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Debating U.S. Gold Cup bubble players

United States
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Next steps for rising U.S. stars

Ventura Alvarado is one of the exciting U23 prospects for the USMNT.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann may have valued experience over youth on his roster for next month's Gold Cup, but June 2015 will still go down as a banner month for some of America's brightest young prospects.

The U.S. team's stirring run at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand ended in the quarterfinals against eventual champion Serbia, on penalty kicks. A shorthanded U-23 side finished third at the prestigious Toulon Tournament in France. And of course, a host of blue-chippers helped Klinsmann's varsity squad notch historic friendly wins on the road against Germany and the Netherlands.

Some of the young standouts who impressed on foreign soil recently will surely go on to represent the U.S. at senior World Cups (a couple already have, last summer in Brazil).

But even the ones who make it to Russia 2018 still have a long road ahead of them to get there. Here are the next steps for 15 players, all of them 23 years old or younger, who were in action for one of the three aforementioned national teams this month.

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Jurgen Klinsmann wants promotion and relegation, but will it happen?

The ESPN FC panel discuss the recent poll in which Major League Soccer players favoured a relegation system similar to Europe's top leagues.
Brian McBride delves deeper into the mentality of promotion and relegation and agrees with Jurgen Klinsmann that it helps prepare players better mentally, but Julie Foudy does not see it happening in the near future.

Jurgen Klinsman was at it again recently. No, not winning high-profile road games, although he did that too with notable victories vs. the Netherlands and world champions Germany.

That said, let's leave Bobby Wood & Co. in Europe for a moment and bring the focus back home, where the promotion and relegation debate has been rekindled after the U.S. national team coach discussed the virtues of the system.

"That furthers our national team," Klinsman told the Rheinische Post. "Something is at stake...