With the U-20 United States Men’s National Team playing in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship (which doubles as U-20 World Cup qualification) the past few weeks, it seemed like a good to examine some of the top U-20 prospects. Players who have been capped by the senior national team or never involved with U.S. youth national teams were not included on this list.
While the squad chosen for qualifying undoubtedly has some talented players, none made the cut for this list. Here’s a look at six of the best Americans under twenty.
Konrad de la Fuente - Midfielder
Konrad de la Fuente is a 17-year-old winger who has impressed with FC Barcelona’s Juvenil A (U-19) side. De la Fuente has a 1 goal and 1 assist in 4 UEFA Youth League appearances this season.
Barcelona Juvenil A won the Youth League in 2018 and has a good chance to repeat this year. De la Fuente is a tricky dribbler with great pace and good crossing ability. He’s been involved with the U.S. U-16, U-18, and U-19 national teams. De la Fuente is also eligible for the Haitian and Spanish national teams.
Andrew Carleton - Midfielder
Andrew Carleton has struggled to break into a loaded Atlanta United side, but has a ton of potential. He notched 1 goal for Atlanta in 93 minutes of U.S. Open Cup play and added 1 assist in 158 minutes MLS minutes this season.
Additionally, Carleton appeared in 14 matches for Atlanta United 2, (in the USL) notching 2 goals and 2 assists. The 18-year-old winger is an outstanding dribbler, with an excellent passing range.
He’s a solid finisher, but will have to improve this part of his game in order to realize his full potential. Carleton has been a regular member of U.S. youth sides and if the U.S. U-20 side can qualify for the 2019 U-20 World Cup, expect Carleton to be a key member of the side.
Chris Durkin - Midfielder
Chris Durkin made 24 MLS appearances for D.C. United this season and rarely looked out of place. The 18-year-old defensive midfielder is a hard tackler and good passer, who rarely loses possession. While his playing time tailed off at the end of the season,
Durkin will likely be a regular starter next season if he remains with D.C. United. With rumors that European teams are interested in Durkin, it’s unclear if he’ll still be in MLS next season.
Sebastian Soto - Forward/Winger
Sebastian Soto joined Bundesliga side Hannover 96 this summer and has been on a tear for the club’s U-19 side. The former Real Salt Lake Academy man has started every game in the A-Junioren Bundesliga Nord/Nordost and notched 9 goals and 3 assists in 10 appearances.
He’s a classic poacher with impressive pace. Although Soto seems firmly committed to the U.S., he is eligible for Mexico.
Chris Richards - Defender
FC Dallas centerback Chris Richards has been in excellent form while at loan in Bayern Munich. He’s has 9 league appearances for the Bayern U-19s in the A-Junioren Bundesliga Süd/Südwest and 4 in the UEFA Youth League (a youth version of the Champions League).
Richards is a great athlete who is dominant in the air and rarely gets beat 1-v-1. Earlier in the season Bayern coach Niko Kovac suggested that Richards might be in line for some first team appearances, although this now seems unlikely.
If Richards’ excellent play continues, he may leave Dallas before ever playing a game before the team.
Sergino Dest - Defender/Winger
Sergino Dest is a star player for Ajax’s U-19 side. Like fellow Americans Chris Richards and Konrad de la Fuente, Dest has impressed in the UEFA Youth League with 1 goal and 1 assist in 4 matches playing as a winger.
There is debate over what Dest’s position is and while many consider him to be a natural right-back, he has predominantly featured as a winger this season for Ajax. Dest has a high work rate, quick acceleration, and is a solid 1-v-1 defender.
However, if he is going to continue to play as a winger he must greatly improve his finishing. Dest has been involved with the U.S. U-17 and U-20 sides, but is also eligible to play for the Netherlands.
Which U-20 players are you most excited about? Who should have made this list, but didn’t?