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USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Transfer roundup

Lots of players moving clubs this time of year.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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 two weeks (I was out on vacation last 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 US Soccer does, but I advocate for it)
  • 2001 and younger: eligible for 2024 Paris Olympics (U-23 team)
  • 2003 and younger: eligible for 2022 Concacaf Championship, 2023 U-20 World Cup
  • 2006 and younger: eligible for 2023 U-17 World Cup

The rating at the end of each update reflects how much I think each player should be called up to the senior national team at the next opportunity (1-nowhere near ready; 10-absolutely call him up and start him). Let’s get into it!

Canada

‘01 midfielder Sebastian Berhalter (yes, Gregg’s son) has moved from the Columbus Crew to the Vancouver Whitecaps. 20-year-old has 24 MLS games with the Crew. Rating: 1

Denmark

Jose Gallegos (‘01 winger) made his SønderjyskE debut in a friendly, after making his permanent move from San Antonio FC two weeks ago. Rating: 3

England

Auston Trusty will officially move to Arsenal this summer. Yes, that Arsenal. The Gunners. The ones in England. Trusty, born in 1998, has never been a top-rated American CB, not even from the MLS cohort, so this move comes as something of a shock. (Especially in a transfer window where Atlanta United brass have claimed there are no offers for Miles Robinson). Regardless, we’re rooting for Auston to surprise some people in red and white. Rating: 3

Ethan Wady, an ‘02 goalkeeper, has been loaned to Hendon FC from Chelsea’s U-23s. Hendon are below the sixth tier in English football. It’s the fourth such loan for Wady, who has also spent time with Dartford, Stevenage, and Tooting & Mitcham. Presumably Wady is not first-choice with his age group, so the Blues want to get him some game-time, even if it’s at a low level. Rating: 1

Crystal Palace has signed two U-23 US-eligible players and immediately loaned them to Belgium’s second tier. Sebastian Joffre is a Bolivian-American striker born in 1999, and Rian Jamai is an ‘01 forward/attacking mid. They join up with ‘98 American midfielder Jacob Montes at RWD Molenbeek. Rating: 1

Zach Booth, the younger brother of Bayern’s Taylor, is an ‘04 center mid in the Leicester setup. He scored the winner for the U-18s at the weekend. Zach has struggled with injury issues, but is highly rated, and was in US U-17 camp in Feb 2020. Rating: 1

France

Erik Palmer-Brown has made his loan move permanent, signing with ESTAC Troyes in Ligue 1 from Manchester City. EPB has started five straight games for Troyes in Ligue 1, and performed well, especially on the ball, but made a mistake leading to a goal in their 5-1 loss to Brest on Sunday. Troyes are part of City Football Group, so he’s still part of the City system, but it’s good to see him finding a permanent landing spot after years of loans. Rating: 8

Germany

Jalen Hawkins (‘01 German-American winger) has been loaned to third-tier Saarbrücken from Ingolstadt in the 2 Bundesliga. Hawkins has been with the US U-20s. Rating: 1

North Carolina FC goalkeeper Nick Holliday trained with Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month. Holliday is an ‘06 - just 16 years old - and has been in both U-17 camps so far for this new cycle (Nov ‘21 and Jan ‘22). Rating: 1

Justin Che’s new manager gave an update on him, after moving to Hoffenheim. Che started at right back and went 90’ with Hoffenheim’s reserves in the fourth tier on Sunday. Che is a top-rated 2003 center back, and will be a big part of the current U-20 cycle. Rating: 5

Italy

Anthony Fontana has left the Philadelphia Union, but the ‘99 center mid hasn’t found a landing spot yet. Rumors were that he would sign with Serie B side Ascoli, but nothing has materialized yet. Rating: 1

Netherlands

Richy Ledezma has a new manager at PSV Eindhoven. The ‘00 attacking mid slotted right back into PSV’s first team on his initial return from injury, but after a couple brief appearances off the bench, he stayed on the bench through January. He’s returned to Jong PSV, and is playing there for now. Rating: 6

Cole Bassett seems to be adjusting well to life in the Netherlands. The ‘01 center mid notched his first goal with Feyenoord’s U-21s, after joining from Colorado Rapids. We’ll see how quickly Bassett can work his way into the first team. Rating: 4

Scotland

Emmanuel Johnson has signed with Hibs in Scotland, moving from the Barca Residency Academy in Arizona. The ‘03 winger will be loaned back to Charleston Battery in USL. Rating: 1

@ProspectsUSMNT has the low-down on Johnson.

Spain

Rayo Vallecano has added a US-eligible youngster to their ranks. Not much is known about Christian Maldonado, but the 20-year-old will most likely start with their reserve side. Rating: 1

Another US dual-national in Spain is Rodrigo Neri, who is unlikely to be involved with U.S. youth national teams, despite his scoring record with Atletico Madrid’s U-18 side. This highlights the need for USSF to reinstate camps for U-16, U-18, and U-19 age groups as quickly as possible. Rating: 1

USA

Charleston - Matteo Ritaccio has moved from Liverpool’s reserves to Charleston Battery in the USL Championship (where he will join young Emmanuel Johnson, on loan from Hibs). Ritaccio, an ‘01 center mid who can also play as a winger, has logged 11 appearances with Liverpool’s U-23s and 24 with their U-18s. The Italian-American started his career with BW Gottschee on the East Coast before making the move to Merseyside. Rating: 1

The clip below is two and a half years old, but it gives you an idea of Ritaccio’s game when he was playing for Liverpool’s U-18s in fall 2019.

Chicago Fire - MLS’s own Tom Bogert has the update on Gaga Slonina transfer talk. Rating: 5

FC Cincinnati - Young Stiven Jimenez has impressed in his time with the first team this preseason. Rating: 1

Columbus Crew - The Crew have signed academy midfielder Aidan Wolf as the first player on their reserve side in MLS Next Pro. Rating: 1

FC Dallas - Marco Farfan has made the move to FCD from LAFC. The 1998 left-back has made 62 appearances in MLS, and gotten a cup of coffee with the USMNT. We’ll see if he can reach new heights as he joins the most famous team in MLS for promoting and producing youth talent. Rating: 3

Also in Dallas, reports are saying Paxton Pomykal is ready to have a strong year in MLS. Pomykal, a 1999 center mid who can also play wide, was a breakout star at the 2019 U-20 World Cup, but injuries have hampered his club career with Dallas. Hopefully this is the year he returns to the impressive level he’s shown in the past. Rating: 5

Houston - Brooklyn Raines, a 2005 Liberian-American center mid from the Barca Residency Academy, has signed as a homegrown player with the Houston Dynamo. Raines is one of the top-rated ‘05s in the country - just 16 years old. Rating: 1

LA Galaxy - Jalen Neal, an ‘03 center back who’s been a regular of the new U-20 cycle, received some praise from boss Greg Vanney. Rating: 1

Louisville - Wilson Harris, a 1999 striker from the Sporting KC setup, has signed with Louisville in the USL Championship. Harris has scored 25 goals USL already, and made 9 MLS appearances for SKC. Rating: 1

Miami - CJ dos Santos has signed with Inter Miami, returning from Benfica B in Portugal. The 2000-born goalkeeper came through the Philadelphia academy, and has been called up to both the U-20 and full USMNT squads. Rating: 1

Also in Miami, ‘04 left back Noah Allen received praise from manager Jason Kreis. Rating: 1

Orange County - Joe Buckley seems poised to leave Barca Residency for Orange County SC, although it sounds like the young defender has multiple options available. Rating: 1

Orlando - Alex Freeman, an ‘04 fullback with Orlando City’s academy, is rumored to sign a homegrown deal. Rating: 1

Philadelphia - Several players with the Union’s reserve team got to try to earn Jim Curtin’s respect in a first-team friendly vs FC Cincy. Rating: 1

Also in Philadelphia - Jack McGlynn scored in an intrasquad friendly for the Union. The ‘03 Irish-American center mid looks to be a big part of this U-20 cycle, having already logged 19 MLS games with the Union. Rating: 3

Salt Lake City - Leo Torres has been loaned to Real Monarchs from San Antonio FC for the second time. The ‘04 winger has 2 goals in 15 career USL games to this point, and is an outside option for the current U-20 team. Rating: 1

Real Monarchs didn’t stop there, adding ‘05 winger Terron Williams from their academy. Rating: 1

The Monarchs also signed ‘02 center back Bobby Pierre, bringing him back from Strasbourg’s reserves in France. Pierre, a Haitian-American dual national, has appeared for Haiti’s U-17s, but played for the US U-20s more recently. Rating: 1

RSL’s USL team capped off their moves by adding ‘02 winger Jack Imperato. Imperato left De Anza Force for Villarreal’s youth team in 2018, and bounced around Spain before landing with Orange County in SC a year ago. Rating: 1

San Jose - Cade Cowell has reportedly signed a long-term deal with the Quakes via a new MLS initiative. Time will tell if he sticks around, or if the contract is just another step toward San Jose maximizing their transfer fee later. Rating: 4

Cowell had 2 goals and an assist for the Quakes in a 4-2 friendly win over new USL Championship side Monterey Bay FC.

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!