Pro Prospects: UEFA Youth League kicks off

Highlights of U.S. youth international Konrad de la Fuente in action for FC Barcelona in the UEFA Youth League.
by Travis Clark
September 19, 2018

The number of Americans is not only increased in the UEFA Champions League proper during the 2018-19 season.

There’s a handful of young prospects also set to feature in the UEFA Youth League, the Under-19 competition of sides that are in the main part of the group draw.

With Ajax, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Schalke all competing in the youth competition, Sergino Dest, Christopher Richards, Justin Butler, Konrad de la Fuente and Zyen Jones can get minutes.

De la Fuente, currently with Barcelona’s Juvenil A side that will play in this competition, started and played 90 minutes in Barcelona’s 2-1 win against PSV. It was a mixed bag for de la Fuente, who put the ball in his own net for PSV’s tally, before setting up Barcelona’s winning goal.

Under-17 World Cup veteran Sergino Dest, still on the books at Ajax, looks to be playing more of an attacking role this season for the Dutch power. He came on as a substitute in the 66th minute in a route against AEK Athens, scoring a goal almost immediately in a 6-0 win.

German sides Schalke and Bayern Munich began their respective campaigns in the youth league with losses against Portuguese competition. Zyen Jones started and played 55 minutes for Schalke’s U19s, which lost 3-0 against Porto on Tuesday. In Wednesday morning’s opening game, FC Dallas homegrown signing went the distance for Bayern Munich Under-19s in a 3-0 loss to Benfica. Also seeing the field was German-American Justin Butler, who came into the match in the 80th minute. U.S. goalkeeper C.J. dos Santos, who recently signed a new deal with the club through 2023, was on the bench.

Rounding out young American prospects in the UEFA Youth League, former PDA standout Gennaro Nigro was on the bench for Roma in their matchup against Real Madrid. He played the final 11 minutes of a 3-1 loss to the Spanish giants.

Lederman gets first goal in Belgium

Swapping Barcelona for KAA Gent earlier in the year, Ben Lederman tallied a goal for the Belgian club’s Under-21s earlier this week.

Since moving to Belgium, Lederman’s featured mostly for the team’s reserve and youth sides as he looks to make a case for first team minutes.

Soto’s hot start continues

So far, life in the U19 Bundesliga suits Sebastian Soto just fine.

The striker, who moved to Hannover earlier in the summer, scored two more goals over the weekend, leading Hannover Under-19s to a 2-1 win against Madeberg. The brace came a week after Soto scored twice for the U.S. Under-20s at the U20 MNT Invitational on September 7. Through the first month of his U19 career, Soto has six goals for Hannover.

Blaine Ferri to Germany?

Another U.S. Under-17 World Cup veteran is on the way to Germany.

Solar SC midfielder Blaine Ferri is listed as part of the Greuther Furth Under-19 squad, despite the fact that he doesn’t turn 18 under September 29, in a bit more than 10 days.

It’s unclear if Ferri has a European passport that allows him to move, although it’s another promising sign to see an up-and-coming American player on the move to Germany.

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