When Lionel Messi moved to Major League Soccer to join Inter Miami CF, the eyes of the soccer world turned to South Florida. However, some followers of the United States Men’s National Team were already paying attention to the club due to a certain young talent on the books. Benjamin “Benja” Cremaschi is in his first professional season, playing with one of the sport’s legends and impressing in his own right. The 18-year-old midfielder is considered a top prospect and has already attracted interest from multiple national team programs.
Born in Miami, Florida to a family that includes a father who played rugby at the international level for Argentina, Cremaschi competed for Key Biscayne SC and Weston Academy, winning the MLS Next Cup and claiming the competition’s Golden Ball with the latter outfit. In 2021, he moved to the Inter Miami youth set-up and won his flight at the Generation Adidas Cup. The club promoted him to the second team, making 13 appearances in MLS Next Pro while contributing five goals and one assist, also being selected to participate in the league’s All-Star Game and scoring in the exhibition. Time with the reserves helped him to “learn the system” and experience a “professional environment,” easing his eventual jump to the senior level.
In November of 2022, Miami signed him to a three-year Homegrown contract with team options for two additional seasons. “Benjamin is a really exciting young talent that we believe in,” said Inter Miami chief soccer officer and sporting director Chris Henderson. “He’s a young midfielder who has improved so much in such a short period of time and we’re very excited to continue to help his development now with the first team.”
Named one of the “Top 50 Prospects in MLS” by Top Drawer Soccer, Cremaschi made his senior debut in the season opener, playing a single minute in a 2-0 victory over CF Montréal. He continued splitting time between the reserve and senior levels before earning his first start at the end of April and registered a headed assist in a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC, earning Team of the Matchday honors. Since then, the midfielder has held down a spot in the starting lineup, making 24 league and cup appearances. His first professional goal came in a 2-2 draw with D.C. United, a well-placed finish from the top of the box. His anticipated transfer may come sooner rather than later, as Taylor Twellman reportedly shared on a broadcast that Bundesliga scouts have been in attendance at matches.
As for his immediate future, Inter Miami has undergone several changes over the past month. In addition to signing Messi, the club switched head coaches and brought in several notable players, including midfielders Sergio Busquets, Diego Gómez, and Facundo Farías. However, Cremaschi has enjoyed positive interactions with the new “quite vocal” boss and received clear tactical instructions, perhaps boding well for the remainder of the season.
“The whole team is excited for these new players coming, especially me,” he told the Miami Herald. “But right now we have to keep on focusing on working and wait until the other players come. This team is moving forward, and with the names coming and the changes to come, we are going to grow. We’re young players, but we need to be respected, too, we’re not scared or afraid of anyone... I know what I have to do to maintain my position on the team, even with the big names coming.”
At the international level, Cremaschi is eligible to represent the United States and Argentina. He won the 2022 Slovenia Nations Cup with the USMNT U-19 team while scoring a brace against Croatia and was called in to the U-20 squad. A few months later, the teenager had a “great experience” when attending a camp with the Albicelestes (White and Sky Blue) U-20 group, the “only player from outside of [the country] at the club level,” but competed with neither program at the most-recent U-20 World Cup.
A box-to-box midfielder who can also line up on the wing and in an attacking role, Cremaschi is described as “physically advanced,” earning praise for his aggressive nature, understanding of the game, defensive efforts, and ball progression. The “selfless player” is constantly working to get involved on both sides of the game, wants the ball at his feet, and has the pace to keep up with opposing wingers. Perhaps his best asset is the ability to work out of pressure and avoid challenges from the opponent, quickly moving into space and jumpstarting the transition.
“Ben is another well-rounded midfielder and he has a strong physical profile,” wrote Marcus Chairez for Chasing a Cup. “He’s strong and quick and is very physical. He reads the game really well as evidenced by the [number] of times he intercepts balls… He just seems to have a good understanding of what the [attack] is trying to do and he gets to spots before others do… He is a better dribbler than passer right now and he also makes his presence felt in the final third. He strikes the ball well and arrives at the right time.”
Cremaschi is at the beginning of his professional career yet is already attracting attention for his abilities. Due to his famous teammate, he has a rare opportunity with an outsized portion of the viewing public observing his matches, a larger audience than is typically afforded to MLS. Even before the arrival of Messi, the teenaged midfielder was the subject of an early recruiting battle between two international sides, a tug-of-war that should play out over the coming years. His future appears bright, but now comes the challenge of reaching the level suggested by potential and early promise.