MLS Preseason Camps: Academy players

MLS Preseason Camps: Academy players
by J.R. Eskilson
March 9, 2021

The MLS preseason is underway with the teams preparing for the 2021 campaign. A number of teams have already added Academy players to the first team roster via a Homegrown contract with MLS, but there are some other teams using this preseason as a chance to see how the academy players fare against the professionals over the next few weeks. 

Some of the players have already impressed their first team coaching staff. Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer spoke glowingly of defender Cody Baker after the first few training sessions. On the opposite coast, Cooper Flax is back with the NYCFC for preseason for the second consecutive season. Flax, a Wake Forest commit, is one of six NYCFC academy players with the first team during preseason. 

Below is a list of the academy players training with their first team during the preseason. The list will be updated when more rosters are released, and players will be taken off the list when they sign their first professional contracts prior to the season. 


Name Club Birthdate Position
Cullen Wilkerson Colorado Rapids 9/7/2004 M
Elton Chifamba Crew SC 4/19/2003 M
Noah Hall Crew SC 1/12/2003 D
Anthony Samways Crew SC 2002 D
TJ Presthus Crew SC 2/3/2003 D
Sam Sarver Crew SC 2003 F
Levi Stephens Crew SC 2004 D
Antonio Carrera FC Dallas 3/15/2004 GK
Nighte Pickering FC Dallas 1/26/2005 F
Joyner Castillo Houston Dynamo 1/21/2003 F
Jathan Juarez Houston Dynamo 12/24/2002 M
Kieran Sargeant Houston Dynamo 5/15/2003 M
Emmanuel Smalios Houston Dynamo 9/18/2002 GK
Logan Erb Houston Dynamo 1/7/2004 GK
Cooper Flax NYCFC 1/21/2004 M
Diego Rossi NYCFC 5/19/2005 RB
Dren Dobruna NYCFC 7/29/2005 LB
Mateo Ponce Ocampo NYCFC 3/13/2005 M
Gianluca Armellino NYCFC 3/2/2005 F
Mark Cajamarca NYCFC 2/6/2006 M
Takashi Sasaki  Seattle Sounders 6/2/2004 D
Cody Baker Seattle Sounders 1/7/2004 D
Juan Alvarez Seattle Sounders 8/30/2004 M
Kayden Pierre Sporting KC 2/16/2003 D
Gavin Krenecki Sporting KC 3/18/2003 GK
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