Years ago, this article would have written itself. Just finding five teenagers getting real minutes for MLS first teams would have been a challenge.
Fortunately for the player development wonks, #PlayYourKids aficionados and academy hopefuls, we’re spoiled for choice in 2019. Not only are teenagers playing more than ever before, they’re making a big-time impact on both MLS and USL and opening eyes this week at the Generation adidas Cup in Frisco.
Below are the five teenagers in Major League Soccer who I’m most excited about, a list that’s constantly subject to the changing winds of form, coach selection, circumstance and personal preference. It’s not most talented or the most accomplished. It’s my list, for today at least. It doesn’t have to be yours. If you feel the need to share, I spend too much time on Twitter.
The best part about this exercise is that there are plenty more players making a more-than-credible case to be included on a list like this. Such as, but certainly not limited to: Brenden Aaronson (PHI), Ayo Akinola (TOR), George Bello (ATL), Cole Bassett (COL), Julian Araujo (LA), Jesus Ferreira (DAL) and James Sands (NYC).
And those are just a few — not even close to all! — of the teenage homegrowns signed to MLS deals, not to mention youth internationals like Marcos Lopez (SJ), Mathias Jorgensen (RBNY) and Cristian Casseres Jr. (NY).
Imagine players like that left out five years ago, a decade ago. You can’t. That’s progress, folks.