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Next wave of players heading to Europe

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: July 13, 2020

Last week San Diego Surf’s Evan Rotundo signed with Schalke 04 (Germany) in the latest move of a top U.S. prospect joining a Bundesliga academy in hopes of fast tracking to the professional game. 

Rotundo, a key player for the U.S. Youth National Teams, gets the early arrival (at 16 years old) to Europe thanks to a French passport via his mother. He is following in the footsteps of Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna who also joined Borussia Dortmund before they turned 18 years old. 

MLS academies have wised up to this exodus at a younger age and now many of the top 16 year old players are signing professional contracts with their local clubs. Juan Castilla (Houston Dynamo), Antonio Leone (LAFC), Erik Duenas (LAFC), Christopher Brady (Chicago Fire), and Christian Torres (LAFC) are some of the recent players born in 2004 to sign Homegrown contracts in 2020. 

Rotundo will not be the last 2004 to sign in Europe though. The appeal of playing at the highest level in the game in your teenage years is too enticing of an offer to pass out. The 2004 group will not be as big as previous birth years though as travel restrictions and the COVID-19 outbreak have stopped many from training with European academies this summer. 

Still TopDrawerSoccer takes a look at some other players who might be the next to make the jump to Europe. 

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