While Tim Howard and Brad Guzan are trending in the wrong direction, William Yarbrough just keeps making saves.
Born to American parents who emigrated to Mexico in the 1980s, Yarbrough has been making a name for himself in Liga MX with Club León while remaining in relative obscurity north of the border.
Yarbrough chose Mexico as his home over the United States (where his three brothers live) because he feels more comfortable there.
“I’M 100% MEXICAN.”
His rise to stardom as the face León was the stuff of legend: an American raised in Mexico climbs the ranks to lead his club to back-to-back titles.
Of course, he did have some help from the mercurial Carlos “Gullit” Peña, whose name is derived from his likeness to Dutch great Ruud Gullit.
However, when it comes to representing a country on the world stage, Yarbrough decided long ago that if given the opportunity, he would choose the USA over Mexico.
The young keeper could be just the breath of fresh air that the USMNT needs after stumbling their way through the past year.
Tim Howard’s performance in the 2014 World Cup immortalized him as an all-time great.
But time waits for no man.
At 37, Howard’s playing days are waning.
He returned to MLS this year after losing his longtime starting spot with Everton in the Premier League.
Brad Guzan, would-be successor to Howard, has been dealing with his own trials and tribulations of late.
His squad, Aston Villa, sits dead last in the Premier League standings and faces certain relegation.
The cloud of uncertainty that curently hangs over the goalkeeper position for the USMNT bodes well for Yarbrough.
Jürgen Klinsmann has shown his willingness to take chances and make radical changes.
Look no further than 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, who just became the youngest player ever capped by the U.S. in a World Cup qualifying match.
A week ago, no one knew his name. Now, he’s a lock on my Copa America roster.
If Pulisic can burst on the scene from outer space, Yarbrough can certainly do it from Mexico.
Klinsmann tapped Yarbrough split time with third string keeper Nick Ramando during friendlies against Switzerland and Mexico in March and April of 2015.
However, after being called up to the USMNT last year, Yarbrough lost his starting spot with León to veteran Christian Martinez, who he is currently fighting for playing time.
The timing there is suspect. I think Yarbrough lost his staring spot as punishment for his reverse defection to the USA. Perhaps there were those who though he should eschew the red white and blue for El Tri.
Yarbrough’s record speaks for itself. He led Club León to historic back-to-back championships. He’s proven he can mix it up with some of the world’s best players.
Give the kid a shot.