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USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Injuries piling up

Several star youngsters are on the shelf

Portugal vs USA - International Friendly Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

This week saw several updates regarding players hitting the injury list as well as some notable on-field performances.

United States

Kellyn Acosta - Central Midfielder, FC Dallas

Acosta was left out of the CONCACAF Champions League squad for FC Dallas’ first leg 1-0 away defeat to Panamanian side, Tauro FC. Acosta has been nursing a groin injury throughout preseason and now it’s reported that he has undergone surgery to repair a sports hernia. The surgery will keep Acosta out for up to 6 to 8 weeks, which will make him unavailable for the March friendly against Paraguay.

Shaft Brewer - Winger/Striker, Los Angeles FC

Brewer has reportedly had a falling out with RB Leipzig after six months in Germany with their U-19 team. He has since been on trial with MLS expansion team LAFC this preseason. This weekend, he was awarded the number 28 jersey, so he is for certain going to stay there. His contract situation is still uncertain, but it appears that the 18-year-old is headed back to MLS (he was originally a part of the FC Dallas Academy before signing in Germany). Good luck to the young attacker.

Andrew Carleton - Attacking Midfielder, Atlanta United

Carleton has been a major talking point during the MLS preseason. While Carleton is one of the most talented young Americans in the league, ATL United has a plethora of attacking talent that will make it very difficult for him to crack the starting eleven. On Saturday night, they played their final preseason game against the Charleston Battery of the USL. Carleton made his case to play a major role this season with some outrageous plays including this ridiculous backheel flick on a ball that was behind him that nearly ended up as an assist.

Later in the match he pulled this absurd pass out of thin air.

This kid obviously has some special talent. Let’s hope the 17-year-old has done enough for Tata Martino to give him some serious looks this year. We’ll have our first idea about it next week when the MLS season kicks off.


Nick Taitague - Attacking Midfielder, FC Schalke

Taitague finally returned from injury last weekend after three months on the shelf. The Schalke U-19 star started and played 61 minutes last Sunday upon his return. This week he proved that he hasn’t lost a step. Taitague scored the third goal in their 5-0 victory midweek against Bayer Leverkusen’s U-19’s. He followed that up by scoring the only goal for Schalke in their 1-1 draw with VFL Bochum on Sunday. Taitague recently turned 19 years old and hopes to have a shot at the Schalke first team next season. He now has 4 goals and 5 assists in 13 games this year.

Zyen Jones - Winger/Striker, FC Schalke

Jones has been on trial with the German giants for weeks and this week was awarded with an opportunity to sign on his 18th birthday (he turns 18 on August 25th). Chris Gloster, who was on trial at the same time as Jones reportedly will not be offered a contract. Jones is a Georgia product and spent time with Atlanta United’s academy. He had an opportunity to sign a homegrown deal with Atlanta United, but he will instead be joining Schalke’s U-19 team this fall. Jones will be the fourth different American that has signed with Schalke upon turning 18, joining Haji Wright, Weston McKennie and Nick Taitague. Along with 16-year-old Carl Hartmann, Jones will be the fifth American in Schalke’s system. Let’s wish Zyen the best of luck in Europe!

Josh Sargent - Striker, Werder Bremen

This was a great week for the young man. He turned 18 on Tuesday and officially signed his first professional contract with Werder Bremen. On top of that, Werder Bremen secured a massive victory on Saturday (behind some Aron Johansson heroics) over Hamburger SV in the Nordderby to help them move closer to safety from relegation. One important thing to note is that Josh Sargent will indeed be ineligible to play in official matches until next season due to signing after the Winter Transfer window closed. He will train with the U23’s as well as the first team until trying to win a spot in the first team this summer. Let’s hope the young star can make waves in Germany. Congratulations, Josh!


Jordan Siebatcheu - Striker, Stade Reims

Siebatcheu started as usual in Friday’s 2-1 victory over Quevilly-Rouen. Unfortunately he had to be subbed off in the 49th minute due to an ankle injury that he attempted to play through. Ankle sprains can be tricky to recover from, but let’s hope it’s not too serious. Reims have promotion in their sights as they currently sit 14 points clear at the top of Ligue 2 with 11 games to go in the season.


Jonathan Amon - Winger, FC Nordsjaelland

Amon has missed out on the last two matches due to a shin injury. His coach, Kasper Hjulmand, had this to say regarding Amon:

“‘He is suffering from a type of shinbone inflammation, which has gone into the bone, and you should be careful. One must be careful with fatigue failure so we have to relieve him completing at the moment.’”

Nordsjaelland drew 1-1 with AaB Aalborg on Sunday and currently sit in third place in the Danish Superliga. In Denmark, the top team (currently Bill Hamid’s FC Midtjylland) goes to Champions League and the next two teams qualify for the Europa League. Let’s hope Amon can recover from his injury quickly so he can help them lock down a position in European football.


Andrija Novakovich - Striker, Reading FC (On Loan at Telstar FC)

The Reading loanee had another outstanding match on Friday, scoring a goal and assisting on another in Telstar’s 5-2 victory over FC Volendam. Novakovich continues to be on a tear through Holland’s second division. After Friday’s performance, he now has 14 goals and 5 assists in 26 games in all competitions this season. Let’s hope he continues to keep up his good form.


Shaq Moore - Right Back, Levante UD

Moore has been back with Atletico Levante in recent weeks, but he is consistently showing that he’s much better than that level. Already in his time back with the B team, the speedy fullback has contributed with 2 assists. This past weekend, he scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time to lift them closer to promotion to the second division in Spain. Hopefully he can show Juan Lopez Muniz that he is ready for another shot with the first team soon.

Mukwelle Akale - Winger, Villareal

Akale had a huge match on Saturday for Villareal C (who also play in the Spanish third tier). Akale had an assist, drew a penalty which he then scored and scored another. Here are the highlights from that performance (he’s #10):

Let’s hope the 21-year-old can build off this performance and push closer to some time with the first team.


Rubio Rubin - Winger, Club Tijuana

Rubin came on in the 53rd minute to make his Club Tijuana debut on Wednesday night. Tijuana went on to win 1-0 over Honduran side Motagua FC. Then on Saturday, he started and went the distance in Tijuana’s 0-0 draw with Club America to make his Liga MX debut. It’s great to see the young man getting a shot south of the border.

As always, please mention in the comments section if there is something major I overlooked. Thank you so much for reading.