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USMNT U-20 defender Manny Perez signs with Celtic

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One of NCAA soccer’s top defenders joins Scotland’s defending champions

Celtic FC v Fenerbahce SK - UEFA Europa League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images

The Scottish Daily Record has reported that U-20 United States Men’s National Team defender Manny Perez has signed a deal to join Celtic FC on January 1st. The 19-year-old right back had been on trial with the Bhoys and apparently did enough to impress manager Brendan Rogers.

Perez just completed his sophomore season with the N.C. State Wolfpack and guided the team to a 10-7-3 record, as well as a 2nd round NCAA tournament appearance. NC State was eliminated in the 2nd round by the eventual national champions Maryland Terrapins.

Perez was widely considered to be one of the top players in college soccer and has made 6 appearances for the U-20 USMNT (all coming in 2018). He previously featured for the U-18 USMNT. He helped the U-20 side win the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, appearing in 4 of the team’s 8 matches. Perez is also eligible to play for Mexico, but seems firmly committed to the U.S.

His new club Celtic has the 2nd most Scottish league titles (behind archival Rangers FC) and is currently 1st in the Scottish Premier League table.

However, the SPL title race is surprisingly competitive this year with just 6 points separating Celtic and 5th place Hearts. Celtic will face Valencia in February in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

The Glasgow-based side currently has three other right backs, including Mikael Lustig, Anthony Ralston, and Cristian Gamboa. However, the Scottish Daily record claims that regular starter Lustig is likely to join a new club in the summer.

Do you think this a good move for Perez?