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USMNT Weekly Youth Update: U-19 team restarts, U-15s in Italy

Plus dual-national panic over Slonina and JoGo, and Brooklyn Raines’ impressive debut in Houston.

The U.S. U-15 starting lineup vs Belgium.

Welcome back to the USMNT Weekly Youth Update! Let’s take a look back at some developments in the young US player pool over the past week. By reader request, here’s a breakdown of which birth years are eligible for which youth national teams and tournaments:

  • 1999 and younger: eligible for “age-based” U-23 team (this is not something U.S. Soccer does, but I advocate for it)
  • 2001 and younger: eligible for 2024 Paris Olympics (U.S. U-23 team, actually age 21 and below in 2022)
  • 2003 and younger: eligible for 2022 Concacaf Championship, 2023 U-20 World Cup
  • 2006 and younger: eligible for 2023 U-17 World Cup

Argentina

In March, Noah Mavrommitis (LB, 2003) was called up to train with the U.S. U-20s, since they were in Buenos Aires, where he plays his club ball. Last week, Arch Bell sat down with Noah to hear about his move from Atlanta to Argentina at age 12, and his goals for club and country.

Canada

Osaze De Rosario (ST, 2001), son of MLS legend Dwayne De Rosario, scored a nice goal in the Canadian Premier League. Osaze signed with York United of the CPL in April, after a 6-month stint with top-tier Ukraine club Rukh Lviv from Sep ‘21-Feb ‘22. Osaze is US-eligible due to being born in California.

Croatia

Rokas Pukstas (CM, 2004) made his debut for Hajduk Split in Croatia’s top flight, getting the start after making the bench since times since January, but not appearing. Pukstas has been with the U.S. U-20s in Nov ‘21 and Mar ‘22, skipping the Jan ‘22 camp to focus on club ball.

El Salvador

Alejandro Cano (CB, 2004) was MOTM for El Salvador’s U-20s in a 5-1 win over Belize, with viewers impressed with his confidence on the ball and passing. The San Jose Earthquakes academy player is U.S.-eligible, but has no callups so far.

Germany

Cologne - Damion Downs (ST, 2004) was praised by Köln’s sporting director upon being called up by the U.S. U-20s. Downs, just 17, scored a hat trick in a first-team friendly a month ago.

Leipzig - Gustavo Borges (midfield) trained with RB Leipzig’s U-14s and U-15s during spring break. Borges plays with Achilles 09 in MLS Next.

Nuremberg - Bryang Kayo (CM, 2002) got his first minutes with Nürnberg II since joining the fourth-tier club on loan from Wolfsburg in February.

Wolfsburg - Kevin Paredes (LB/W, 2003) made a 10’ cameo for Wolfsburg last week. Good to see him get on the field, but you would’ve liked to see him play more, with Wolfsburg leading 5-0 and up a man since just after halftime.

Iceland

Ísak Snaer Thorvaldsson (AM, 2001) made Team of the Week in Iceland’s top tier.

Italy

Kevin Bright (CM, 2003) scored for Cremonese U-19s. Bright left AC Milan’s setup for Cremonese in January, and his new first team is second in Serie B, looking to hold onto that automatic promotion spot.

Mexico
Jonathan Gómez (LB, 2003) was called up to Mexico’s full national team for a friendly with Guatemala, where he came on late for a 10’ cameo. This shouldn’t alarm U.S. fans, as JoGo has said he wants to see both the U.S. and Mexico before making his decision.

And JoGo wasn’t the only Mexican-American getting attention this week. Chance Cowell, younger brother of San Jose’s Cade Cowell, got a Mexico U-15 callup.

Netherlands

Eindhoven - Richy Ledezma (AM, 2000) scored a lovely chip for Jong PSV. Ledezma has had a strange season as he’s dealt with injuries and been shuttled back and forth between Jong PSV and the first team. Good to see him show his quality.

Rotterdam - Cole Bassett (CM/W, 2001) picked up his first Eredivisie assist on a 90+6’ winner, as Feyenoord beat Utrecht 2-1.

Poland

The Gaga Slonina wars are heating up, with reports from multiple sources Poland will call him up to their first team for Nations League games against Belgium, Netherlands, and Wales.

Poland’s head coach also met with Slonina in Chicago, and had the following to say:

“I handed him the national team jersey with the number one and an eagle. He was very proud and touched by our conversation. He is very interested in playing for our squad. We know the United States is tempting him too. I think that we are, in fact, heading in the right direction for him to represent us.”

Portugal

Ethan Crump (GK) trialed with Casa Pia in Portugal’s second tier. Casa Pia also has American Matthew Leal (CB, 2003) on their books, as his brother Patrick Leal (AM, 2003) left for Venezia U-19 in Aug ‘21.

Sweden

Kristoffer Lund Hansen (LB, 2002) picked up a sublime assist for Häcken in Sweden’s top tier. The Danish-American has been with Denmark’s U-17s and U-18s, but no USYNT camps yet.

Turkey

Bora Aydinlik (W, 2005) was interviewed by Transfermarkt. The young Fenerbahçe attacker is Turkish-American, but has only represented Turkey so far.

USA

U.S. Soccer hired Marko Mitrović to lead the U-19 youth national team. This is fantastic news, as it means there will be U-19 camps moving forward. One of the big problems with the U.S. youth setup for years has been that it lacks certain age groups, meaning players can be ignored based on birth year, and dual-nationals develop strong relationships with other nations. Another perk? It appears former USMNT World Cup goalscorer Jermaine Jones is an assistant on Mitrović’s staff with the U-19s.

The day after Mitrović’s hiring, the U-15 roster was released for the Torneo delle Nazioni in Italy. Marcus Chairez of Chasing A Cup provided his analysis in a thread.

The very next day, a U-20 roster was released in preparation for this summer’s Concacaf Championship. Once again, Marcus Chairez was on the scene with analysis.

And to keep things rolling, the day after that, a U-19 roster came out! Third time’s the charm, Marcus Chairez was back with more thoughtful analysis.

On the YNT front, the only game action has been the U-15s. They picked up a tying goal vs Slovenia on a long ball from Davi Alexandre (Red Bulls academy) to Ruben Ramos Jr. (Galaxy academy).

The game with Slovenia would end 1-1. More resources:

In their second match, Kyrome Lumsden (LAFC academy) keyed the second-half comeback with a goal and two assists. All three goals came from fun-to-watch buildup:

The U.S. finished with a 3-2 win, topping the group. More resources:

As if that wasn’t enough, the Generation Adidas Cup also just took place. Once again, Marcus Chairez was on hand with a detailed report.

@ProspectsUSMNT also offered analysis of young Americans in U.S. Open Cup matches over on BigSoccer, and similar analysis for USYNT-eligible players in USL.

Last but not least in the “general U.S. Soccer youth news” section, there are rumors that the NCAA is making changes to college soccer.

Atlanta - We have video of Caleb Wiley’s (LB, 2004) performance against Inter Miami:

Also in Atlanta, Argentine-American Rocco Ríos Novo (GK, 2002) has rejoined Atlanta United in the wake of Brad Guzan’s season-ending injury.

Chicago - Gaga Slonina (GK, 2004) has broken the MLS record for clean sheets for keepers under 21.

Colorado Springs - Isaiah Foster (LB, 2003) has started the USL season off in good form.

Dallas - Thomas Roberts (AM, 2001) is back with FC Dallas after his loan with Klagenfurt in Austria’s top tier ended early.

Also in Dallas, Antonio Carrera (GK, 2004) showed off his kung fu moves:

Houston - Brooklyn Raines (CM, 2005) made his Houston Dynamo debut in a U.S. Open Cup match with Rio Grande Valley. It was a strong performance from Raines, who turned 17 in March. He spent time at El Paso Locomotive last season, but only played 19’ total in 3 appearances. He has 1 assist in 5 appearances and 342’ in MLS Next Pro this season.

Los Angeles - Nathan Ordaz (W, 2004) has signed a Homegrown deal with LAFC. Ordaz was also in U.S. U-20 camp announced a week ago, and is a triple-national, having also been in Mexico U-20 and El Salvador U-19 camps.

Louisville - Joshua Wynder (CB, 2005) is having an amazing season. The 16-year-old is starting regularly for independent club Louisville City in the USL Championship, scored the winning penalty for them in the U.S. Open Cup, leading to a local news piece, and was called into U.S. U-19 camp.

Modesto - Alexis Luna (2005) was highlighted by @ProspectsUSMNT as a talented player who hadn’t been picked up by an MLS academy. Turns out Luna may have joined Liga MX side Santos Laguna, as he played with them at GA Cup.

Orlando - Thomas Williams (CB, 2004) got a few clips cut by Marcus Chairez. Williams is currently in camp with the U.S. U-20s.

Salt Lake City - Jaziel Orozco (CB, 2004) has played regularly with Real Salt Lake to start the MLS season, and the Mexican-American was included in the most recent U.S. U-20 camp.

San Jose - Niko Tsakiris (CM, 2005) scored his first MLS goal with the San Jose Earthquakes!

Also in San Jose, Cruz Medina (AM, 2006) made the bench for Quakes II in MLS Next Pro. Medina was in the news as he trialed with Bayern Munich earlier this spring.

Seattle - Obed Vargas (CM, 2005) is reportedly being scouted by Celtic FC after his strong performances with the Seattle Sounders to start the season.

Also in Seattle, Christopher Aquino scored a hat-trick with the Sounders U-17s:

St. Louis - Aaron Heard (mid, 2006) made his debut for St. Louis City in the U.S. Open Cup. The 15-year-old is reported to sign with Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen once he turns 18.

Tacoma - Alfonso Ocampo-Chávez (ST, 2002) is tied for most goals in MLS Next Pro to start the season. Here’s his header against Quakes II:

Hit the comments to let me know if there’s anything major I overlooked or if there’s anyone you’d like to hear about. Thank you for reading!