Mukwelle Akale’s courtship with Spain’s Villarreal began humbly enough. The Minnesotan spent part of September 2014 on trial, impressed the club with his bevy of skills and then made the move official once he turned 18 the next January.
The diminutive attacking mighty mite became, on the spot, one of the select handful of U.S. YNT contributors in a La Liga development system. And he still is.
The last year and a half have been good to the fast improving Akale, 19, who’s risen up from the Juvenil A ranks to become a full-fledged member of the Villarreal C side playing in the Spanish Tercera this season. In the meantime, the U.S. U20 spent the preseason with the Villarreal first team, and Sunday was a relatively monumental day in that regard.