It’s full steam ahead for the U.S. Youth National Teams; with big tournaments on the horizon in 2023, the U-20, U-19, and U-17 teams are now in preparation mode. All three teams have friendly tournaments this week against strong opponents. Here’s what you need to know about them!

U-20: Revelations Cup

The U-20 Men’s National Team turned many heads around the region with the way in which they totally dominated the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship this past summer. The U.S. made a massive statement in waltzing through the knockout rounds without conceding a goal, including big wins over Costa Rica, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. In doing so they qualified for the 2023 U-20 World Cup, and now Mikey Varas’ team is focused on that competition in Indonesia next spring.

Who will the U.S. play?

The U.S. will face three opponents in the Revelations Cup, which is organized by the Mexican Football Federation (FMF). They will take on the host, old rivals Mexico, who failed to qualify for the U-20 World Cup, as well as CONMEBOL nations Peru and Paraguay, who are preparing for their own World Cup qualifiers in the coming months.

USA vs. Peru – September 21st at 5 PM ET

USA vs. Mexico – September 24th at 7 PM ET

USA vs. Paraguay – September 27th at 10 PM ET

Who should I keep an eye on?

Essentially the full team that won the CONCACAF U-20 Championship is returning for this camp, but a few top names have been reinserted into the team. 

Jonathan Gómez (‘03) – The most important addition to this group from a long-term perspective is Mexican-American dual national Jonathan Gómez. JoGo has appeared for both senior national teams in the past and is one of the top dual national prospects at the moment. This will be his first appearance for the U.S. in this U-20 cycle, and he will be able to make a huge impact at the left-back position for this team.

Kevin Paredes (‘03) – A dynamic and versatile player, Kevin Paredes missed the games over the summer as he remained with Wolfsburg for preseason. While he is yet to make a big impact at the club level, Paredes could be a true star for this team in the attacking wide positions. The Virginia native is arguably the most talented player in this group.

Brian Gutiérrez (‘03) – Gutiérrez was not released for the national team by his club, the Chicago Fire, this summer. However, he has earned the starting job in MLS and can push Quinn Sullivan to start for the U-20s as well. Guti has immense talent, and while Sullivan was a top 3 performer in Honduras this summer, his spot in the XI is not guaranteed.

Justin Che (‘03) – It remains to be seen whether Justin Che will fit in as a center-back or a right-back, but either way he is one of the best American defensive prospects. A possible captain for the U-20s, Che will bring defensive stability and passing that was lacking in the summer, and his addition is arguably the most important from a results perspective.

Jack McGlynn (‘03) – Unlike the other four players featured, McGlynn was at the CONCACAF Championship in Honduras last summer. However, since then, he has been an incredible success story for the Union and has dramatically outperformed Paxten Aaronson and Quinn Sullivan this year. McGlynn has earned 7 starts in a stacked Union team this season and has been an impact player. The central midfielder with a phenomenal left foot was voted ahead of Aaronson and Sullivan on MLS’ 22 Under 22 list this week.

How can I watch it?

The Revelations Cup will be streamed on VIX, and should be available for free.

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U-19: Slovenia Nations Cup

The U-19 group is comprised of 2005 and lower-end 2004 players. While there is no World Cup in this age group, it is an important resource to keep players in the program and build depth for the U-20 team. Marko Mitrović’s group has had some impressive wins over European opposition so far in this cycle, including wins over England and Norway.

Who will the U.S. play?

The U.S. will take on Malta, Croatia, and Scotland in this competition. While these are certainly not the toughest opponents, they will still provide a good opportunity for the coaches to see these players up close and keep them involved with the program. The matches will all be played in Slovenia.

USA vs. Malta – September 21st at 1 PM ET

USA vs. Croatia – September 23rd at 1 PM ET

USA vs. Scotland – September 26th at 11 AM ET

Who should I keep an eye on?

Rodrigo Neri (‘05) – The one position in which the U.S. pool is almost completely barren in every youth national team age group is the #9, and Atlético Madrid’s Neri provides one possible solution. He was the star of the camp in June, scoring against both England and Norway. Neri has trained with Atléti’s first team and is a natural finisher.

Sergio Oregel Jr. (‘05) – Though yet to debut in MLS, Oregel has quietly emerged as a strong prospect amidst a crowded midfield class for the 05s. A dynamic, creative midfielder who can play anywhere in the midfield 3, the Mexican-American dual national scored against Norway in June and has been one of the top performers for Chicago Fire II in MLS Next Pro. Oregel is often slept on, but he is absolutely one to watch.

Owen Wolff (‘04) – Austin FC’s Owen Wolff broke out with Austin FC this season and could prove to be a player who has a shot at making the U-20 World Cup team next season. Born a mere two days before the age cutoff which would make him eligible for the next U-20 cycle, Wolff had 23 appearances this season and is one of many midfielders who will provide a selection headache for any youth national team coach.

Josh Wynder (‘05) – Wynder is one of the top center-back prospects in the whole pipeline, and if he continues his current trajectory, he should make the U-20 World Cup squad playing up a cycle. Despite only turning 17 during the spring, Wynder has made 18 appearances this season for Louisville City, scoring once and locking down the starting job for one of the leading teams in USL. He has been linked with a move to Europe or MLS, with Sporting CP and the Philadelphia Union among the possible suitors.

Reed Baker-Whiting (‘05) – Baker-Whiting’s star has someone faded in the last few months as he has struggled to break into the Sounders’ midfield rotation, but he is still a tremendously talented prospect. Interestingly, he was listed as a defender on this roster, insinuating that he could play as a fullback during this camp. 

How can I watch it?

The matches will all be streamed on Facebook.

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U-17: Vaclav Jezek Tournament

The U-17s will have by far the biggest test out of all of the youth teams. The group is comprised almost entirely of 2006s, with one 2007, and are preparing for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship which will be held in Guatemala this winter. The Jezek Tournament is a U-18 tournament, though, so every other team in the competition is comprised of players born in 2005; the U-17s are effectively playing an age group up. While this will be a tremendous test and will be a great challenge for them, there is no reason to believe they can’t rise to it when one considers the way in which they totally dismantled Belgium and Portugal earlier this year.

Who will the U.S. play?

The U-17s will face Slovakia, Germany, and Czechia in this event, which will be held in Czechia. As mentioned previously, all three of those teams are sending their U-18 squads, so the Germany test, in particular, will be an interesting spectacle. 

USA vs Slovakia – September 21st at 5 AM ET

USA vs Germany – September 23rd at 10 AM ET

USA vs Czechia – September 25th at 10 AM ET

Who should I keep an eye on?

Pedro Soma (‘06) – One of many top midfield prospects in the crowded 2006 class, “Pedrinho” Soma is primarily a defensive midfielder. He has earned first-team looks in friendlies with UE Cornella, who play in the Spanish third tier, and has received some interest from clubs higher up the pyramid. If Soma continues the growth which he has shown over the last few months, he could be a legitimate star in the making.

Cruz Medina (‘06) – Is Cruz Medina the real deal? Everyone seems to think so, and he will have another opportunity to prove it when the hotly-tipped Quakes starlet returns to U.S. colors this week. An authoritative box-to-box midfielder, Medina is already knocking on the door of first-team minutes with San Jose and will need to be at his best for this tournament competing a year up against respected European opponents.

Keyrol Figueroa Norales (‘06) – Perhaps the most interesting storyline in this camp is that of Keyrol Figueroa, the son of the legendary Honduran Maynor Figueroa. A tri-national eligible for the U.S., England, and Honduras, Figueroa is currently at Liverpool’s academy. An exciting, rapid number nine with air for the spectacular, it will be interesting to see how Figueroa fits in in his first US camp.

Adrian Gill (‘06) – La Masia’s young American is one of the better-known U.S. prospects, but he has been absent from several recent U-17 camps. Over the last few months, Adrian has found a new position; once seen as an attacking midfielder, the Colorado native has now emerged as a fullback and is listed as a defender on the U.S. roster. Along with his Barcelona team-mate, goalkeeper Diego Kochen, he will be hoping to make a splash and solidify a place in the national team.

Stu Hawkins (‘06) – A position of concern for the 06s in the past has been central defense, but a player who has emerged in recent months to fill that role is the Sounders’ Hawkins. Hawkins has made four appearances this season for Tacoma Defiance in MLS Next Pro, and he was very impressive in those minutes despite only being 15. Going up against opponents a year older, this tournament will be a great litmus test for Hawkins and his presumed center-back partner, Tyler Hall.

How can I watch it?

The Czech Federation will stream all matches at the Jezek Tournament on their website. However, while creating an account is free, U.S. matches will be behind a paywall. A “team pass” can be purchased for €6.99, which allows fans to watch the games live and on demand.