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11 teenagers the US men’s national teams need to keep an eye on


When attention turns to the US men’s national team each international break, many young American players abroad get forgotten. But some of them are making interesting progress, as well as showing great personality.

Adding to Gedion Zelalem, Emerson Hyndman, DeAndre Yedlin and others, here is a starting XI of under-19 players that could add to the youth sections of men’s national team.

Benjamin Machini

GK – Benjamin Machini: Nicknamed “Benji,” Mallorca B’s backup goalkeeper is already familiar with Spain, having played the last season at CE Constancia in lower leagues. Holding both Swedish and American nationalities, Benjamin could become an interesting goalkeeper, considering he is one of the only Yankees in Spain. Definitely one to watch.

LB – Niko Hämäläinen: Of Finnish descent, Niko is a strong fullback, regularly starting for Finland’s U21s and a rotation defender for Queens Park Rangers. With only two appearances — a few weeks ago on loan to League Two’s Dagenham & Redbridge as well as an appearance for the club in League Cup against Charlton — the youngster has a lot to prove, but he still has lots of time to improve and get a spot in QPR’s starting XI.

niall mason

CB – Niall Mason: Having grown in the academies of continental giants such as Real Madrid and Al Sadd, then for English sides Blackburn Rovers and more recently Southampton, Mason (left, above) is is already Aston Villa’s under-21 starting center back despite being only 18 years old. Capable of playing on the right side of the defense but also as a defensive midfielder, the English-born defender has played six times already for Villa in the under-21 Premier League. He has followed a strong curriculum that could eventually lead him to a spot in the American youth teams.

ken gipson

CB – Ken Gipson: It seems like young players of American descent are developing quite fast in Germany lately, especially this one. Gipson, a former German under-16 international and Stuttgart player, earned a move at Leipzig earlier this year. Being one of the key players in the reserve team, the young man has spent the last two 2.Bundesliga match days on the starting lineup of Ralf Rangnick’s Red Bulls.

RB – Corey Anton: At the age of 16, Corey Lee stands 6-foot-1 and is a rotation player for Kaiserslautern’s U17 team. Having made his way through the FCK academy for three years, the right back is celebrating his fourth season at Kaiserslautern in the greatest of ways, scoring twice in nine games. Though he is averaging less than 45 minutes per game, both of his goals were scored earlier this week (against Freiburg, Nov. 14th) in only 25 minutes.

LM – Panagiotis Armenakas: Australia. Greece. United States. These three countries were playing at the last World Cup, and this young 19-year-old can claim all three of these nationalities. Udinese’s winger has played four times for the club’s Primavera squad, scoring once against Milan’s youth. Missing three games due to international commitment with Australia’s under-18s and being a former Greece’s under-17 winger, Panagiotis has yet not made his choice on the country he will defend. Yankee? Aussie? Gladiator?

DM – Justin Toshiki Kinjo: The Japanese-American defensive midfielder has already played nearly 1200 minutes for TSV Munchen’s reserve teams in all competitions. Justin has been starting at the defensive midfielder’s spot for the last six competitive games and has increasingly shown great character and determination on the pitch. Will his hard work lead to an eventual appearance for the first team?

timothy tillman

AM – Timothy Tillman: Formerly one of Greuther’s Furth most promising youngsters, the 16-year old playmaker (above, right) moved to Bayern’s youth academy in late August for €500,000. He has been worth the money, providing three goals and three assists for the Bavarians’ U17 side. Starring in 11 games and getting regular call-ups for Germany’s under-17 team, Timothy is definitely one of the most interesting wonderkids eligible to play for the US.

RM – Devante Parker: At 19 years old, the skillful and talented right winger born in Wiesbaden, Germany, has made his way through the youth academy of FSV Mainz. Now one of the biggest prospects of the team and the strong man of the reserves (14 games, two goals and two assists) playing in third tier, the youngster has earned himself a call-up with Germany’s under-19 squad as well as a small minute against Hoffenheim in September. Hopefully there will be more to come.

ST – Jordan Siebatcheu: Born in Washington 19 years ago, Jordan has been one of the nicest surprises for Reims this year, netting three goals and delivering two assists in less than 400 minutes, mostly spent coming off the bench. With a golden generation coming for France and fewer spots available on the Bleuets’ youth national teams, Jordan might get himself a call-up on the next US 23-player roster, if he confirms his spot on Reims starting lineup.

ST – Dylan Alexis Romney: On Aug. 4, Inter confirmed the loan of the French-American youngster to Savona FBC in Italian third tier. But this loan has not the best of experiences, producing only three minutes played in two appearances for a side that is now 18th in Lega Pro. Hopes of an eventual promotion are almost dead, but Dylan still needs to impress the coach. He has been on the bench for all of the games (except matchday four), and if he eventually grabs the chance he is offered, the Yanks might have a new jewel in their player pool.


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  1. Chris

    October 5, 2016 at 11:59 am

    In all honesty, if you make the conscious decision to represent a nation and have gained int’l clearance and proper documents then give it a go. As supporters and fans of football who are we to decide where a player should ply his/her trade.

  2. Kei

    December 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Considering that Justin Toshiki Kinjo was born and raised in Japan (as was his brother), don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell he’ll ever turn out for the US.

    Which is alright with me, being a Japan supporter.

  3. lorberg

    November 28, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    none of these guys are really americans. only in the technical sense. born in the u.s., but have lived abroad their entire lives. that’s why they play soccer. if they’d grown up in the u.s., they’d be playing real sports like football. or hockey. or basketball. or baseball. not soccer. and that, once again, is more proof that soccer doesn’t matter in the u.s., and never will.

    also, soccer is boring and it sucks. it’s for weak losers.

    • USCSIG

      January 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      The fact that you refered to baseball as a real sport destroys your argument. It was a sport designed for girls. Congrats on losing your man card.

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