Players poised for a U.S. YNT breakout

Players poised for a U.S. YNT breakout
by Will Parchman
January 28, 2016

On Tuesday, Brad Friedel released his anticipated first U19 MNT camp roster since taking control of the new age group.

There were a handful of notable names on the list, several of whom made the roster for the U17 World Cup not three months ago. But Friedel’s camp roster was particularly notable because of the new names it featured. Friedel called in a number of players new to the cycle in hopes of expanding the pool. For Friedel, expanding the scope of the players he has at his disposal is part of his mandate.

I would love to have 70 or 80 players at a 1998 birth year I can choose from,” Friedel told earlier this month. “If I can get it up to 200, even better.”

In that sense, maybe the most interesting name is one that’s never been in a YNT camp before: Crossfire forward Simon Lekressner.

Lekressner was a breakout hit in the Development Academy during the 2014-15 season. Playing for the Seattle area Crossfire U16s at the time, Lekressner finished second in the country in goals with 31, and his goals per game rate of 1.07 was tops in the league for U16 players. But playing as he did for Crossfire in the relative shelter provided by clubs without direct MLS ties, Lekressner had never truly been on the U.S. Soccer radar.

That changed this week.

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