Young U.S. goalkeeping talent is there, but consistency, Europe seasoning key

Brad Guzan, Zack Steffen and Bill Hamid are at various levels of the U.S. goalkeeper pipeline. Getty Images

"What's the state of U.S. goalkeeping?"

I've been asked that question many times over the years, and it surfaced again recently when Brad Friedel announced his retirement from Tottenham. Friedel is the latest of several veteran U.S. goalkeepers to retire: Marcus Hahnemann retired at the end of the 2014 MLS season; I did so a few seasons back; and, looking toward the future, Tim Howard, who turned 36 in March, will likely be the next long-tenured American to move on from the game, though probably not anytime soon (sorry Tim, time waits for no one!).

The position has been a consistent strength for the U.S. over the past 15-plus years, with multiple American keepers earning regular playing time in top European leagues. But the one constant in U.S. soccer from a position standpoint is now starting to come into question.

When did the U.S. goalkeeping surge start; where are we at now; and what's the future outlook of the position as we head deeper into the 2018 World Cup cycle? Here's some background on the rise of U.S. goalkeepers and a look at next-up and long-term targets from the pipeline who will determine the strength of American goalkeeping moving forward.