Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
While the U.S. Men’s National Team trains in southern California ahead of a friendly match, some of the team’s future stars are heading to the Canary Islands.
Ahead of their debut at the world-renowned Copa Del Atlantico, U.S. Under-18 head coach Javier Perez selected an 18-man squad for the trip. After landing in Las Palmes, Spain on Thursday, the U.S. U-18s will face Spain (Feb. 4), Argentina (Feb. 5), and the Canary Islands (Feb. 7) in the tournament’s 40th edition.
The squad Perez selected is a mix of players born in 1996 and 1997, making the U.S. one of the younger teams in the tournament. Perez called in two players who are already on professional contracts, 16-year-old Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown and 17-year-old Fulham midfielder Emerson Hyndman. Perez also named Eintracht Braunschweig U-23 and Florida native Omar Castro to his first U.S. squad.
Fourteen of the 18 players on the roster played with the U.S. last October at the Limoges tournament in France, which saw the U.S. finish second to the host nation. Spain have won each of the last seven editions of the Copa Del Atlantico. Mexico finished second in 2013.
Here’s a closer look at the U.S. U-18 roster for the Copa Del Atlantico:
U.S. UNDER-18 ROSTER FOR COPA DEL ATLANTICO
GOALKEEPERS (2): Christian Herrera (Real Salt Lake AZ; Las Cruces, N.M.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (5): Chase Gasper (Bethesda-Olney; Alexandria, Va.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Unattached; Oviedo, Fla.), Tyler Turner (Unattached; Meriden, Conn.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Omar Castro (Eintracht Braunschweig; Plant City, Fla.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC; Plano, Texas), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake AZ; Casa Grande, Ariz.), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio), Jackson Yueill (Minnesota Thunder; Bloomington, Minn.)
FORWARDS (5): Andrija Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG; Muskego, Wis.), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea SC; Garland, Texas), Dembakwi Yomba (Concorde Fire; Lithona, Ga.)
What do you think of this squad? Do you like their chances against Spain? Which players do you expect to be scouted at this tournament?
Share your thoughts below.