sounders FC U23 (2012): A graduate of the Seattle Sounders FC Academy, Yedlin returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2012 and had an outstanding season in USL League Two for the Sounders FC U23s, appearing in all 16 games and recording one goal and one assist on his way to being named to the League Two All-League Team at the end of the season. The following year he signed as a Homegrown Player with the Sounders and become one of the most experienced members of the current United States squad with 75 appearances at the senior level. After competing for both Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United in England, and Galatasaray in Turkey, Yedlin this year returned to the United States to play for Inter Miami CF in Major League Soccer.

DeAndre Yedlin was a 2012 USL League Two All-League selection for Sounders FC U-23, helping the side win the Western Conference in the postseason. | Photo courtesy Sounders FC U-23


GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town/ENG; 8/0; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 10/0; Lilburn, Ga.), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 20/0; Park Ridge, N.J.)

DEFENDERS (9): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 11/0; Southend-on-Sea, England), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/ITA; 19/2; Almere, Netherlands), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 29/3; Oak Hills, Calif.), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC; 15/1; Powder Springs, Ga.), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 46/1; St. Louis, Mo.), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 29/2; Liverpool, England), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 3/0; Lake Grove, N.Y.), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF; 75/0; Seattle, Wash.), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 33/3; Lawrenceville, Ga.)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 24/6; Medford, N.J.), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 53/2; Plano, Texas), Tyler Adams (Leeds United/ENG; 32/1; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 12/0; San Diego, Calif.), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 37/9; Little Elm, Texas), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 19/0; London, England), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 32/0; Pico Rivera, Calif.)

FORWARDS (7): Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 15/7; McKinney, Texas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 49/11; Mercer Island, Wash.), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 52/21; Hershey, Pa.), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 14/4; Bedford, N.Y.), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 20/5; O’Fallon, Mo.), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 25/3; Rosedale, N.Y.), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor/TUR; 3/1; Los Angeles, Calif.)

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