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USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Welcome back!

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While MLS is in midseason form, European preseasons got back underway this week

Bolivia v United States Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Welcome back to the USMNT Weekly Youth Update! After our summer break, we’re ready to dive back in with all kinds of news to fill you in on. The summer preseason has begun with some of our young players already getting some first team minutes. Here’s what’s been going on:

Germany

Josh Sargent - Striker, Werder Bremen

Sargent and Bremen got back to work this week ahead of the new season. The young attacker was given a piece of welcome news this week as well. He’ll wear the number 19 kit next season for the first team.

This is a great sign that he will indeed be given playing opportunities this season. With the preseason just starting, look for Sargent to take the field this summer. They have matches this week in a friendly tournament before higher level friendlies later this month. Let’s hope Sargent can impress.

Chris Richards - Centerback, FC Dallas (On Loan at Bayern Munich)

Richards is set to join Bayern Munich for a six month loan. The young defender signed a homegrown deal back in April with FC Dallas. The 18-year-old will reportedly play with Bayern’s U-19 team (along with fellow Americans Justin Butler and Jalen Hawkins) while on loan. This should be a great opportunity to get some high level training and good competition. The Bayern Munich-FC Dallas partnership apprars to be paying early dividends.

McKinze Gaines - Winger, SV Darmstadt

Gaines has taken part in a couple friendlies for Darmstadt over the last couple weeks. While the competition has been extremely weak, The 20-year-old has done his part finding the back of the net four times in 21-0 and 10-0 blowouts. Last year was very disappointing after his move from Wolfsburg to the 2. Bundesliga. We’ll see if he can push and become a regular member of the squad this season. This is a young player with a lot of talent. Let’s hope he starts to hone that ability.

England

Giles Philips - Centerback, Queens Park Rangers

Phillips has an important summer ahead. He was brought into the first team at the end of the year last season and this summer poses an opportunity to push to make the first team regularly. Phillips started Queens Park’s preseason match on Saturday (along with Finnish American dual national Left Back Niko Hamalainen) playing the first half before the entire team was subbed at halftime. Phillips signed with the Championship club last summer following a trial at the end of the 2016/2017 season. Hopefully we’ll see some of him in the Championship this season.

Luca de la Torre - Attacking Midfielder, Fulham

The 20-year-old started Fulham’s first preseason match on Saturday. De la Torre was one of three Americans to feature in the match, with Marlon Fossey and Tim Ream playing in the second half. This is an interesting year for the young man, particularly with Fulham earning promotion to the Premier League. Will he be loaned out to gain experience or will he show enough this summer for Fulham to keep him around for depth? De la Torre was a surprise inclusion in the USMNT’s June friendlies, but he has a long way to go professionally if he wants to continue to see callups.

Netherlands

Erik Palmer-Brown - Centerback, Manchester City (On Loan at NAC Breda)

EPB is now in Holland getting ready for the upcoming season with his new club. The loan is for one year as Palmer-Brown will have a similar opportunity to what Matt Miazga has had the last two years. Palmer-Brown is one of the most talented centerbacks in the U.S. setup, but he needs to develop much further. NAC Breda is a great place to do just that. The 21-year-old should see lots of time in the Eredivisie. Keep an eye out for a potential head-to-head matchup with fellow American loanee Andrija Novakovich on September 16th when Fortuna Sittard plays NAC Breda. Good luck to EPB as he joins the contingent of Americans in the Netherlands.

James Dunning - Attacking Midfielder, Feyenoord

As has long been reported, Dunning officially signed with Feyenoord last week. The 16-year-old FC Dallas product moves on to one of the best academies in the world. He will join Feyenoord’s U-17 team next season as he starts his European journey. Feyenoord also signed another American in 14-year-old stiker, Levi Skyum. They join Nigerian-American Lateef Omidiji with the Dutch giants. It’s definitely a good sign to have so many players developing at such a high level academy.

Denmark

Jonathan Amon - Winger, FC Nordsjaelland

Amon signed a contract extension this week, keeping him in Denmark through 2022. The 19-year-old winger had a breakout year last season and is already garnering interest from several high level clubs. For now though, he will stay at Nordsjaelland and hone his craft. This coming week they begin their Europa League campaign with a two-leg playoff against Cliftonville FC. The regular season in Denmark starts this Sunday. Amon, however, may have to wait a bit longer to make his return. He hasn’t taken part in any of their preseason friendlies, presumably still rehabbing his hamstring problems. We’ll see what his availability will be this week, but his injury problems are concerning.

Jens Cajuste - Central Defensive Midfielder, FC Midtjylland

Cajuste joined Bill Hamid at Midtjylland this week. The 18-year-old Swedish-American moves from Ogrytte IS of the Swedish second division. The young midfielder has impressive ability and hopefully will be able to get some looks with arguably the best team in the Danish league.

United States

Ayo Akinola - Winger, Toronto FC

Akinola made his MLS debut this week, coming off the bench in Toronto’s 4-3 loss to Minnesota United. The 18-year-old joins the likes of Andrew Carleton, Timothy Weah and Chris Durkin as players that represented the United States at the 2017 U-17 WC to make their first team professional debuts. This comes off a fine stretch in USL where he scored four goals and had an assist in his last five outings. Congratulations Ayo! Keep it up!

Wan Kuzain - Midfielder, Sporting Kansas City

Kuzain has seen an outstanding breakthrough at Kansas City. He’s appeared eight times in all competitions scoring once and providing one assist as well. The 19-year-old has displayed glimpses of outstanding close control and passing ability. While his professional career is just underway, he is someone to keep an eye on if his development stays on this trajectory. Congratulations Wan!

Hit the comments section to discuss to let me know if there’s anything major I overlooked or if there’s a player you want to hear about. Thank you all for reading!