While this January transfer window seemed relatively quite compared to that of previous years, it was a busy time for young Americans. From college senior Andrew Gutman to 16-year-old Gio Reyna, many young players were on the move.
Here’s a look at some notable transfers and loans (this list is limited to American players who were officially transferred or loaned during the January window, or had imminent transfers or loans announced during this time). For the purpose of this list, “young player” was defined as anyone 23 and under who has yet to earn a senior national team cap.
Gio Reyna, attacking midfielder, 16, (NYCFC Academy)—free transfer to Borussia Dortmund
Gio Reyna’s long rumored move to Borussia Dortmund, became official in January 2019. The promising youth prospect will play with Dortmund’s U-19 side for the remainder of the 2018/2019 season.
Taylor Booth, central midfielder, 17, (Real Salt Lake Academy)—free transfer to Bayern Munich
Real Salt Academy product Taylor Booth has signed for German powerhouse Bayern Munich. Booth has been a regular for the U.S. youth national teams and joins fellow American Chris Richards on the Bayern U-19 team.
Richard Ledezma, central midfielder, 18, (Real Salt Lake Academy)—free transfer to PSV Eindhoven
Richard Ledezma’s transfer from the RSL Academy to PSV Eindhoven had been announced in December, but he formally joined the Eredivisie side this January. Ledezma has an excellent passing range and can play several different positions in midfield.
He will feature for PSV’s U-19 side for the remainder of the 2018/2019 season. While Ledezma appears to be committed to the USMNT, he is eligible to represent Mexico.
Raphael Iacovelli, central midfielder, 18 (Carpi)—transfer to Padova
Raphael Iacovelli has left Serie B side Carpi, after receiving little playing time for the club’s U-19 side this season. The New York City born central midfielder is joining the U-19 squad of fellow Serie B side Padova.
Frankie Amaya, attacking midfielder, 18 (UCLA)—drafted #1 overall by FC Cincinnati
After just one season of NCAA soccer, playmaker Frankie Amaya signed a Generation Adidas deal with MLS and was the #1 overall pick in the 2019 Superdraft.
Amaya is a raw, yet incredibly talented prospect who played in 4 matches at the 2018 U-20 CONCACAF Championships. He may struggle to earn MLS minutes this season, but undoubtedly has a bright future.
Manny Perez, right-back, 19, (North Carolina State)—free transfer to Celtic FC—loan to North Carolina FC
After proving to be one of the best players in NCAA soccer, Manny Perez decided to leave NC State after two seasons. Perez signed with Celtic following a successful trial and will join USL Championship side North Carolina FC on loan.
Juan Pablo Torres, defensive midfielder, 19, (Lokeren)—transfer to NYCFC
Juan Pablo Torres is a promising prospect, who appeared in 6 of the U.S. U-20’s 7 2018 U-20 CONCACAF Championship matches (the U.S. won the tournament). Torres couldn’t break into the starting XI for Belgian side Lokeren and has signed with NYCFC.
He’ll face stiff competition for playing time, as NYCFC youngsters James Sands and Keaton Parks are also capable of playing defensive midfield.
Omir Fernandez, 19, attacking midfielder (Wake Forest)—signed Homegrown Player deal with New York Red Bulls
Omir Fernandez signed with the Red Bulls after two impressive years at Wake, which included a dominant 12 goals, 6 assist 2018 season. Fernandez has received call-ups for both the U.S. U-18 and U-20 sides.
Justin Rennicks, forward, 19, (Indiana University)—signed Homegrown Player deal with New England Revolution
Like Amaya, Justin Rennicks was a member of the U.S. U-20 CONCACAF Championship winning team. He scored 4 goals and notched 6 assists in the tournament’s 8 matches. Rennicks featured sparingly during his lone year at Indiana, due to injury troubles and youth national team duty.
Siad Haji, 19, (Virginia Commonwealth University)—drafted #2 overall by San Jose Earthquakes
Siad Haji scored 5 goals and contributed 10 assists, in 18 matches, during his lone year with VCU. He’s a raw prospect, who spent his first year of college soccer playing for Division 3 New England College.
McKinzie Gaines, right-winger, 20, (Darmstadt 98)—loan to FSV Zwickau for rest of 2018/2019 season
McKinzie Gaines has not seen the field for 2.Bundesliga side Darmstadt 98 this season and was therefore loaned out to German third division side FSV Zwickau.
Gaines has struggled since moving to Germany, in 2016, and will hope that some excellent performances for Zwickau can help get his career back on track.
Kevin Lankford, right-winger, 20, (FC Heidenheim)—transfer to FC St. Pauli
Kevin Lankford crept onto some USMNT fans radars after several solid appearances for 2.Bundesliga side FC Heidenheim during the 2017/2018 season. Lankford, who is also eligible for Germany, has struggled with injuries this season.
Despite his recent injury troubles, Lankford was bought by 2.Bundesliga team St.Pauli who surely have high hopes for him.
Andrew Gutman, left-back, 22, (free agent; completed fourth season at Indiana University)—free transfer to Celtic
Andrew Gutman capped off his NCAA career with a stellar 2018 season that included guiding Indiana University to the College Cup semifinals and winning the Hermann Trophy (college soccer’s Heisman equivalent).
After refusing a Homegrown Player offer from the Chicago Fire, he joined Rangers on trial. Gutman ultimately ended up signing for Rangers’s archival Celtic. He was supposed to join USL Championship side Nashville SC on loan, but this was cancelled and Nashville issued a statement saying that “MLS does not support the transaction.”