You can just see how some players are better than others, and this is the case with Benji Joya compared to the majority of the players in the United States’ player pool.
Benji Joya is a different type of midfielder and player than Clint Dempsey, but in the same way that this writer immediately saw Clint Dempsey’s quality, so too did this writer see the same with Joya.
Many observers and members of the media will call the belief that Joya should be on the United States Men’s National Team “too soon” or “based on a few good showings,” but this is inaccurate. Joya elected to skip college soccer in order to go pro immediately, and he quickly made his way into La Liga MX with Santos Laguna. Even right now, Joya has demonstrated the ability to play as a professional in Mexico as a teenager, and he has also shown that he has the skill and mentality to be both effective and unfazed on the international level by hostile crowds and quality competition.
For a United States Men’s National Team that needs more dynamic midfielders to move away from Jürgen Klinsmann’s overly defensive style of using of Danny Williams, Jermaine Jones, and Michael Bradley at the same time, Joya is the perfect blend of two-footed technical skill, defensive grit, mental toughness, and a love of big games. Joya gives the United States Men’s National Team a true box-to-box midfielder who not only can play one-to-two touch soccer and play final balls, but who can also help to regain possession of the ball in the midfield.
Benji Joya is 19 years old, and this is not too young to play international soccer. Jürgen Klinsmann still has a lot of games in front of him in World Cup qualifying, but time is also running out. Klinsmann simply does not have the luxury to not put Joya on the team, just as he does not have the luxury of excluding Joe Corona, Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, and even Freddy Adu from his rosters.
Both Freddy Adu and Benny Feilhaber have been discussed at great length by this writer, but both are different types of players than Benji Joya. For a coach who insists on using a midfield destroyer with two box-to-box midfielders, Klinsmann can have his wish by putting Joya on the team and starting him with Bradley as box-to-box midfielders and Jermaine Jones as the midfield destroyer, who also offers advanced technical ability.
Skill is more important than experience, but Benji Joya has shown that he has both, given his club situation and the display he put on in CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying.
Jürgen Klinsmann needs to put Benji Joya on the United States Men’s National Team now.
With Benji Joya in the starting XI, the United States Men’s National Team could line-up with something like this: