Erik is the captain of the U-20 team and the only returning U-20 player. A native of Missouri, he developed in the Sporting Kansas City academy from the early age of 13 and by the time he was 16 was training with the senior team. He was the youngest signing in Sporting Kansas City’s history and is the youngest player in MLS history to start a game as a defender at 17 years old.
Palmer-Brown rose through the USMNT ranks joining the U-15 team and has been on every team since including his second stint at this year’s U-20 camp. He drew attention overseas last year and was loaned to Porto, one of Portugal’s top teams and a Champions League pest. He played on their B team and started 10 of the last 13 games as they won their first ever title in LigaPro (Portugal’s Second Division). In December 2016 he scored his first goal against Leicester City’s U-23 team and then earned a spot on the bench of Porto’s senior team. At just 19 with so much experience under his belt, he has a lot of potential for a bright future with USMNT.
Palmer-Brown is a versatile central defender and has served as a defensive-midfielder for this team as well. He can play the 6 well, but due to injuries on the back line and his leadership qualities, along with a little more depth at central midfield I expect he’ll see most of his time as center back.
Nicolas Murray from USL caught up with Palmer-Brown before the Cup began and he had this to say –
Q: U.S. U20 teams in the past have had some heartbreak at this tournament, with the last three teams to reach the quarterfinals either falling in extra time or a penalty shootout. How confident are you that this team can go further?
Palmer-Brown: I’m really confident in this group of guys. I think we have the talent to go and win another trophy. Once you win a trophy you want to replicate that feeling, and I think we’re hungry for that feeling again. We’re going to do our best to go out there and take it game-by-game.
Goal Against Mexico – leads US to first win in 31 years