He’s since turned into one of Sunderland’s star youngsters, providing a dynamic outlet on the wing for their U-21s with the versatility to play as a forward or across the midfield. Sunderland’s professional development director, Kevin Ball, called him one of the most technically gifted players in the youth squad. It’s his creativity from the wing combined with his impressive physicality on the field that has Sunderland fans salivating after a dull start to their senior team’s Premier League journey.
It’s important to note that he is not the finished product. Gooch is not ready to be a consistent player for the national team, and still has to prove his quality to get starts for Sunderland. But if the start to this season is any indicator, we could see another American plying his trade in the Premier League sooner than later.
There is a catch: Jurgen Klinsmann needs to recognize this talent and give him some playing time soon, or he may lose him. Despite being born in California and being capped by the US at junior level, Gooch has close ties to England. His father is from there, he’s spent much of his time there since his early teens, and he has both UK and Irish passports. That means he can still apply to switch national status to either of those teams until he makes an appearance for the US senior team in an official competition. He’s caught the eye of several of European’s big names before, having tried out for AC Milan and Everton in the past. One can hope that Klinsmann’s affinity for talent playing abroad will force him to take notice of this talent budding in northeast England.
So if last week’s friendlies have you concerned about the future of the US Men’s National team, remember: the kids are alright. With Zelalem, Hyndman and Tottenham’s rising defensive star Cameron Carter-Vickers all tipped for upcoming first-team success, it seems the Americans have a solid foundation upon which they can build. And in Lynden Gooch, they could have a special, dynamic talent to lead the line for the next generation of American stars for years to come.