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Ranking the top 50 American under 20 talents



The Next Generation

Hear from David Kerr breaking down the list with Marcus O’Malley (@chasingacup) & Matty Knips (@underdogsp)

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Top 50 u20 List of top 10


We have taken a look at the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 youth national team age groups.  This group will lead the u20 World Cup and u17 World Cup squads. We looked at the players with high potential, the best-23 for each age group, as well as a top 25 ranking for each age group.  All of these age groups comprise the core of the u20 World Cup (2001, 2002, 2003) and u17 World Cup (2004, 2005) cycles.  These five age groups will also comprise the 2024 Olympic cycle where the United States could be a dark horse tournament favorite.  

FIFA U20 World Cup rules require eligible players to be born on or after January 1, 2001 to be considered for the U20 tournament.

In this article we are going to rank the top 50 prospects among these five age groups.  We will also take a look at the 5 string depth chart for these players.  These players are not ranked on their current skill level but their overall potential so these rankings may be different than the previous rankings we saw in the age group breakdowns.  There will also be a separate ranking for the goalkeepers because goalkeepers progress on a different timeline than field players and can not be accurately compared in a ranking like this.  

What is significant about this group of players is how much quality there is.  The majority of players in this list have the talent to play in Europe someday.  There are players lower in this list who have debuted in a European league or have been sold by their MLS club to Europe already!  As Bob Morocco mentioned in his article here, there are lots of factors that affects whether a prospect reaches their ceiling or not but I personally am very optimistic about their group.  The level of American players is rising and it is apparent with this list.  

Personally, I am expecting more than 20 players in this list to end up playing in a top Europe at some point in their career.  

The top 50 field players

Honorable mentions: Nico Carerra, Thomas Williams, Aethan Yohannes, George Bello, John Tolkin, Jonathan Tomkinson, and Darren Yapi 

Dual-nationals that I did not consider for the ranking: Folarin Balogun, Efrain Alvarez, Bryan Okoh, and Patrick Leal

50. Bobby Pierre: Center Back (Real Salt Lake)

Bobby Pierre is ranked last in this list because center backs often peak at older age groups similar to goalkeepers.  Bobby was the left center back that the 2019 u17 World Cup team needed but Bobby instead represented Haiti at the World Cup instead.  Bobby has since been the only 2002 center back to be called up to the u20’s this cycle and may file a one time switch to move to the USA setup.  Over the years Bobby is a player who could fly up this list.  

49. Marcelo Palomino: Attacking Mid (Houston Dynamo)

If this list was written two years ago, Marcelo would nearly be at the top of the list.  However, Marcelo tried to find a European club over seas and was not as successful as he may have hoped so he is now back with the Houston Dynamo.  But are Marcelo’s European chances over?  Not at all because Marcelo is now under Tab Ramos’ tutelage and will develop well in Houston.  Marcelo’s chances of breaking back into the u20 World Cup national team are not great but it is not out of the picture just yet.  If Marcelo can regain his old form then he will find minutes in Houston and likely a club in Europe who will give him another shot.  

48. Chris Garcia: Winger (Real Salt Lake)

Chris has limitless potential but is also fairly inconsistent.  Since arriving at Real Salt Lake, Chris has found success at the DA level but needs to become more productive against players his age to move further up the list.  When Chris is on his game he is hard to stop but he can switch off in games and go missing for a while.  Once he fixes this habit he will become an elite winger prospect.  

47. Cam Dunbar: Winger (LA Galaxy)

Cam Dunbar is one of the largest snubs from the 2019 u17 YNT cycle.  People were always skeptical about the depth out wide for the last u17 cycle and many wanted to see Dunbar be given a larger chance but it never happened.  I don’t think that Dunbar will ever be a youth national team player but his performances with the LA Galaxy DA teams and the Galaxy II have shown that he is a very promising player.  Cam is a player who is currently trending up and at the rate he is going, MLS minutes will be coming soon and hopefully a move abroad can follow assuming the LA Galaxy do not sabotage his development.  

46. Thomas Roberts: Attacking Mid (FC Dallas)

Thomas Roberts is a player who gets more shade than any other youth national team prospect that I know of.  Thomas is a classic number 10 who consistently creates something out of nothing at every level that he has played at.  Once Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira move on from FC Dallas, Thomas will be quickly moved in and will blossom under pressure.  Thomas may not have a European ceiling but if FC Dallas is looking for a solid prospect to become the long term face of their franchise, they have it in Thomas.  

45. Nelson Pierre: Striker (Philadelphia Union)

To be ranked in the top 50 as a 2005 speaks to the quality of Nelson Pierre.  The 2005 striker depth is the best of any age group and Nelson is one of the standouts in this position (another will be mentioned later).  In the next two years this list will start to see more 2005’s rise as they begin to emerge as high ceiling prospects and Nelson Pierre is a player who I am expecting to skyrocket up this list.  He has not shown anything yet to be ranked any higher but he is also one of the only 2005’s who is playing up with the Philadelphia Union u17’s which should show just how good he really is.  

44. Kevin Paredes: Winger/Attacking Mid (DC United)

To actually be given a chance with the DC United first team by Ben Olsen means that you are a special talent.  Kevin Paredes fits that description.  In the first two games of the season, Paredes was in the team sheet for DC United after having a very good season with Loundon United in the USL last year.  Kevin is also one of the standout wingers from the 2003 age group who is loaded with talent in every position.  Whether Kevin is a player with a European future is yet to be determined but he is the best winger prospect in the DC United system currently.  

43. Brandan Craig: Center Back (Philadelphia Union)

Here is where the players who have serious potential to play in Europe long term start to emerge.  The first one is Brandan Craig.  Brandan is a player who’s best position is debated constantly by the youth national team die hards.  In my opinion, I like Brandan best as a 6 but he is currently being groomed as a center back in the Philadelphia Union academy.  Brandan on the ball is special and has a tremendous soccer IQ.  The reason Brandan is ranked so low is because his defending still needs work and he has some very good center back prospects ahead of him at the Union to beat out.  Brandan is the best defensive prospect in the Union system and will break into the first team sooner rather than later in my opinion.  

42. Joseph Scally: Right Back (New York City FC)

Joe Scally is a unique prospect because unlike almost every other homegrown prospect in the MLS, Scally has already been sold for $2 million to Borussia Monchengladbach for a deal that could actually end up netting $7 million for NYCFC.  For a team to spend that much on Scally means that he must be very talented.  Scally was also sold after the u17 World Cup where he was one of the few players who actually had their stock rise after they u17’s crashed out of the tournament.  Scally’s long term position is to be determined as I think he has a higher ceiling as a right center back but because both NYCFC and Gladbach are determined on playing Joe as a right back he sits at number 40.  

41. Travian Sousa: Left Back (Hamburger SV)

If you were someone not from the Sacramento area or related to Travian Sousa who highly rated him before the year of 2019 then I solute you.  Travian’s stock has increased at a rate that few other prospects can achieve and it is still going up.  Moving from Sacramento over to Hamburger, Travian has flourished and has steadily moved up the ladder and is now being involved in first team training sessions.  If Hamburger are allowed to move up to the Bundesliga next season then Travian may get his Bundesliga debut next season.  Travian was brought into the first team with Hamburger for their winter break and did very well.  Travian looks to be locked in for Anthony Hudson’s u20 World Cup rosters and will likely back up Kobe Hernandez-Foster but Travian has a very bright future.  

40. Kenan Hot: Defensive Mid/Center Mid (New York Red Bulls)

Kenan Hot is one of my favorite defensive mid prospects out there.  He has the size, the skill, the athleticism, and the IQ.  What worries me about Kenny is the club that he is currently at.  Yes, the New York Red Bulls have done well with prospects in the past but they have taken a very quick turn in the opposite direction over the last year and a half.  Kenny should be getting USL minutes this year and if he does not then he should be weighing his options for a move to a German youth side.  The Red Bulls waited too long to move Kenny up to the u19’s when he was ready.  Kenny is a lock starter for the current u17 cycle in my opinion and his game translates really well to the senior level.  If I had faith in the Red Bulls for how they will handle this high end player, Kenny would be much higher in this list.  

39. Charlie Kelman: Striker (Southend United)

Does Charlie have what it takes to make it in Europe? Yes, but how high can he go in Europe is what I am skeptical about.  Charlie is showing that he is a Championship level player already but as a very undersize striker, Charlie will have to constantly produce in front of the net and if he does not then he will be quickly casted aside for the next prospect who can.  Charlie is the best 2001 forward prospect that actually wants to represent the United States (if you’re reading this Folarin Balogun…please give us a chance) but he will have to improve quickly if he wants to start over Ricardo Pepi for the u20’s.  

38. Reed Baker-Whiting: Defensive Mid (Seattle Sounders)

The other defensive midfield prospect who will constantly be compared to Kenan Hot for a very long time is Reed Baker-Whiting.  Reed is the player that should keep Danny Leyva awake at night knowing his spot in the Sounders first team is not safe.  Reed is the Michael Bradley type center mid but actually has enough athleticism to cover ground and be an asset defensively… sort of like a young Michael Bradley.  Reed may want to start considering options abroad because above him on the 6 depth chart is Danny Leyva (needs no explanation) and Joshua Atencio (already the Tacoma Defiance captain at 18) who both will be very hard to beat out as a prospect who is younger than both of them.  

37. Cole Bassett: Center Mid (Colorado Rapids)

Cole Bassett is the winner of Anthony Hudson being named the coach of the u20’s because Cole will now likely be included in all u20 camps and u20 Wolrd Cup in a center midfield position that is loaded with talent.  Cole is one of the many bright talents at the Colorado Rapids that USMNT fans forget about because he is at the Colorado Rapids.  With European teams circling, Cole could be a big winner this u20 cycle and earn a move over to Germany where he could blossom as a very legit USMNT prospect if he can find the right system.  

36. Federico Oliva: Winger (Athletico Madrid)

Now that fans are seeing Gio Reyna break out let’s try to make the exact same player and see if he can make it in Spain, that player is Fede Oliva.   Fede is one of the 2004’s that many believe will play a role in the 2023 u20 World Cup cycle who will be carried by the 2003’s.  Fede is currently tearing it up in the Athletico Madrid academy and is rising quickly.  Will Fede be talented enough to break through with the Athletico Madrid first team?  Probably not, but he is definitely good enough to play for a mid table team in La Liga which is an outstanding accomplishment considering how many American prospects have sunk in Spain.  

35. Evan Rotundo: Attacking Mid (Unattached) 

Evan Rotundo is the player that almost every American soccer fan immediately thinks about when they think of the current u17 national team cycle.  Evan’s ceiling depends on which club he decides to play for as he is heavily linked with both Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.  Evan has the vision, passing, and soccer IQ but Evan needs to develop his ability to beat players on the dribble.  To put it lightly, Evan is miles ahead of literally every other player in this list when it comes to his vision and creativity on the ball.  The largest concern with Evan is how he will physically develop as he is an undersized player but if the strength coaches in Germany do their job then Evan will quickly become a player who will go from USMNT prospect to USMNT player.  

34. Dante Sealy: Winger (FC Dallas)

Old school FC Dallas fans will immediately recognize the last name Sealy but American fans will quickly recognize the last name because of Dante and not his father Scott who also played for FC Dallas.  Dante is the best winger in the 2003 age group and was the standout for me at the 2019 Nike International Friendlies.  Dante’s ability to beat players on the dribble in rare and he also is phenomenal at hold up play and has great vision (like a player who’s father was a pro and now runs his own soccer training organization).  If the current u20 World Cup cycle was not so deep at winger than Dante would be the 2003 that would be playing up a cycle, he is a special player who will go overseas.  

33. Casey Walls: Center Back (San Jose Earthquakes)

Casey Walls is the best 2003 center back in the system (Bryan Okoh could change this statement if he accepts a USA call up) and will be the staple in the backline for this age group for the next three years.  Casey is an elite defender and is one of the best ball playing center backs in the entire youth national team pool.  The San Jose Earthquakes rate Casey very highly and should integrate him with the first team soon enough, Casey will be playing overseas at some point in his career.  

32. Indiana Vassilev: Winger/Striker (Aston Villa)

Indiana Vassilev is an interesting player because he has already made his Premier League debut which in the mind of eurosnobs should cement him in the top 10 prospects because they do not remember what happened with Johan Smith.  If Vassilev was an 8 I would rate him much higher but since he moved to Aston Villa he has been moved further up the field and has found himself playing as a winger or striker.  Indiana has an endless ceiling as an 8 but as a 7, 11, or 9 I think his ceiling will be in the English Championship.  

31. Leo Sepulveda: Center Back (Salmanaca CF UDS)

So far in the current u20 World Cup cycle, Leo Sepulveda has been one of the revelations that many were not expecting.  Leo Sepulveda is a left footed center back who comes from the LA Galaxy where he was one of the many highly talented prospects to play under Brian Kleiban.  Leo should start as the left center back for the u20’s this cycle and is overall a very good center back but his ceiling may not be much higher than a lower table La Liga side.  Leo is a player who will turn heads at televised u20 World Cup matches and is someone who I’m very excited to track over the next few years because I think he can turn into a very good player and potentially even break into the USMNT in the 2026 and 2030 World Cup cycles.  

30. Caden Clark: Attacking Mid (New York Red Bulls)

Caden Clark is the best thing to happen to the New York Red Bulls because the club will have another young player success story even though Caden Clark did not develop at the Red Bulls for his youth career.  Caden emerged as a top prospect when he lit up the DA playoffs last summer playing up with the Barca Academy u19’s.  Caden is an elite number 10 who can completely change the game with the slightest of chances.  Many believe that Caden will be the 2003 prospect that progresses the most in the next two years and locks down a starting role for the 2023 u20 World Cup cycle and if that happened I would not be shocked at all.  If Caden can emerge as a starter with that group then it will only be a matter of time before the Red Bulls ship him off to Europe.  

29. Matteo Ritaccio: Attacking Mid/Winger (Liverpool FC)

Matteo Rittacio is the most slept on prospect that will be covered in this list.  Most prospects that end up moving to England are often not covered as much as they should be and Matteo is one of these prospects.  Matteo is a physically imposing player who can play as a winger or a 10.  Matteo can pull strings, beat players 1v1, and pop in goals on his own.  Matteo will compete with Jose Gallegos for the starting 10 in the current u20 World Cup cycle assuming that Gio Reyna is withheld from the group.  

28. Mauricio Cuevas: Right Back (LA Galaxy)

Mauricio Cuevas was robbed of a spot on the u17 World Cup team last fall and I am still salty about it because he could have made a difference for that team.  Mauricio is one of the more technically gifted attacking fullbacks in the pool and is already a lock to start for his age group’s YNT.  Mauricio could jump both Joe Scally and Ian Hoffman in the u20 World Cup depth chart this cycle if he retains the form that he had at the Nike International Friendlies last fall and his early USL minutes this year.  Mauricio is an elite right back prospect who should be weighing his European interest heavily right now as he will soon be ready for the move abroad when he turns 18.  

27. Patrick Weah: Striker (Minnesota United)

Yes you were correct when you recognized that last name, Patrick Weah is the cousin of Timothy Weah and the nephew of George Weah.  Like his family, Patrick is an incredible soccer player with a very high ceiling.  Patrick literally bullies other players his age and looks like a man among boys at every level he has played at so far.  Patrick will most likely be the first field player to sign a homegrown deal with Minnesota United and could very quickly see first team minutes as he is already ready for the MLS physically.  If Patrick can work on his soccer IQ and be tested at a level that he can’t overpower other kids then he could become the best striker prospect in the pool and even potentially surpass his cousin.  Patrick’s talent is undeniable and if Minnesota does him well then Patrick will end up in Europe and will become a USMNT striker in the 2026 cycle.  

26. Elton Chifamba: Center Mid/Defensive Mid (Columbus Crew)

Take Tyler Adams and Darlington Nagbe and combine them, the result of this is Elton Chifamba.  Elton is a press resistant center mid who is feisty on defense and creative on offense.  Elton is another prospect that is slept on by many casual USMNT fans who do not take the time to watch DA games but every person who does watch the DA all agree that Elton is a special talent.  If Elton was at a club that gave me confidence for developing young talent then he may be a top 10 prospect but the Columbus Crew make me nervous.  Elton needs to consider moving abroad as he will not push Darlington Nagbe out of the Crew’s lineup no matter how hard he tries.  

25. Italo Jenkins: Striker (Atlanta United)

Do you remember when Dabo Swinney said that Tanner Tessmann is athletic enough to play wide receiver at Clemson?  Well, Italo Jenkins is a player who I would actually agree with if Dabo made that claim.  When USMNT fans want a striker prospect that is big, physical, athletic, great at hold up play, and great at putting the ball in the back of the net then they will be pleased when they look Italo’s way.  If you have watched the Atlanta United u15’s you have probably seen a striker who literally looks like a man out of the field, that is Italo.  Italo has the highest potential out of the 2005 strikers and is a player who should give USMNT fans hope for a position that is getting more and more depressing every day.  

24. Daniel Leyva: Defensive Mid (Seattle Sounders)

I should not have to go too far in depth on Danny Leyva as every person who has read this far knows who he is by now.  Danny broke into the Seattle Sounders first team as a 2003 and did not look out of place at all during his MLS minutes last year.  Danny’s ceiling is very high but it all depends on if Danny can become a little bit faster.  The recent u17 World Cup exposed Danny’s weakness which is that he is very, very slow.  Danny has bite, he can dictate the game with the ball at his feet, and he can spray the ball all over the pitch at will but unless you have an athletically imposing player partnered with Danny, your midfield will get bulldozed.  Danny has to improve his athleticism quickly or Reed Baker-Whiting will take his place but if Danny does improve that then he will be quickly on a plane to the Bundesliga where he will break through like Tyler Adams did.   

23. Allan Rodriguez: Defensive Mid (Chicago Fire)

Do you want a player like Danny Leyva who is quicker off of the ball?  Well, look no further because that is Allan Rodriguez.  Allan is a dominant defensive mid who can literally do it all.  Allan was the standout and captain at the Concafaf u15 Championship last Summer and may be the first Fire homegrown that will go from the academy to Europe.  Allan is a lock starter for the u17’s and if Rafa Wicky is smart then Allan will also be receiving MLS minutes later this year.  

22. Gage Akalu: Winger (Sporting Kansas City)

Gage Akalu is the American Neymar.  Gage is the most dynamic player on the ball that you will be able to find in any youth national team.  However, very silky smooth players often struggle as they move up age groups (ahem…Andrew Carleton) so until Gage breaks this trend I am hesitant to rank him any higher.  If I am Sporting Kansas City then I am offering Gage a contract tomorrow and immediately moving him into the Swope Park Rangers game day rosters to push Gage and develop him so he can push for SKC minutes next season.  Gage is a young player who has the talent to push to be involved for the 2026 World Cup cycle even in a position which is ridiculously loaded.  

21. Matko Milijevic: Winger/Attacking Mid (Argentinos Juniors)

To make it in South America you have to be skilled and strong mentally.  Matko is both and is an electrifying prospect.  Matko is currently playing in the Argentina first division and is a high profile dual-national battle as Argentina want him just as bad as we do.  Matko is creative out wide, aggressive, and finds new ways to attack a defender the entire game.  Matko should be heavily involved for the u20’s and if he is not then there is something wrong with the scouting the USA currently have because Matko is an elite prospect.  

20. Bryang Kayo: Center Mid (Wolfsburg)

Bryang Kayo is a name many will recognize because he took part in the recent January Camp.  Kayo was also among a group of prospects (including Kobe Hernandez-Foster and Johnny Cardoso) who have been rumored to be called up for the USMNT friendlies that were supposed to have taken place in March.  Kayo is heading over to Wolfsburg where he may actually jump the u19 level and be moved directly into their reserve team.  Kayo is a younger version of Weston McKennie with more technical prowess.  Kayo could break into the Wolfsburg first team in the next two years and has a chance to become a USMNT pool member for this cycle (a small chance…but still a chance nonetheless).  

19. Cameron Harper: Winger (Celtic FC)

Cameron Harper is the winger that is known by few but rated highly by those who are aware of his game.  Harper is quickly rising at Celtic and could break into their game day rosters in the fall.  Harper is a lightning fast winger who can beat defenders at will.  Harper has been the standout so far in the u20 World Cup camps and if Uly Llanez is withheld from the u20’s then Harper will be inserted into the starting lineup and will be the breakout player in this group.  

18. Brooklyn Raines: Center Mid (Barca Academy AZ)

The Barca Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona has produced some very talented players recently, Brooklyn Raines is the most talented player of the bunch.  Brooklyn is a more dangerous version of Tyler Adams.  Brooklyn is very sound positionally and can make good in field tackles to win back and retain possession.  Brooklyn is on the fast track to Europe where he should break into a team in Tyler Adams like fashion where he immediately becomes a valuable player for a team’s midfield.  Brooklyn will be in the youth national team pool for another 8 years and will be the first player in the team for his entire youth national team tenure.  

17. Tanner Tessmann: Center Mid (FC Dallas)

Tanner Tessmann has shot up the charts higher than any other prospect recently and it is because he decided to sign with the FC Dallas first team instead of wasting his time kicking at Clemson.  As Dabo Swinney said, Tanner is athletically gifted and his game shows it on the field.  Tanner stepped into the FC Dallas starting lineup with ease which is something Paxton Pomykal was not able to do at 18 years old which shows the potential that Tessmann has.  Tanner should be the big winner of the u20 World Cup and should book a ticket into a European first team for it.  

16. Antonio Leone: Center Back (LAFC)

It is rare when there is a center back prospect that stands out from the crowd when his age group is 16 years old but Tony has managed to do this.  Tony is a elite center back prospect who has the size, ball control, IQ, and aggressive play to be elite as a center back.  Right now Leone is in danger of switching to Mexico which would be a massive loss for the USA as Leone was benched in the last USA u17 camp where the goal of the camp was to evaluate the new player being brought into the pool.  Hopefully for the sake of the long term center back pool, Tony realizes that the last camp was not meant to evaluate the age group locks and sticks with the good guys.  

15. Jonathan Perez: Winger/Attacking Mid (LA Galaxy)

Johnny Perez is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the pool.  Johnny is the dynamic playmaking prospect that the LA Galaxy were actually able to retain after Uly Llanez left for Germany.  Johnny most often plays as a right winger but he is best as a 10 where he truly separates from the pack.  Johnny constantly makes plays and changes the game no matter who he plays against.  Earlier this year Johnny made his USL debut and picked up an assist within 10 minutes of stepping onto the field and clearly stood out from all of the other very talented prospects on the field.  Perez is the biggest dual national battle that the United States currently has with Mexico as Johnny currently plays for the bad guys and is the best player for the Mexico 03’s who are significantly less talented than the USA 2003’s.  

14. Jose Gallegos: Attacking Mid (San Antonio FC)

Jose will be the first major prospect to come out of a USL academy.  Jose is a classic number 10 who can dissect a defense and facilitate his team’s offense.  Jose is by far the best player on San Antonio already and he is still a senior in high school.  With Gio Reyna likely being withheld from the u20 World Cup cycle Jose should be the starter at the 10.  Anthony Hudson was recently on the BSI Podcast where he raved about Gallegos’ skill and potential.  

13. Taylor Booth: Defensive Mid (FC Bayern Munich)

Taylor Booth is one of the very few prospects who is not from California (he may be the literal only one) that the 343 crew actually rate.  Taylor Booth is a press resistant defensive mid who is valuable in the attack and is not a turnstyle defensively.  Taylor is currently at Bayern Munich but his time there is closing as he does not have the potential to break into their first team (it’s unrealistic to expect him to).  Taylor has the ability to move to a mid table Bundesliga table and can break in over the next year.  Taylor will fight with Johnny Cardoso for a very long time to be the 6 in the u20 World Cup cycle and the 2024 Olympic cycle.  

12. Julian Araujo: Right Back (LA Galaxy)

Julian Araujo should captain the current u20 World Cup cycle and will be a right back that should be involved in USMNT rosters for a very long time.  Because of Mauricio Cuevas also being in the Galaxy system, Araujo should be moved over to Europe sooner rather than later where he will thrive.  Araujo is one of the safest bets to make to become Sergino Dest’s backup long term.  

11. Owen Otasowie: Center Back/Defensive Mid (Wolverhampton FC)

Owen Otasowie is a beast of a player who is currently playing his trade at Wolverhampton in the Premier League.  Owen has already made his Premier League debut and has attracted interested from multiple top clubs in Europe and Wolverhampton had to move him into the first team to show how highly rated he is at the club.  Owen is the best center back prospect that the USA has in the u20 World Cup pool.  Owen should be considered for the current Olympic cycle and should be a key player for the next cycle.  Owen will be a player to watch for the 2026 World Cup Cycle.  

10. Konrad De La Fuente: Winger (FC Barcelona)

Konrad is the most underrated winger in the youth national team pool.  Konrad is lighting it up for FC Barcelona’s youth teams and yet is never talked about as a top tier USMNT prospect by most fans which I don’t understand.  Konrad had a rough u20 World Cup but was also the youngest player on the team and still managed to start every game for a team that upset France and also had Uly Llanez.  Konrad will stay at FC Barcelona for the next year but fans should be expecting him to move over to Germany and break into a Bundesliga side after next Summer’s u20 World Cup.  

9. Ricardo Pepi: Striker (FC Dallas)

Ricardo Pepi is a striker who can do it all.  He can combine with teammates, he can stretch a backline, and he can bang in goals.  Pepi scored 18 goals in 7 games at the u17 DA level which is absurd and followed it up by walking into the USL League 1 and scoring a hattrick in his first game.  Pepi has to improve his back to goal ability but when he does he will be an elite forward.  Pepi should be the starter for the u20 World Cup national team and will be a hot European target after the u20 World Cup in 2021.  

8. Jonathan Gomez: Left Back (Louisville City FC)

FC Dallas is a super talent factory and Jonathan Gomez is the best talent to come out of their academy.  Gomez is a left back who can do it all.  Gomez has the IQ, skill, and mentality needed to go far in the game.  Jonathan has moved from FC Dallas to Louisville City FC where he will play under John Hackworth who saw multiple American prospects thrive.  Gomez will move to Europe next year and will go far.  Look out for this kid because he is one of the two answers to the left back crisis the USMNT has had over the last decade.  

7. Johnny Cardoso: Defensive Mid (Internacional)

Many fans often complain that Gregg Berhalter does not pay attention to players outside of the MLS.  Gregg has quickly shot that assumption down by recruiting Johnny Cardoso into the USA system.  Cardoso has been name checked by Gregg multiple times as a can’t miss prospect.  Cardoso has broken into the Internacional first team in Brazil and it takes superior technical ability and mental strength to do that in a country where prospects are fighting to escape a life of poverty in the favelas.  Cardoso is a lock at the 6 for the current u20 cycle and will be a constant figure in USA team sheets after that.  

6. Uly Llanez: Winger (Wolfsburg)

Uly Llanez is the player that literally every USMNT fan is begging Gregg Berhalter to integrate into the USMNT as soon as possible and for good reason, Uly can ball.  Uly has every single tool that you look for in a winger and should break into the Wolfsburg first team as soon as the Bundesliga resumes.  While there are a lot of great prospects in this list, Uly is one of the only locks to be a USMNT contributor in the short term.  

5. Nati Clarke: Right Back/Center Back (Sporting Kansas City)

Right now people are locking Sergino Dest into the starting right back spot for the next decade but they shouldn’t because of Nati Clarke.  Nati may be the most athletically gifted player in this entire list but being athletically gifted does not get you a top 5 spot.  Nati has all the technical tools in his game and if Sporting Kansas City can develop his soccer IQ then Nati will quickly be Europe bound and locked into a starting lineup for whoever can sign him.  When looking for a young player to break into the USMNT for the 2026 World Cup cycle, Nati Clarke has the highest chance of them all as he will be 21 in 2026.  

4. Moses Nyeman: Center Mid/Attacking Mid (DC United)

Moses Nyeman will be a late bloomer but when he blooms it will be big.  Moses can literally do it all.  Moses is exceptional at every aspect of the game and is MLS ready despite being the smallest player that you will see on the field.  Moses does not have star potential, he has superstar potential.  The only thing separating Moses from being a star on the field is his physical attributes.  Once Moses bulks up, he will be electrifying on the field and will terrorize whoever steps in his way.  

3. Malick Sanogo: Striker/Winger (FC Union Berlin)

Malick Sanogo is the best striker prospect that the United States has not named Josh Sargent.  Soccer runs in Sanogo’s veins as his father was hired as a striker coach at Union Berlin.  Sanogo currently is second among all 2004’s in the German youth leagues for goals and assists, the player leading him is Youssoufa Moukoko who is a generational talent.  To be out producing every other player his age in Germany speaks volume’s about Malick’s talent.  With no second team at Union Berlin, Malick’s integration into the first team will be sooner rather than later.  Malick could break through into their first team before the 2022 World Cup and is the highest priority dual-national player that the United States have.  

2. Kobe Hernandez-Foster: Left Back (Wolfsburg)

Kobe is the best left back prospect that the United States has ever had.  Kobe was so valuable for the 2019 u17 World Cup team that they had to start him as a center back because he was the best center back on the team even though it was not his natural position.  Kobe will most likely break into the Wolfsburg first team within the next year and become the left back that the USMNT has been missing.  Gregg Berhalter should carve Kobe’s name into the starting lineup at left back because Kobe will be in the pool barring a critical injury.  

1. Gio Reyna: Winger/Attacking Mid (Borussia Dortmund)

This was an obvious choice for the top American prospect.  Gio is the most talented American to play the game and it is not really even close.  Many at Dortmund are saying that he has even more talent than Christian Pulisic.  I think that Gio will surpass Christian and that it will be quicker than people are expecting.  While Christian is the next Landon Donovan, Gio is the next Clint Dempsey.  Gio will be the best player on the team for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups and will likely be a starter for the 2022 World Cup.  

The top 5 goalkeepers

5. Chris Brady (Chicago Fire)

4. Luca Lewis (Torino FC)

3. Damian Las (Fulham FC)

2. Chituru Odunze (Leicester FC)

1. David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake)

The prospect depth chart

The top ussoccer prospect depth chart

The u20 World Cup & u17 World Cup Leaders

Here is what the depth chart looks like after you add the players in according to where they were ranked.  The overall depth and quality of these prospects can’t be understated, this is the brightest group of players that the United States has ever produced.  This also is a very early depth chart for the 2024 Olympics as all of these players are age eligible for that.  This list is missing dual nationals like Folarin Balogun, Efrain Alvarez, and Bryan Okoh who I am not sure will represent the United States at the youth levels but I would welcome them with open arms.

When you add the standouts from this group to the promising players from the older age groups including Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Sergino Dest, Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah, Chris Richards, Paxton Pomykal, Richie Ledezma, Miles Robinson, Antonee Robinson, Chris Gloster, Jesus Ferreira, Nicolas Gioaccini, Brendan Aaronson, James Sands, Chris Durkin, Erik Palmer-Brown, Michael Edwards, and Alex Mendez then you have a group that could actually make a deep run in the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.  What’s even more exciting is that the 2006 and younger age groups are starting to emerge and they’re looking to potentially be even more talented.  

So where should fans draw the line on who is a top tier prospect currently?  Personally, I believe that barring injury the top 14 players listed have the talent to play for top table teams in big European leagues.  players ranked from 15 to 43 I also think have the talent to be able to make it in Europe at a high level but have a flaw in their game that separates them from being in that top tier. After that there is a tier with players who I think are very good but are too young to determine yet or they play in a position with a significant amount of depth (6, 8, and CB’s apply to this). 

Are any of the players who were ranked lower or listed as an honorable mention being written off as a USMNT prospect yet?  Absolutely not, if the 2000’s did not serve as an indicator, new prospects will appear out of no where and prospects with little hype will progress very well.  I have few players in mind who I think will surprise people down the line.  

If you liked this article make sure to give me a follow on twitter @dkerr0118!

Club News

The Top 10 Americans in Europe this Season



The season is over for most of the major European leagues and compared to last season, this was a better season for Americans in Europe.  The US had several Americans win a trophy this season or were promoted with their club.  Both Tim Weah and Weston McKennie won the Coppa Italia, while Cameron Carter-Vickers won the double in Scotland.  You also had Nick Gioacchini, Gianluca Busio, and Tanner Tessmann gain promotion to Serie A in their respected clubs.  In this article we will cover who we consider to be our top 10 Americans this season in Europe.  The stats information for each player comes from FotMob.

Lennard Maloney

Few Americans played in the Bundesliga this season and even fewer had a good season in the German topflight.  Lennard Maloney was one of those Americans who had a successful Bundesliga season.  Maloney was the main central defender for the newly promoted club Heidenheim.  Last season, he helped them win the 2. Bundesliga to get their first ever promotion to the Bundesliga.  This season, he helped Heidenheim qualify for the UEFA Conference League, their first ever continental competition.  Few American soccer players can say they have that accomplishment.  It was only until this season did Maloney get his first call-up to the USMNT.  Maloney was spectacular on the stats sheet, but it was what he did off the ball that made him one of the best American players this season in a top European league.  At one point during the season, Maloney was leading in distance covered.  His ability to stop the opposition’s transition to the attack helped Heidenheim to have 1.6 goals conceded per match and a possession of 42.1%.  Maloney outperformed 97% of Bundesliga midfielders in aerial duels won and 90% in defensive actions.  Between the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal, Maloney started in 29 matches out of 31 matches played with 2 goals and 1 assist.  He also had an 83.5% passing accuracy, 69.4% long ball accuracy, 29 tackles for 80.2%, 79.1% aerial duels won, 29 interceptions, and 144 recoveries.  For me, Maloney barely makes it in the top 10 list due to his low stats.  His accomplishments for Heidenheim and being a major piece to their successful season can’t be ignored.

Chris Richards

April 21, 2024: Crystal Palace v West Ham United Premier League 21/04/2024. Chris Richards 26 of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park, London, England on 21 April 2024. Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See , Copyright: xNigelxKeenex PSI-19528-0101 (Credit Image: © Imago via ZUMA Press)

It took a while for Chris Richards to get a start for Crystal Palace and it was worth the wait.  When Richards began getting minutes this season, it was at defensive midfielder.  He took people by surprise with his solid performances in the position.  With the injury of Marc Guehi and Crystal Palace moving to a back 3, Richards became a lock starter in the defense.  It was rocky at first for him, but that all changed when Oliver Glasner took over the club.  In the first match under the new manager, Richards got a goal.  Richards became one of Crystal Palace’s best CBs.  In the 30 matches played, Richards started in 27.  Richards finished ahead of 83% of the CBs in the Premier League in aerial duels, and 66% in both defensive actions and goals.  Across all competitions, Richards had 1 goal and 1 assist, 85% passing accuracy, 59.2% tackles won, 54.5% duels won, 37 interceptions, and 106 recoveries.  There is hope next season for Richards.  Guehi is gathering interest from other EPL clubs once again and Glasner will be returning next season.  If Richards retains his starting role next season, we could see Richards be one of Palace’s best defenders.  Due to not appearing in every match, having some inconsistent matches before the Glasner Era, and not unlocking his full potential this season until Glasner took over is why Richards is 9th on my list.

    Josh Sargent

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    One of the US’ most prolific scorers this season came from Josh Sargent in the English Championship.  Missing 22 matches due to an ankle injury did not stop him from scoring double-digit goals, but it did stop him from winning the league’s golden boot.  Sargent finished 6th in goals scored with 16 in 26 league matches played with 2 assists.  If Sargent had not sustained the injury, he would have been in the argument for the league’s golden boot.  Across all competitions, Sargent started in 25 matches out of 28 matches played.  When you compare his traits to other strikers in the English Championship, Sargent finished ahead of 65% strikers in chances created, 83% shot attempts, and 96% goals.  In league play, Sargent had an 81.8% passing, 23 chances created, 47.5% dribbles completed, 45.4% duels won, and 39 recoveries.  Even with the injury, there have been rumors that Premier League clubs are monitoring him.  Maybe we will see him back in the EPL next season.  The reason he falls just short of the top 5 is because between the months of May and April, he had only 2 goals and 1 assist.  As a striker, you cannot have only 3 G/A in 2 months.  The injury also allowed others, mainly Haji Wright, to pass him in the top 10 Americans in Europe this season.  If he was not out for 4 months and was in contention for Championship Golden Boot, he would have been a top 5 American.

      Johnny Cardoso

      Johnny would be much higher on this list if he had played a full season in Europe based on his form with Los Verdiblancos since joining in January when you compare him to the other Americans in a top 5 league.  Johnny took LaLiga by storm and quickly took a starting role in just his second match, which happened to be against Barcelona.  He also received how praises from Manuel Pellegrini just after his first week with the club.  Johnny was awarded the LaLiga EA Sports U23 Player of the Month in February, his first full month for Real Betis.  Johnny’s quick adoption to LaLiga and excellent performances has already caused inquiries from major clubs, one of those clubs being Barcelona, and being a LaLiga U23 Player of the Season nominee.  Across all competitions, Johnny had 3 goal contributions, 72% long ball accuracy, 9 chances created, 78.9% successful dribbles, 34 tackles won for 65.9%, 51.2% of duels won, 35 interceptions, 101 recoveries between LaLiga and Europa Conference League.  In just half of a season, Johnny beat 96% of midfielders in LaLiga for defensive actions and 92% of them in aerial duels.  For playing only half a season in a top 5 league, these are very impressive numbers, and it made him one of the most exciting Americans to watch in Europe this season.  His nomination for LaLiga U23 Player of the Season, winning a U23 Player of the Month, and the quality of the teams he faced compared to other Americans in Europe is very difficult to ignore when placing him on this list.  Johnny only playing half the season in Europe does keep him from being higher up in the top.  If he can continue this form next season, he will for sure be a top 5 American in Europe.  Next season, Real Betis will be taking part in the Europa Conference League once again.

        Malik Tillman

        The American player who had one of the best loan spells this season was Malik Tillman.  After his successful loan at Glasgow Rangers last season, Malik Tillman proved that he could conquer a top 7 league after putting up 19 goal contributions for PSV in the Eredivisie.  His effort on the offense helped PSV win the league title.  Amongst all attacking midfielders and wingers in the Eredivisie, Malik finished ahead of 94% of the players in touches and 92% in chances created.  Also, he beat out 90% of them in defensive actions and 71% in goals.  Malik started in 24 matches out of 39 across all competitions with a total of 21 goal contributions (his one match with Jong PSV is not included).  Tillman also had 71% shots on target in league play; 81.6% passing accuracy, 67.8% long ball accuracy, 61 chances created, 47 successful dribbles for 47.8%, 3 penalties won, 36 tackles for 81.2%, 48.2% duels won, 25 interceptions, 9 blocks, 171 recoveries, and 39 possessions won in the final third.  On May 10th, PSV made the announcement at the end of the season that they had acquired Tillman permanently through 2028 and Bayern retained their buy-back clause.  PSV were not the only club that was pleased by his performance this season.  His parent club, Bayern, was reportedly to be very happy with his season as well.  Maybe we will see Tillman back in a Bayern shirt in the future.  Tillman not being higher on this list was due to his inconsistent performances in the Champions League and early in the Eredivisie season.

          Segiño Dest

          The player with arguably the best loan spell of the Americans in Europe was Sergiño Dest.  After appearing in only 14 matches for Milan AC last season and his second season with Barcelona under Xavi Hernández.  A step back to the Eredivisie was the right move for Dest to rejuvenate his career.  Due to Jordan Teze being PSV’s RB, Dest played LB this season and was successful at it, showing he can play on both sides.  In the Eredivisie, Dest made it on the Team of the Month on multiple occasions.  There are still improvements that need to be made in his defensive game, and that was evident in the UCL matches.  In the Eredivisie, Dest finished ahead of 90% of other fullbacks in chances created, 88% in touches, and 90% in shot attempts.  Across all competitions, Dest finished with 9 goal contributions, 86.9% passing accuracy, 69.1% long ball accuracy, 52 chances created, 62.4% dribbles completed, 58.5% ground duels won, and 163 recoveries.  Dest played a critical role in PSV winning the Eredivisie this season.  He did make some mistakes in the UCL matches, but he was still one of PSV’s better players in the competition.  Even though the Eredivisie is not a top 5 league in Europe, Dest was one of our top performers and most informed American players in Europe.

            Haji Wright

            Arguably one of the top 3 Americans in England this season, it did not start well for Haji Wright in his record transfer to Coventry City.  In his first 3 months at the club, Haji only had 2 goals and 2 assists.  Things did not start to turn around for him until November when he scored 3 goals in 4 matches.  By the end of the 1st half of the season, Haji had 12 goal contributions.  What changed for him?  Manager Mark Robins moved Haji to LW and occasionally as a left striker.  That move in position helped provide Haji Wright his best season of his career and one of the best American players this season.  His most iconic goal in my opinion this season was scoring the winning goal at the last minute against Wolves to help get Coventry City into the FA Cup Semi-Final followed by his goal against Manchester United.  By the end of the season, Haji had 25 goal contributions across all competitions, tying him with Christian Pulisic for most goal contributions by an American in a top 10 European league.  In league play, Haji and Sargent tied for 6th in goals with 16.  Haji was better than 93% attacking midfielders and wingers in aerial duels won, along with 97% in goals, and 98% in shot attempts.  Haji finished the season with 75.9% in passing, 32 chances created, 4 penalty goals, 36 completed dribbles, 49 fouls won, 63.9% tackles, 47.8% aerial duels won, and 114 recoveries.  If Haji Wright can recreate this season again next year in the English Championship, I will have no doubt he will be linked to a move to the Premier League.

              Weston McKennie

              Another player who was consistent for his European club this season was Weston McKennie for Juventus in the Serie A.  McKennie was one of the most informed players for Juventus this season and their leading player in assists with 7.  There has been discussion by Serie A media since January that McKennie deserves to be on the Serie A Team of the Season.  He spent a good amount of the season at RWB and was very successful.  He did not move to his natural position (central midfielder) until later in the season due to injuries.  Even with being one of Juve’s best players this season and being in discussion for Serie A Team of the Season, Juve refused to give the salary raise that McKennie asked for, leaving his future with the Italian giants in doubt.  McKennie started in 33 matches out of 38 matches.  He finished the season with 10 assists. 77.4% passing accuracy and 64.4% long ball accuracy across all competitions.  He also created 46 chances, 60.8% completed dribbles, 31 completed tackles for 80.2%, 168 duels won for 42.3%, 20 interceptions, and 128 recoveries.  When you compared McKennie to other Serie A midfielders, he outperformed 87% of them in chances created and 65% for aerial duels won.  After how things went last season for him, he had one of the biggest improvements in performance for an American along with Christian Pulisic.  The reason he finishes behind Pulisic is because he did not score a single goal and he was beginning to struggle in form towards the end of the season.  He was one of the few Americans to win a trophy this season by winning the Coppa Italia.

                Christian Pulisic

                It is a close call between Pulisic and Weston McKinnie for the 2nd best American this season and even 1st between Pulisic and Antonee Robinson.  I must give it to Pulisic because of his offensive work rate and productivity, and his European competition performance this season.  Pulisic finished the season with 15 goals and 10 assists across all competitions (1 goal being in the Champions League (UCL), and 2 goals and an assist being in the UEL) bringing a total of 25 G/A, the most he has had in a single season.    In Serie A, Pulisic tied for 4th of all players in the league for goals and assists.  For Milan, he was their 2nd highest goal scorer and had the 2nd most assists.  Pulisic started in 44 matches out of 55 matches played across all competitions.  Pulisic was nominated by the league for best midfielder of the season.  When compared to attacking midfielders and wingers in Serie A, he scored more goals than 91% of other players in those positions.  He also had an 83% passing accuracy, 60 chances created, 28.5% crossing accuracy (in the league, Pulisic was in the 72.7% ranking), 66 successful dribbles for 49%, 181 touches in opposition box, 71.3% tackles won, 198 ground duels won for 46.3%, 24 blocks, 11 interceptions, and 138 recoveries.  Since becoming a professional athlete, this was Christian Pulisic’s best season of his career.  People would argue he only performed as well as he did because he took a step down.  Even with Serie A not being at the level that the EPL is at, it is still a top 5 league in the world and Milan is one of the biggest clubs in Europe.  The reason why he is not the #1 American for this season is because Pulisic was not being consistent, especially against major opponents.

                Antonee Robinson

                  It was a tight decision between Antonee Robinson and Christian Pulisic for best American player in Europe this season, but I must hand it to Antonee.  Antonee Robinson was arguably the best LB in the English Premier League this season and even argued to be the best fullback this season.  This is very challenging when talking about the best league and the world where you have the likes of Kyle Walker, Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Andrew Robertson.  For the USMNT, he was perhaps the most consistent American in Europe this season.  Antonee started a total of 42 out of 44 matches.  He had a total of 6 assists this season, making him one of the top EPL defenders in assists this season.  He also finished with the most interceptions in the EPL with 80, 15 more than Lewis Cook, who had the 2nd most in the league.  This does not just include the EPL, but Jedi also had the most interceptions across Europe’s top 7 leagues.  In the top 7 European leagues, he came in 3rd in possession won in defensive 3rd with 145.  When comparing him to other fullbacks in the EPL, he outperformed 95% of the league’s fullbacks in defensive actions, 80% in touches, and 68% in aerial duels won.  Across all competitions, Antonee had 35 chances created, passing accuracy of 76.5%, 23% crossing accuracy, 49 successful dribbles for 60.3%, tackles won, 56.5% duels won, and 264 recoveries.  Antonee has made it on several reviewers’ EPL Team of the Season and is being monitored by top clubs for this summer by the likes of Liverpool and Bayern.  Compared to other Americans in Europe this season, Jedi made it on more continental stats leaderboards and competing in this best league in the world making him the best American in Europe this season.

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                  Club News

                  Winter 2023 Transfer Window Preview



                  In a couple weeks we enter silly season. During the month of January, the global football market will open up to leagues across the world and we can expect there to be a lot of action involving American players. 

                  Why? There are lots of reasons for players to change clubs: 

                  1. Not getting enough playing time to develop / stay sharp
                  2. Not playing at a high enough level of competition
                  3. Not a good tactical fit

                  Here is a list of players that I believe could benefit from a chance in scenery starting with the most urgent:

                  IT’S DIRE, GET OUT

                  WING, Christian Pulisic, Chelsea

                  Is really dire? Maybe not, but he’s clearly undervalued at Chelsea and Pulisic is too good to not be playing a significant role somewhere. Chelsea is once again linked with every attacker on the transfer market, so clearly he really isn’t in the plans. Newcastle seems to be the favorite to land Pulisic in January and I love the fit. 

                  WING, Konrad de la Fuente, Olympiacos

                  Konrad de la Fuente moved to Greece thinking he could get regular playing time after a managerial change at Marseille. Instead, Olympiacos signed a thousand foreign players even though only a set amount of foreign players (5) can make matchday squads, and de la Fuente has been an odd man out. Konrad isn’t in training with Olympiacos or Marseille right now and is instead looking for a new loan for the remainder of the season. 

                  AM, Richie Ledezma, PSV

                  Ledezma had the choice to stay at PSV or find a loan this summer and he chose to stay, likely thinking he’d get more minutes than he has. He has the same choice to make in January and hopefully this time he chooses to leave — he needs more minutes to grow. 

                  RB, Reggie Cannon, Boavista

                  Cannon is starting every week and that is good, but he is also playing center-back and I just don’t think he’s developed much since moving to Boavista. He didn’t make a World Cup roster which featured four right-backs, so maybe that is a sign that a change is needed? I think it is. 

                  CM, Gianluca Busio, Venezia

                  There was a brief moment in time when Busio’s move to Venezia looked like a great one. That seems like a long time ago and now he is struggling to find starts for a club in the bottom third of Serie B. I am sure the market for Busio has weakened, but there still might be interest in Serie A or other leagues where he could benefit from a career reset. 

                  CM, Eryk Williamson, Portland Timbers

                  I think it’s very likely Williamson played his last match in Portland. It’s been reported that LAFC would look to trade for him to replace Jose Cifuentes who is likely heading to the Premier League. There has not been a lot of reported interest abroad for Williamson, so a move within MLS is most likely. 

                  RB, Justin Che, Hoffenheim

                  Che’s 18-month loan with Hoffenheim looked promising last year when he was getting some appearances towards the end of the season, but with a managerial change he has fallen out of favor and has been stuck with Hoffenheim’s reserve team. I am sure Dallas and Che can end the loan early and hopefully find a better opportunity in Europe. Another half season in MLS wouldn’t hurt either, but I don’t think Che and his team want to go that route. 

                  THE RIGHT TIME FOR A CHANGE

                  LB, DeJuan Jones, New England Revolution

                  It’s not like his situation at New England is bad, he just hasn’t been able to get the attention of USSF. Perhaps a successful move overseas helps energize his stock.

                  LB, John Tolkin, New York Red Bulls

                  I don’t think Tolkin has anything left to prove at NYRB and he is ready to make the jump to Europe. Last summer he was connected Anderlecht in Belgium — that level feels like the right next step for him. 

                  CF, Brandon Vazquez, FC Cincinnati 

                  Vazquez had a breakout season last year and I think both he and FC Cincinnati should strike while the iron is hot. A top third club in the English Championship could be a great next step for him. 

                  CB, Joshua Wynder, Louisville City

                  Wynder was a full-time starter in USL at the ages of 16 and 17 last season and of the top American prospects born in 2005. In order for him to continue to push himself and develop I think he should look to move to Europe or MLS this season. There has been lots of interest reported from both. If it is Europe, he will have to wait until he turns 18 in May, but he could sign a pre-deal like fellow LouCity player Jonathan Gomez did. 

                  SS, Quinn Sullivan, Philadelphia Union

                  Sullivan likely isn’t happy with his usage rates last season, but Curtin and company were in a tough spot trying to find their young players minutes while pushing for a MLS title. With Cory Burke gone, there might be more striker minutes available within Curtin’s two striker system. That could be enough to entice Sullivan to stay, but my hunch is that he’d like to get his European career started this winter. 

                  WING, Cade Cowell, San Jose Earthquakes

                  New San Jose Earthquakes manager and former FC Dallas manager and USMNT assistant coach Luchi Gonzalez says he has big plans for Cade Cowell. Are his plans to move him to right-back? Probably not, but I am not convinced another season in the South Bay is the right move for Cade. His development has stalled over the last two seasons and I think a change of scenery would be useful. Joe Scally’s club, Borussia Mönchengladbach has reportedly been interested as have some Premier League clubs. 

                  CB, Sam Rogers, Rosenborg

                  Rogers is a former Seattle Sounders Academy player that has spent the last two seasons in Norway. He had a breakout season of sorts for third place finishing Rosenborg playing as the LCB in a three back system, scoring an impressive six goals and one assist. It would be nice to see Rogers see if he can elevate his game to an even higher level of competition. 

                  DM, Danny Leyva, Seattle Sounders

                  The Seattle Sounders will have Leyva, Obed Vargas, Josh Atencio and João Paulo competing for midfield minutes next season which leads me to believe that one of the younger guys should leave to get the time needed to advance their career. Vargas and Paulo are coming off serious injuries, so it’s possible that Seattle holds on to all of the guys until the summer when there are less health concerns, but one could go in January. My bet would be Leyva because he is a more attractive prospect than Atencio, but Seattle seems to rate Vargas more. 

                  CB, Jalen Neal, LA Galaxy

                  Neal is one of the most first team ready, young center-backs in MLS, but I am not sure he is going to get an opportunity from the Galaxy on the first team this year and it might not come next year either. I think it is time to move to another club within MLS or go abroad where he can play in a more competitive reserve league. Galaxy 2 won’t be in the USL next year, they will be in MLS Next Pro, a big step down in competition, so a loan to a USL club is also a decent option though I’d prefer a higher level than that. 

                  HEAR ME OUT

                  WING, Tim Weah, Lille

                  Weah does not need to be playing right-back and I think there are better clubs and better fits for him out there. I’d like to see him leave even though I don’t think Lille is keen to move him, nor does the market seem to be too hot on him right now. 

                  CF, Josh Sargent, Norwich City

                  I am tired of watching Josh play on the wing when he is the best striker on the team. It’s a waste. 

                  GK, Matt Turner, Arsenal

                  Matt probably stays at Arsenal to continue their FA Cup and Europa League campaigns, but I think Matt has proven he should be a starting goal keeper for a pretty good club. I’d like to see him do that sooner rather than later. 

                  CB, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Celtic

                  CCV has achieved great success and stability at Celtic, but I also think he runs the risk of stagnating. I would like to see Carter-Vickers move to a better league as soon as he can so he can continue to grow. 

                  CF, Haji Wright, Antalyaspor

                  What more does Wright have to prove in Turkey? He clearly can rack up goals in that league. I’d like to see him move to a better league and see if he can continue to be an efficient goal scorer. 

                  I’M INDIFFERENT

                  All of the guys are in pretty good club situations because they all have key roles and the competition level is fine based on where they are at in their career. 

                  CM, Yunus Musah, Valencia

                  There are some big clubs after Musah (Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter Milan), but he’d likely take a hit in playing time initially so I am not sure that is best for him right now. The counter is that nothing is certain and maybe Musah needs to take this opportunity while it is here. 

                  CM, Weston McKennie, Juventus

                  Juventus seems like a turbulent situation and perhaps a move to the Premier League would be best for McKennie. Tottenham has been after McKennie for what seems like multiple years. 

                  LB, Jedi Robinson, Fulham

                  Robinson and Fulham have been a great story in the first half of the Premier League season, but will they be able to keep it up? Newcastle is reportedly preparing a 15M offer for Robinson and that could be a better long term play for him. 

                  CM, Johnny Cardoso, Internacional

                  Cardoso is coming off his best season as a pro and his club finished second in the Brazil. Spanish and Italian clubs seem in on him and a move seems inevitable, but another year in Brazil would not be the worst thing. 

                  DM, Tanner Tessmann, Venezia

                  Tessmann is playing some of the best football of his life right now and the new manager trusts him as Venezia fight for their lives in Serie B, but there is reported interest from Serie A clubs. My gut tells me Tessmann should stay and help keep Venezia in Serie B, ride the form that he is in and perhaps he will have even stronger interest in the summer. 

                  CF/AM, Jesus Ferreira, FC Dallas

                  Ferreira and Dallas are in an interesting position. Ferreira had a great season last year and Dallas looks like an emerging side in MLS as well. Ferreira also signed a designated player contract last year so his options are more limited in finding clubs abroad that will meet his salary requirements, but Ferreira is at a very critical age for development and he may not be able to grow much more in MLS, so, he likely needs to leave at the end of the next season at the latest. My guess is Dallas is going to go for a MLS Cup this year and then look to rebuild in 2024. 


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                  Club News

                  Summer 2022 Transfer Window Preview



                  The summer transfer window is a historically more action packed window where clubs tend to spend more than they do during the winter window. This year it will be an even more important window for players fighting for a spot on the World Cup roster. Gregg has made it clear that for players that are not considered “locks”, how a player establishes himself with his club during the preseason and early parts of the season leading up to the final September camp will be incredibly important. In this article we will look at three categories of US players:

                  1. Players looking to take the next competitive step
                  2. Players looking for situations that give them a chance to play more consistently
                  3. Players who have been rumored to be on the move that I think should stay put

                  Before we look at potential transfers, let’s catch up on movement that is already planned this summer: 

                  Planned Moves

                  GK, Matt Turner, New England Revolution → Arsenal FC

                  Matt is moving to Arsenal on July 1. Will the move to the Premier League raise his technical level? Or will he get rusty as a backup that rarely gets time in competitive matches.

                  CB, John Brooks, VfL Wolfsburg → TBD

                  There hasn’t been a lot of news to report on potential destinations for Brooks this summer. The only credible news I have seen is John being linked with Hoffenheim. Hoffenheim will have a new manager next season and reports are that John’s agent has a good relationship with the club and he is well thought of there. Chris Richards likely won’t be back with Hoffenheim, but young Justin Che is (fellow German-American). Even if it is not Hoffenheim, I think John will have demand from mid table teams in one of the top 5 leagues, but the Bundesliga is where he’ll likely end up.

                  CB, Kobi Henry, Orange County SC → Stade Reims

                  This move had been rumored a while ago by ESPNs, Jeff Carlisle. I was starting to wonder if it was just agency smoke, but the deal has been made and Kobi will deliver the largest USL transfer fee in league history at 700K. Kobi is 18 and will likely throttle between the reserve team and the first team. I think he is a few years away from being first team ready. Physically he is close, but he still has a long ways to go tactically and mentally. Be patient with Kobi, it could be a while before we see him play first team minutes with Reims.

                  RB, Bryan Reynolds, AS Roma → KVC Westerlo

                  Bryan is headed back to Belgium on another loan from Roma, this time with recently promoted KVC Westerlo. It’s been reported that there will be an option to buy for 7M€. I thought Bryan would be able to get loaned to a slightly stronger club, but I do believe the Belgian top flight is a good level. He was pretty good for Kortrijk FC last year after a Winter loan. I am excited to see what Bryan can do with a full offseason and season with a club that has plans to play him. It can be challenging playing for a recently promoted club, but it looks like Westerlo is looking to make moves and the middle to lower half of the Belgian league is typically more competitive than other leagues.

                  CM, Luca de la Torre, Heracles Almelo → TBD

                  What was widely assumed has been confirmed, Luca has an agreement in place to be moved this summer from Heracles, with one year left on his contract so Heracles can get some transfer money from the move. We have learned that this was going to happen whether Heracles get relegated or not. It will be very interesting to see where Luca ends up. He is a player that you really have to watch to understand how good he is and you have to think that clubs in the Eredivisie, that played against him will be excited to have the chance to sign him. Additionally, clubs in top 5 leagues with smart scouting departments will also be interested in him. He is a very skilled player that will be a bargain signing. His G/A stats have never been impressive, but he does so many things to help a midfield.

                  CM, Taylor Booth, Bayern Munich II → FC Utrecht

                  This is the planned move I am most excited for this summer. Taylor did not get a loan this year after refusing to extend his contract, so he played at too low of a level with Bayern’s reserve squad. Fortunately, Utrecht saw the talent and signed him on a free. Taylor will have competition in the midfield at Utrecht next year, but if he can breakthrough, he could be a sleeper pick to make the plane to Qatar. 

                  AM, Brenden Aaronson, RB Salzburg → Leeds United

                  Brenden is joining former manager and fellow American Jessie Marsch at Leeds United. He is trading European competition for more consistent top level competition in the Premier League. Brenden and Jessie know each other well from their days in Salzburg. It’s a great system fit and Leeds will likely have a lot of roster turnover with pending sales of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.

                  CB, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Celtic FC Tottenham Hotspur Celtic FC

                  CCV has decided to return to Celtic after having the best season of his young, but winding career. I love the decision. He’s highly valued im Glasgow (13M transfer!!!), he’ll be in European competitions year in and year out and he’ll be able to continue to develop on the pitch. He won’t be in the most competitive league, but a couple of successful years at Celtic could turn in to bigger offers during the prime of his career.

                  Players LOOKING FOR A HIGHER LEVEL

                  GK, Gaga Slonina, Chicago Fire

                  Gaga’s move to Chelsea seems all but complete as the London club has out bit Real Madrid for young American keeper. It has been said that Gaga will be loaned back to Chicago for the remainder of the season or longer, similar to Caden Clark’s deal with RB Leipzig/NYRB. Gaga has struggled recently for Chicago, but clearly he has shown enough for the biggest clubs in the world to be bullish on his future potential.

                  LB, DeJuan Jones, New England Revolution

                  DeJuan is turning 25 this summer and he is one of the better left-backs in MLS. He has not been able to get a real chance from Gregg Berhalter and he needs to try something else to get on his radar. I think if he’s ever going to test himself in Europe, the time is now and New England seems to be in the middle of selling spree.

                  LB, John Tolkin, New York Red Bulls

                  John isn’t the splashiest prospect, but he’s really well rounded, mature and he is young. If he can string together some goal contributions this season, I think there will be a good amount of demand abroad. There has been reported interest from RB Salzburg. 

                  CM, Timothy Tillman, SpVgg Greuther Fürth

                  Fürth exercised their club option to extend Timothy another year. With Fürth heading to 2. Bundesliga, I am expecting mid-low Bundesliga clubs to come calling and for Tim to get a chance with another club this summer.

                  CM, Gianluca Busio, Venezia FC

                  I would be comfortable with Gianluca in this category or the “stay put” category. Venezia spent a lot of money on Busio, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him grind it out and help Venezia get back to Serie A for the 2023-2024 season. There has been reported interest in other Serie A clubs and I would also be happy to see him stay at that level and develop. Either way, Busio needs to continue to develop and figure out what role will be most effective for him. Is he a 6, 8 or 10? He played all of those positions with Venezia last year. I think he his best suited long term to play the 6 if he can manage the defensive responsibilities that comes with it.

                  AM, Djordje Mihailovic, CF Montreal

                  Next to Gaga Slonina, Djordje is probably the hottest American commodity in the MLS. There is a lot of reported interest from big clubs and it seems likely that Djordje’s time to go to Europe is now. He just received his first call-up to the USMNT, if the camp goes well, you have to wonder if now is the right time to move to Europe or if he should stay where he is a known commodity and move after the World Cup?

                  WING, Cade Cowell, San Jose Earthquakes

                  Cade is starting to get into a good rhythm for the post-Almayda San Jose Earthquakes. He is starting consistently at LW and contributing consistently. He’s still raw and the technical aspects to his game have not developed as quickly as you’d like to see. Does he need a move abroad to better develop those skills? Does MLS allow him to rely too much on his athletic ability? If he continues to put him numbers, I could definitely see big name clubs trying to facilitate a move and betting on his rare physical profile. There have been reported interest from Everton.

                  ST, Jordan Pefok, BSC Young Boys

                  I don’t think there is much more for Jordan to prove at the current level after winning the golden boot in first year in the Swiss Super League. Jordan is in his prime and needs to see what he can do in a top 5 league. There have been reported interested from Bundesliga clubs with Borussia in their name: Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Both moves would likely be for a substitute role, which I think is fine. I can see Pefok doing well as a 60 or 70 minute sub looking to poach a late goal.


                  GK, Zack Steffen, Manchester City

                  It’s become very clear that being GK2 at Manchester City isn’t benefiting Zack’s career. He needs to request a loan or permanent move where he can have a better chance to play consistently. 

                  GK, Ethan Horvath, Nottingham Forest

                  Ethan Horvath and Nottingham Forest are headed to the Premier League after a magical season. Ethan is the clear #2 at Forest behind Brice Samba. It has been reported that Forest is looking to move Samba, most likely because they are looking to sign a proven Premier League keeper. It would be better for Horvath and the USMNT if he was loaned out where he could be the #1 option, but I just don’t see that happening.

                  LB, Jonathan Gómez, Real Sociedad 

                  Real Sociedad B is getting relegated to the third tier of Spain. That’s not a great level for JoGo. Will he get a chance to have a role on the first team or will they look to loan him to a lower table LaLiga club, or potentially a LaLiga 2 club? A strong start to the 2022-2023 season at a good level could be enough to get JoGo into the September camp with an opportunity to take the LB2 job for the World Cup.

                  RB, Brandon Bye, New England Revolution

                  Brandon is having a very strong season in New England and has had a couple of nice seasons in the MLS. He is in the prime of his career and has yet to get a cap for the United States. Like DeJuan Jones, the time is now for Bye to test his skills overseas. There is reported interest from Fulham and Lille.

                  CB, Chris Richards, Bayern Munich

                  Chris Richard’s 2022/2023 club situation is one of the most important to monitor. Bayern is losing a starting CB, but will Chris earn the right to be a starter? It has been reported that Bayern is going to give Chris a strong look this offseason to have a bigger role with Bayern this year. If that does not manifest itself, Chris has options elsewhere for a loan or permanent deal in Crystal Palace, Southampton and Hoffenheim, where he has had two successful loan spells in the last two years.

                  CB, Kik Pierie, Ajax

                  After a solid year with Twente last season, this year has been brutal for Kik. He was injured for the majority of the season and struggled once he returned to the squad. He will be back with Ajax this summer and likely looking for a move. 

                  CB, Matt Miazga, Chelsea FC

                  Matt’s loan to Alavés was not a successful one. He had some bright moments early in the year, but lost his starting job and never really recovered. He’ll be heading back to London this summer and looking for a new loan or permanent deal. Is it time for him to come back to the MLS? Or does he go back to the Netherlands or Belgium where he has had the most success?

                  DM, Johnny Cardoso, Sport Club Internacional

                  So far this season, Johnny has taken a step back in minutes for Internacional. There has been reported interest in Johnny from the MLS and perhaps some interest from Europe. Maybe it’s time for a new start where he can potentially have a better opportunity to play more and develop?

                  AM, Malik Tillman, Bayern Munich

                  Malik is the newest dual-national player to commit to the USMNT and he received his first chance with the team in the June camp. Malik showed flashes of talent, but also looked like a player that needs more senior minutes at the Club level. Malik made his senior team debut with Bayern, playing in both cup, league and European competitions, mainly because of injuries in the squad. i would love to see him get a loan to a lower table Bundesliga team, perhaps one of the newly promoted clubs Schalke or Werder Bremen?

                  AM, Richard Ledezma, PSV Eindhoven

                  Richie had a very challenging season in 2021/2022 coming back from a torn ACL injury. He throttled between Jong PSV and the first team, but saw very few minutes with PSV. He did end the season with the longest run-out of the season and contributed his first goal. This is a big summer for Richie. His chances of doing enough to displace Paul Arriola for a World Cup spot, in Gregg Berhalter’s eyes, will be very difficult, but a great preseason with PSV and a key role with the prestigious club would turn some heads. If it does not look like Richie is going to be a key player for PSV next year, he needs to look elsewhere so that can develop on the pitch.

                  AM, Caden Clark, New York Red Bulls

                  2022 has not gone to plan for Caden Clark. Many thought he’d be a locked in starter for NYRB this year, but he was used as more of a super sub role early in the year. That was going okay and then he injured himself at a US U20 camp. He is just now getting back into fitness and playing for NYRB. It’s been reported that he isn’t happy with how much time he is getting and that RB Leipzig likely isn’t as well, so it’s possible that Caden goes to Europe this summer on a different loan deal where he can get a fresh start. I think that might be good for him. I am not sure the current NYRB system suits his game very well.

                  WING, Alex Mighten, Nottingham Forest

                  Alex Mighten, along with Horvath will get his first chance in the top league in the world. Mighten started the season as a starter when Forest was really struggling. He then was moved to the bench where he was regularly used. In the middle of the season Alex was injured and when he came back he had more diminished role. Alex will train and fight to become a more utilized part of the attacking rotation next year and Forest will likely look to make a lot of moves to strengthen their roster as they head to the Premier League for the first time in decades. It’s possible Mighten gets loaned to a Championship club where he has a better chance to develop on the pitch.

                  ST, Matthew Hoppe, RCD Mallorca

                  I don’t think any 2021 Summer transfer turned out worse than Hoppe to Mallorca. He has had 127 minutes in 4 appearances in LaLiga. I was very optimistic about this transfer when it happened, but clearly I was misguided. There have been reports of MLS interest, which I think would be fine, though I think he can play at a higher level. The most important thing for Matthew is to go somewhere and play and build his confidence back.

                  ST, Folarin Balogun, Arsenal FC

                  Folarin Balogun is a high priority dual-nat that is currently focused on England, but Gregg is in communication and will continue to leave the door open. Flo received his extended opportunity with a senior team during his loan to Middlesbrough. It was up and down but he showed flashes of his potential. He’ll be heading back to Arsenal this summer and he will most likely look for a new loan deal. There are rumors that Fulham is interested on a loan with an option to buy. 


                  RB, Reggie Cannon, Boavista FC

                  Reggie lost his right-back job last season and was moved to right center-back in Boavista’s back three formation. This role is better suited for his skillset right now, but it’s not helping him develop his offensive game. Boavista has also been in financial crisis for a few years. I am not sure if there is a strong market for Reggie, but I do think a move could help him develop a bit more. As of right now, his offensive limitations are limiting what he can bring to the USMNT. 

                  Players who have been rumored to be on the move that I think should stay put

                  RB, Sergino Dest, FC Barecelona

                  Xavi loves him. Xavi doesn’t rate him. Xavi rates him. Xavi wants to sell him. I don’t know what the hell is going on in Barcelona, but what we do know is Serg loves being a Barca player and he is going to fight like hell to be an important player there. It has been recently reported that Dani Alves will not return to Barca, but it’s possible that they are still looking to acquire Cesar AzpilicuetaI — thought I don’t think he would be tough for Dest to fend off for playing time. I think he should stay and continue to fight. 

                  RB, Shaq Moore, Tenerife 

                  Shaq Moore is the only American that hasn’t finished his European season. He has one more match to try and help Tenerife get promoted to LaLiga. They play at home in the second leg of the promotion final after a 0-0 draw on the road. MLS clubs tried to acquire Shaq during the Winter transfer window, with the most publicized club being Nashville. Those reports have persisted and it sounds likely that Shaq will be heading to the MLS no matter what happens in the promotion match. I do wonder if Tenerife and Shaq’s position would change if they win and get the promotion to LaLiga. Do they feel Shaq could help at that level? Shaq may never get another chance to test himself at that level. We’ve seen how tough it is as a bottom level club in a top competition. I don’t feel strongly either way. I do think Shaq is still in the mix for a World Cup spot after underwhelming performances in the June window by Reggie Cannon, DeAndre Yedlin and Joe Scally, so a summer transfer to the MLS where he can show what he can do might be the best move for him. 

                  DM, Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig

                  Tyler’s playing time took a significant dip when Tedesco took over midseason and pivoted to a more composed, possession based system. Many think Tyler should move on where he is more likely to be an every day starter. I agree, but his place on the USMNT is not in question, so I’d prefer he stayed at Leipzig, try to boost his stock at the World Cup, and then move in the winter. It’s also not the worst thing that Leipzig need him to be better in ball progression to get more time, that is where he needs to develop. As of now, Tyler has been linked to Leeds United and Sevilla. I really like the Sevilla option. 

                  CM, Weston McKennie, Juventus FC

                  Juventus is about to sign Paul Pogba, does that mean Weston is on his way out? Not necessarily, though there has been off and on reported interest from Champions League bound, Tottenham. Wes was in the midst of the season of his career before his leg injury. I’d like to see Wes stay with Juventus and play alongside Pogba. That midfield would be fun as hell and I trust Wes to fight and win minutes no matter who is there. 

                  WING, Christian Pulisic, Chelsea FC

                  I do not enjoy Chelsea fans as much as the next guy or gal, but they are a top club and I do not prioritize Pulisic being an every match starter. I prefer the load management he gets at a super club like Chelsea. Would I be upset if he want to say, Liverpool, absolutely not. Anytime you can play for a manager like Klopp, you do it, but if Pulisic does stay at Chelsea through to the winter window, I would be fine with it. 

                  WING, Konrad de la Fuente, Olympique Marseille

                  Konrad has immense talent, but does Konrad have the drive to be great? I have no idea, but he had an up and down first season as a consistent senior player and there were reports of a lack of work ethic and desire. Marseille will be in the Champions League next year and I would prefer Konrad work his tail off to get back in the rotation at the club that gave him his first big chance. 

                  ST, Haji Wright, Antalyaspor

                  Haji’s successful loan ends with Antalyaspor at the end of June at which point he will return to SönderjyskE, but that is almost certainly temporary. Antalyaspor will certainly be interested in retaining Haji’s services on a permanent move, but there will likely be competition. It’s been reported that one of the biggest clubs in Turkey, Galatasaray, has interest and will likely drive the price up. I would love to see Haji return to Antalyaspor and build off of a career year with one of the more promising young managers in Europe, Nuri Sahin. 


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