Until June, Josh Sargent's
career had pretty much gone swimmingly.
When he was 17, he was picked to represent the USA at the Under-20 World Cup, where he won the Silver Boot at as the tournament's No. 2 scorer. Later in the year, he played at the U-17 World Cup, again scoring four goals.
When he was 18, he made his international debut for the USA and scored 86 seconds into his Bundesliga debut with Werder Bremen.
But after seeing little playing time in the second half of the Bundesliga season, Sargent was omitted from the final roster for the Gold Cup.
It was a tough blow for the 19-year-old forward, third in Coach Gregg Berhalter's mind behind Jozy Altidore and Gyasi Zardes up front, but the omission could have been a blessing in disguise.
It allowed Sargent to focus on his most important task -- winning a regular spot in the Bremen rotation, something that eluded him despite opening with goals in two of his first three games.
If Sargent had played in the Gold Cup, he'd probably just be joining preseason camp now. Instead, he got a jump-start on competing for a starting spot and helped his cause with the lone goal in the 1-0 win over FC Cologne on Saturday.
“It was disappointing at first not to be at the Gold Cup,” Sargent said after the Cologne game. “I could have learned a lot there and needed a while to get my ahead around not being called up. Now I see the positives. I am able to take full part in Werder's preseason preparations. Obviously, the starting lineup is my goal.”
Werder Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt has praised Sargent for his reaction to being cut but there's still plenty of competition up front.
"I'm happy with how things have been going and with my goal," Sargent added. "We've been working hard on things in training, and I'm possibly in the form of my life. It's only been a journey in Germany so far for me. Hopefully, it can continue."