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USMNT Weekly Youth Roundup: Gearing up for the season

The European season is about to begin, and several of the youth are gearing up.

VfL Wolfsburg - FSV Mainz 05 Photo by Swen Pförtner/picture alliance via 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


Brugge — Owen Otasowie (CB/DM, 2001) appears to be back in Brugge’s plans. In March, it looked like he might not have a pro career, as he was nowhere to be found with his club team, and instead, opened an elite VIP concierge business.

Something’s changed since then. Otasowie started multiple friendlies with Brugge this summer. When they faced Gent in the Super Cup to kick off the new season, one of their regular starters was suspended. Otasowie stepped into the starting lineup and helped Brugge lift the trophy. His clips are below. The regular starter is back from suspension, and Otasowie was an unused sub in their first league match on Sunday.


Hull — Vaughn Covil (FW, 2003) has moved to Hull City in the Championship, and has been playing with their first team this summer.

London — Folarin Balogun (FW, 2001) has been linked with a loan to Reims in Ligue 1 from Arsenal.

Norwich — Jonathan Tomkinson (CB, 2002) has been starting for Norwich City in preseason. The club was relegated to the Championship last season. Tomkinson’s prospects appeared to brighten as the Canaries sold defender Christoph Zimmerman, but he may still be loaned out for playing time.

Nottingham — Alex Mighten (W, 2002) has had regular playing time with newly-promoted Nottingham Forest this preseason. He’s drawn high praise from manager Steve Cooper (quote below), and started 2 friendlies in the past week. No doubt his opportunities will be lessened by Jesse Lingard’s big-money arrival, but the club appears to have him in their plans.

“He’s really impressed; 100 per cent he can play a part. We’ve been sharing the minutes around, and although he hasn’t started, read nothing into that - we are loading up match minutes with training minutes and getting everyone to a physical level. He’s been a real threat when he’s been on the pitch. I’m pleased with him. I’m a huge fan of Alex, and long-term, will not let him down. I didn’t give him enough minutes last year, for obvious reasons, and sometimes including he had bad luck with injuries. But we have drawn a line under that. He’s come back looking good. And he’s one of us, isn’t he?”

Reading — Conrad Sweatman of Arizona’s Barça Residency Academy is on trial with Reading’s academy.


Bremen — Diego Otoya (FW, 2004) of San Jose Earthquakes 2 is training with Werder Bremen’s U-19s and U-23s.

Karlsruher — Ethan Pendleton (Def, 2006) of DC United is training with Karlsruher SC.

Mönchengladbach — Joe Scally (RB, 2002) saw the field in Gladbach’s friendly with Sociedad. Sanjay Sujanthakumar noted how Scally has been coming central to help in Gladbach’s build-up. Full clips below.

Wolfsburg — Kevin Paredes (LB/W, 2003) played RW for Wolfsburg in a friendly vs Brentford. Mostly a quiet performance, but his pressing did play a role in creating of the Wolves’ goals. Clips are below.

also Wolfsburg — Gershon Henry (Def, 2006) is training at Wolfsburg. Henry is from RSL’s academy setup, and has been in US U-17 camp.


Turin — Marcel Ruszel (CM, 2004) has signed with Serie A side Torino. Ruszel came through the Chicago Fire and FC Cincinnati academy setups.

Venice — Patrick Leal (AM, 2003) started a Venezia first-team friendly. The club’s relegation to Serie B may result in more minutes for Leal and Jack de Vries (W, 2002).

Gianluca Busio (CM/DM, 2002) looks close to signing an extension with the club that will keep him in Serie B for this club season.


Eindhoven — There’s been much chatter about whether Richy Ledezma (AM, 2000) will stay with PSV or go on loan this season. One potential loan destination is Vitesse, where he “could get plenty of [playing] time”. In the meantime, Richy is playing well with PSV’s first team in preseason, and picked up an assist on a neatly-weighted through-ball.

Feyenoord — Cole Bassett scored in a friendly, and could be loaned to Fortuna Sittard if they, Feyenoord, and the Rapids can work out a new loan arrangement.


Porto — Christopher Olney (mid, 2006) is training at FC Porto from the Union academy. training


James Sands (CB/DM, 2000) has had a good preseason with Rangers, and has “arguably put himself into contention to start” despite new signings at his position.


Barcelona — Diego Kochen (GK, 2006) made the bench for Barça B, and is rumored to stay with the second team this season. Exciting development for the 16-year-old.

also Barcelona — Luca Koleosho (W, 2004) has been with Espanyol’s first team in preseason. He made his La Liga debut with Espanyol at the end of last season. Clips below from a recent club match.

San Sebastián — Jonathan Gómez (LB, 2003) played with Real Sociedad’s first team in a friendly vs Joe Scally and Gladbach. JoGo was consistently on the front foot, and was rewarded when his deflected shot was bicycled in by a teammate.


Marko Mitrovic has named his latest U-19 roster (more details below).

It’s fantastic that the U.S. is fielding a U-19 team regularly. With the U-20 team mostly focused on 2003s and a few ‘04s, the U-19 team gives opportunities to ‘04s and a few ‘05s. These are kids who wouldn’t be part of the national team setup otherwise. Hopefully we see a similar step with the U-18 age group next.

Charlotte — Brian Romero (mid, 2006) was subbed on late as Charlotte FC played Chelsea in a friendly. Romero proceeded to draw a penalty, which was scored, tying the game, and Charlotte won in penalties. An unforgettable debut for the youngster, who was in U.S. U-17 camp in April.

Columbus — Here are clips of Aidan Morris (DM, 2001) in MLS action. I’ve typically thought of Morris as a defensive enforcer-style 6, but I appreciated his crisp passing in this one.

Houston — Here are some clips and analysis of Andre Gitau (W, 2006). Gitau is in the Dynamo academy setup, and has been in U.S. U-17 camps.

Kansas City - Kayden Pierre (RB, 2003) was part of the U.S. U-20 cycle last fall at Revelations Cup, but was left out of the Concacaf U-20 Championship. Marcus Chai shares a few encouraging clips from Pierre’s performance vs LAFC.

Las Vegas — Tony Leone (CB, 2004) is a Mexican-American CB who signed with LAFC as a Homegrown. Leone has been in U.S. U-17 camp, but more recently has been a fixture with Mexico’s U-20s. He scored twice at the U-20 Championships, and was named to the team of the tournament. Last weekend, he scored his first pro goal, and was named to the USL team of the week. He’s already logged 32 games with Las Vegas Lights in USL (on loan from LAFC). Widely regarded as the top CB in the U.S. U-20 pool.

Los Angeles — Bryan Moyado (DM, 2006) won the U-17 MLS Next season MVP. The LAFC academy player has been in U.S. U-19 camp.

Louisville — Josh Wynder (CB, 2005) won the USL midseason Young Player of the Year.

New York — Serge Ngoma (W, 2005) scored a goal for the Red Bulls, and was playing well before being forced off with injury. Clips below.

In the same game, Cameron Harper (AM/W, 2001) destroyed his man 1v1 and scored.

Harper also picked up an assist with a deft touch over the top.

Philadelphia — Jack McGlynn (CM, 2003) is looking for a larger role with the Union after his performances with the U.S. U-20s. He’s off to a good start with this MLS performance.

also Philly — Marcos Zambrano (FW, 2005) is in first-team training with the Union.

Sacramento — Santiago Suarez (CB, 2005) made his USL debut last weekend with Sacramento Republic. The 6’5” defender was also called into U.S. U-19 camp this week. Clips below from his USL debut.

Salt Lake City — Gavin Beavers (GK, 2005) is a highly-rated keeper who was called into U.S. U-19 camp this week. Here he is saving a penalty and scoring a penalty with Real Monarchs.

San Jose — Cruz Medina (AM, 2006) made his debut for the Earthquakes in a friendly with Celta Vigo.

Fellow youngsters Casey Walls (CB, 2003) and Emi Ochoa (GK, 2005) also debuted. Niko Tsakiris (AM, 2005) showed off his shiftiness and ball skill in the game. Clips below.

also San Jose — Medina notched his first pro goal in MLS Next Pro action. He’s perhaps the top talent in the 2006 class right now (the current U-17 cycle).

Washington, D.C. — Ted Ku-DiPietro (W, 2002) scored against Bayern Munich in a friendly, off his own rebounded shot.

also Washington — Kristian Fletcher (FW/mid, 2005) made his first pro start with Loudoun United in USL. Fletcher was linked with Borussia Dortmund earlier this year. Marcus Chairez has the clips.

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!