While most U.S. Soccer eyes are locked on the men’s do-or-die qualifiers this weekend, the U-17 USMNT kicks off the U-17 World Cup the same day as the USMNT match against Panama. The team is renowned for their wealth of attacking talent, and now The Guardian has recognized two members of the squad in their annual Next Generation list, naming Andrew Carleton and Timothy Weah among the 60 best soccer players on the planet born in the year 2000.
Andrew Carleton is a well-known quantity to U.S. and MLS fans, as the Georgie native lit up the score sheets for the U-17 all the way to a Homegrown contract with Atlanta United and full professional debut at just 16 years old. He’s a flashy winger with a penchant for embarrassing defenders on the dribble.
Tim Weah probably has one of the most, if not the most, impressive soccer pedigrees of anyone to put on a U.S. shirt. The son of former Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year winner George Weah, Tim is a New York native who plies his trade for Paris Saint-Germain. Fleet-footed and unafraid of mixing things up in the box, Weah also has a knack for intelligent movement off the ball and the classic finishing ability of a goal-poacher.
Both Carleton and Weah are important cogs in the U-17 attack. However, newly-inked Werder Bremen man Josh Sargent’s name is mysteriously missing from this list, as most people around the U.S. youth set-up consider him to be the brightest prospect in the U-17 team. After all, he already played in the U-20 World Cup earlier this year, finishing with four goals on the tournament. That mark was just one shy of the Golden Boot award, and Sargent was one of the youngest players in the tournament. He’s still eligible for the U-17 World Cup, and more often than not Tim Weah actually starts most games on the bench behind Sargent. Despite looking like a very athletic leprechaun, Sargent’s physicality, creativity, and finishing ability are top of his class.
Even with Sargent’s snub, it’s always cool to see U.S. youth internationals recognized. If you want to see more of Carleton, Weah, Sargent, and the rest of the U.S. U-17s, they open their World Cup campaign on Friday against hosts India, 10:30 AM Eastern Standard Time.