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.
like I said on the Monday Review, Otasowie has to work on the defending part of being a CB, but man he's still only 21 ('24 Olympics-eligible) and the physical and technical tools are pretty much all there https://t.co/F8TvP23gSf— scuffed (@scuffedpod) July 21, 2022
Hull — Vaughn Covil (FW, 2003) has moved to Hull City in the Championship, and has been playing with their first team this summer.
How about that from @vaughncovil_?! #hcafc pic.twitter.com/bipbAsdQ5s— Hull City (@HullCity) July 12, 2022
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.
Where my real scally lads at? Joe Scally vs Real Sociedad (preseason)— vince (@v_sospiffy) July 25, 2022
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.
Kevin Paredes vs. Brentford— americanwigends (@americanwigends) July 23, 2022
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.
Cole Bassett’s goal pic.twitter.com/bg4Gg1v76W— Daniel (@DanielSmith1022) July 27, 2022
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.
a few James Sands clips vs West Ham (friendly, 7/19/22)— Justin Moran (@kickswish) July 20, 2022
clips thanks to @DanielSmith1022 pic.twitter.com/wpNbYoSUr8
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.
Looks like Luca has been moved from the U19 roster to the Espanyol B roster. He is currently the second youngest player on that roster, a good sign for where Espanyol rates him.— Marcus Chai (@chai_asc) July 27, 2022
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.
Jonathan Gomez vs Borussia M'Gladbach (pre-season) pic.twitter.com/en2y71NJly— Jack Stephen (@USMNTZ) July 23, 2022
Marko Mitrovic has named his latest U-19 roster (more details below).
Summer soccer in SoCal ⚽️☀️— U.S. Soccer YNT (@USYNT) July 22, 2022
The #U19MYNT is headed to Carson as head coach @4Mitrovic calls 23 players to training camp ⤵️https://t.co/K9BtN3IPN8
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.
This is what it's all about— Charlotte FC (@CharlotteFC) July 22, 2022
Brian Romero's debut #ForTheCrown pic.twitter.com/GafD0RpqBq
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.
Aidan Morris v New England Revs pic.twitter.com/WXuje3W1GI— Jack Stephen (@USMNTZ) July 24, 2022
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.
Andre Gitau (06| |LW) is hailed as Houston Dynamo's top prospect and one of the best US talents in his age bracket. Solid technicals, although most effective at dribbling over long distance in open field play. A bit stiff / mechanical while sprinting but reads game well. pic.twitter.com/izwHDsbTwb— Vylela (@Vylela1) July 22, 2022
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.
3 clips from Kayden Pierre last night v LAFC that illustrate growth I am excited about:— Marcus Chai (@chai_asc) July 24, 2022
1. confidence + skill to dribble out of pressure
2. clever slip pass in final third
3. nice driven, early cross
All vs best team in MLS. I think he is the best U20 option at RB right now. pic.twitter.com/kzjJgoqIfn
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.
CABEZAZO Y GOL! Tony Leone extends our lead on the road!#OAKvLV | #VivaLights ⚽️ | @AFCU pic.twitter.com/B7E5jA4T6C— Las Vegas Lights FC (@lvlightsfc) July 24, 2022
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.
Serge Ngoma (17) was having a really bright game before he got injured . Hopefully he recovers well. pic.twitter.com/A69WPYfndA— Jack Stephen (@USMNTZ) July 25, 2022
In the same game, Cameron Harper (AM/W, 2001) destroyed his man 1v1 and scored.
Put his defender on skates! @cameron__harper restores the two-goal lead!@Audi I #RBNY pic.twitter.com/A0fPPM4AoI— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) July 25, 2022
Harper also picked up an assist with a deft touch over the top.
Can Harper replaced the excellent Ngoma after his injury and has been just as good, or better. He scored a classy goal before this - but check out this assist to Barlow. #RBNY has a 4-2 lead after a Driussi goalazo. Fun game pic.twitter.com/0Lvcw2QX0O— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 25, 2022
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.
.@JackMcGlynn7 had a stellar night & some stellar touches last match!#DOOP pic.twitter.com/2ZPHfIhORn— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) July 20, 2022
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.
Physically— Marcus Chai (@chai_asc) July 26, 2022
First thing you notice is that he looks all of 6-5 and good in the air as expected. When a young kid is that tall, you assume he won’t be super coordinated or fluid, but he moves really well. Didn't see him tested too much in space / 1v1 situations. pic.twitter.com/BeSckTiG48
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.
Save ✅— Real Monarchs (@RealMonarchs) July 21, 2022
Big G can do it all pic.twitter.com/8cOG49F1Lh
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.
Niko Tsakiris vs Celta Vigo pic.twitter.com/JSJKqUXvCd— Jack Stephen (@USMNTZ) July 21, 2022
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).
.@EarthquakesII Cruz Medina beats the keeper for the breakthrough! 0-1 pic.twitter.com/P23IUcB1W4— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) July 22, 2022
Washington, D.C. — Ted Ku-DiPietro (W, 2002) scored against Bayern Munich in a friendly, off his own rebounded shot.
The Homegrown gets his goal against @FCBayern @TKuDiPietro || #VamosUnited pic.twitter.com/ZsosTRkCKn— D.C. United (@dcunited) July 21, 2022
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.
Kris Fletcher ('05) had his first professional start for Loudoun this weekend, playing LW and going 60+.— Marcus Chai (@chai_asc) July 25, 2022
A few clips from the start:
1. Looked like this one had a good chance of going in if not deflected, ended up resulting in a G
2. Another nice chance, just right at GK pic.twitter.com/Lha2Chhypt
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!