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USMNT Weekly Youth Roundup: Obed Vargas wins CCL at 16

Plus U-15s and U-17s in European action, and all the club updates you could dream of.

CONCACAF Champions League - Final - Leg 2: Pumas UNAM v Seattle Sounders FC Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Welcome back to the USMNT Weekly Youth Update! Let’s take a look back at some developments in the young U.S. 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

Austria

Uly Llanez (W, 2001) scored and assisted in St. Pölten’s 4-1 win over Kapfenberg in Austria’s second tier.

Belgium

Caden Clark (AM, 2003) is unhappy with his lack of playing time with Red Bulls (on loan from Leipzig), and is looking to terminate that loan. Brugge is one of the European clubs who have the youngster on their radar.

Jorge Hernandez (AM, 2000) has left Ukrainian side Chornomorets, signing with Mechelen in Belgium’s top tier on a free transfer. The young Mexican-American was one of the top goal contributors in USL during his time with the Galaxy’s reserve side Los Dos.

Canada

Osaze De Rosario (ST, 2001) has scored in three straight games in Canada’s Premier League.

Croatia

Markie Hrvojević (age 17) made his first-team debut for Hajduk Split in Croatia’s top tier (the same club that features 2004 CM Rokas Pukstas).

Denmark

Jose Gallegos (AM, 2001) picked up a hockey assist vs Vejle BK, and won the fan vote for Man of the Match vs Odense.

England

Gaga Slonina (GK, 2004) appears close to finding a landing spot in Europe. Multiple sources reported he had agreed personal terms with a top English club, and Fabrizio Romano claims he is “close to making his decision”, with Chelsea among the clubs named.

Alex Mighten (W, 2002) scored a fantastic individual goal as Nottingham Forest pasted Swansea 5-1 (goal comes at 11:50 in the video below). Mighten “almost made it” into USMNT camp a few months ago, before suffering an injury.

France

Axel Perez (AM, 2007) has left the Inter Miami academy to join Lyon in France. Perez is highly-rated, and the move was confirmed on a recent YNT roster release.

Germany

Munich - Malik Tillman (AM, 2002) scored a goal as Bayern II smacked Rosenheim 8-1 in the German fourth tier. The Germany U-21 player is rumored to join a USMNT camp this summer, after a report Gregg Berhalter was looking to bring in a young dual-national.

Nuremberg - Bryang Kayo (CM, 2002) scored a goal for Nürnberg II in Germany’s fourth tier, where he is on loan from Wolfsburg.

Italy

Venice - Patrick Leal (AM, 2003) traveled with Venezia’s first team for their match with Salernitana. He could be close to making his first-team debut.

Verona - Inigo Esmanech (GK, 2006) has joined Hellas Verona’s academy, leaving the Houston Dynamo setup.

Mexico

Alex Méndez (CM, 2000) was the subject of a report from TUDN, “the jewel that Mexico can take from the USMNT”.

A report saying Mexico would be “hosting a U.S. camp” with 2007s and 2008s, mostly from MLS clubs, has been confirmed by LAFC congratulating two U-16s for the callup, and Houston Dynamo naming four U-16s.

Cade Cowell (W, 2003) and younger brother Chance are in the process of obtaining Mexican citizenship.

Jorge Ruvalcaba (W, 2001) came off the bench for Pumas in their 0-3 loss to Seattle in the Concacaf Champions League final.

Netherlands

Alkmaar - Josh Pynadath (W, 2002) is on trial with Jong AZ, after leaving Chelsea. Unclear if he would be joining AZ’s first team or their reserves.

Rotterdam - Cole Bassett (CM, 2001) was close to some good moments for Feyenoord, with off-ball movement that wasn’t rewarded (below) and a through-ball that wasn’t finished off.

Peru

Quembol Guadalupe (CB, 2004) was called up to U.S. U-20 camp, prompting Peruvian media to focus on the former Peru U-15: “It seems that Peru has lost interest in me”. The 18-year-old is in Orlando City’s academy setup.

Portugal

Bento Estrela (2006) is in the unique position of being a U.S.-eligible MLS Homegrown player who could suit up against the U.S., as he’s on Portugal’s U-17 roster in the same tournament as the U.S. U-17s.

Vizela - Alex Méndez scored a screamer vs Porto, and was named to the Team of the Week in Portugal.

Sanjiv was kind enough to grab some more Méndez clips from the game.

Spain

Pedro Soma (DM, 2006) made his debut for Catalonia U-16 (a non-FIFA team). He maintains his U.S. eligibility, following in the footsteps of Adrian Gill and Konrad de la Fuente.

Bruno Klimek (GK, 2007) featured in similar action with the Baleares U-16s.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago called several young American dual-nationals to their U-20 camp.

Uruguay

Gonzalo Agustoni (AM, 2004) is the subject of some Uruguay-U.S.A. dual national tension, after the Orlando City B player was called into U.S. U-19 camp.

USA

The U.S. U-15s faced Italy in the semifinals, after topping their group in the Torneo delle Nazioni. At halftime, the U.S. trailed 0-2.

Gavin Turner (DC United) brought the U.S. within one with 10 minutes left to play, after a bad giveaway from the Italian keeper. The U.S. proceeded to give away a penalty kick, but it was saved by Zackory Campagnolo. The game would finish 2-1 to Italy.

A few more resources on the U-15 game vs Italy:

The U-15s went on to face Portugal in the third-place game. The only info the writer has found so far is that Nate Worth (Red Bulls) scored this banger of a free kick.

The U-17s were also in action, with a roster being released last Friday.

Roster analysis came from Marcus Chairez and Travis Clark ($). The U-17s lost 0-1 to Portugal on Thursday, with the goal coming at 90+7’ in stoppage time. Marcus Chairez speculated about the starting XI based on a pregame photo, and USSF announced the next two matches in Portugal will be streamed on ussoccer.com.

@ProspectsUSMNT also has a thread questioning the roster construction of some of these youth national teams, especially why players are called in who are backups for their club teams. He also posted notes on individual standouts at the U-15 GA cup, and YNT-eligible players in USL.

Austin - We have some individual video of academy player Micah Burton (AM, 2006), who is in the current U-17 camp.

Boston - Damian Rivera (W, 2002) scored for New England with a nice strike early in the game.

Charlotte - Tough news for Adam Armour (LB, 2002) who underwent ACL surgery and will miss the rest of the season.

Chicago - MLS pundit Matt Doyle highlighted Gaga Slonina’s (GK, 2004) habit of flapping at crosses, while Joseph Lowery did a deep dive on Slonina’s strengths and areas to improve.

Dallas - Julian Eyestone (GK, 2006) is in first-team training with FC Dallas.

Denver - Darren Yapi (ST, 2004) registered a fine finish with Rapids 2 in MLS Next Pro, after Marcus Chairez wondered about his lack of involvement with the U-20s.

El Paso - Diego Luna (AM, 2003) scored a goal for El Paso in USL, and was the feature of an analysis piece from John Morrissey @USLTactics.

Kansas City - Cameron Duke (CM/RB) got an assist for Sporting KC against Dallas.

Los Angeles - Jonny Pérez (W, 2003) played a nice through ball to pick up one of his two assists for Los Dos in USL.

Pérez rocketed home a strong finish later in the same game.

Miami - Indiana Vassilev (W, 2001) has re-joined Inter Miami, once again on loan from Aston Villa.

NYC - Chris Gloster (LB, 2000) scored a nice breakaway goal to open his NYCFC account.

Philadelphia - Brandan Craig (CB, 2004) scored a gorgeous free kick for the Union 2 in MLS Next Pro.

Craig followed that up by clearing it off the line not once, but twice.

Portland - @ProspectsUSMNT has a thread on the Portland Timbers’ GA-cup-winning U-15 team, who came into the tournament as underdogs.

San Jose Cruz Medina (AM, 2006) might be the #1 prospect for the U.S. U-17 team. Enjoy.

Seattle - Obed Vargas (CM, 2005) subbed in as a result of João Paulo’s injury, and went 61’ for the Sounders as they beat Pumas 3-0, becoming the first MLS team to win Concacaf Champions League in 20 years.

@ProspectsUSMNT has a thread about the Sounders’ U-17 GA Cup-winning team.

Tacoma - Alfonso Ocampo-Chávez (ST, 2002) scored for the Tacoma Defiance in MLS Next Pro, and would go on to win Player of the Month.

Washington - Griffin Yow (W, 2002) reportedly has interest from clubs in Belgium and Denmark.

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!