• Weston McKennie's development aborad figures to be a key piece for the USMNT's bid for a 2022 World Cup slot
  • He started his professional career with FC Shalke 04 before Italian side Juventus added him to their side
  • Getting the win in the first leg of the qualifiers will improve their chances of going to Qatar

Weston McKennie is expected to play a much bigger role in the US Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

McKennie has been a major part of the USMNT program since joining the Under-17 squad in 2013 and displayed a high level of awareness on the field, which led to him garnering interest from squads across Europe.

He quickly rose through the ranks of German Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 and made his first professional appearance for them in May 2017, less than a year after he entered the club’s youth academy setup.

Across 91 total appearances, he helped guide the team to a No. 2 finish in his first season, but the club finished in the middle of the pack in the next two seasons.

Through this time, McKennie had been further developing his craft as a defensive-minded midfielder that was willing to take on all comers.

Juventus noticed the American youngster’s growing talent and decided to bring him in via a loan deal in August 2020 that cost them approximately €4.5 million ($5.2 million).

The Texas native’s stock continued to rise, highlighted by his scissor kick against Barcelona for his first-ever UEFA Champions League goal, and they opted to sign him to a permanent four-year deal in March of this year worth €18.5 million ($21.4 million).

In 58 total appearances for Juventus, he has scored eight goals and two assists while playing mainly as a box-to-box midfielder, helping them to a fourth-place finish in the Serie A.

Back with the USMNT, he found himself playing a major role in their first meetup of the year against Mexico in the finals of the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League on June 6.

The 23-year-old scored the game-tying goal, the fourth of the match overall, forcing the them to go into extra time where Chelsea’s shining winger Christian Pulisic netted home a penalty to become the first-ever champions of the tournament.

Ahead of their World Cup qualifiers match against Mexico, McKennie also announced that he had agreed to a sponsorship deal with Six Star Pro Nutrition.

McKennie’s value to the team will be put to the test as he faces Mexico’s prominent goal scorers in Andres Guardado and Raul Jimenez on Friday, November 12 at the TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

For the USMNT, they hope that McKennie’s wealth of experience abroad will help draw them closer to making the 2022 World Cup.