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Roster announced for 2018 Homegrown game

Published: July 12, 2018
Major League Soccer’s talented roster is set for the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer®, as players from the youth national teams of the United States, Mexico and Canada will represent the league in the annual showcase. The team, to be coached by Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan, features some of the league’s most accomplished young stars who will take on Tigres UANL’s Under-20 Team in the fifth annual MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday, July 31 at 8 p.m. ET at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground (UDN / Twitter.com).
The Homegrown Team is highlighted by two Atlanta United players who will be playing in front of their hometown fans in 18-year-old Andrew Carleton and 19-year-old Lagos Kunga. Carleton is one of four players on the Homegrown Game roster who represented the United States at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, while Kunga is one of four who represented the U.S. at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The two players made history helping both the U.S. U-17 and U.S. U-20 National Teams reach the quarterfinals of their respective tournaments, as the U.S. became one of only two nations to advance to that stage of both tournaments.
Among the U.S. 2017 U-17 World Cup participants joining Carleton on the Homegrown roster are midfielder Chris Durkin (D.C. United) and defenders Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City) and James Sands (New York City FC). A trio of Kunga’s U.S. 2017 U-20 World Cup teammates on the Homegrown squad include goalkeeper James Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), midfielder Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake) and defender Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union). With Trusty, the Union’s four Homegrown selections match the MLS record for the most players from one club in Homegrown Game history.   
Representing the Canadian contingent are Canada National Team goalkeeper Sean Melvin (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and Canada U-20 midfielder Liam Fraser (Toronto FC).
LA Galaxy 16-year-old midfielder Efrain Alvarez could face some familiar faces in Tigres UANL’s U-20 side, having played with Mexico’s U-15 and U-17 national teams. Tigres, the defending Liga MX U-20 champions, features a roster with players who have represented Mexico at numerous youth national team stages, as well as the reserves and the first team side that has captured the Liga MX title in three out of the previous six tournaments. The Tigres U-20 traveling roster will be named at a later date.
Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan will serve as the head coach for the Homegrown Team against Tigres. Annan, who helped build Atlanta’s academy from the ground up and brings over 20 years of youth development experience to the match, is one of only six coaches to hold licenses from the U.S. Soccer Academy Director’s Course and the Elite Formation Coaching License course (EFCL).
One of the many highly anticipated events during the week of events surrounding 2018 MLS All-Star Atlanta, the MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® provides an annual platform in which to showcase MLS’ burgeoning young talent and demonstrate the growth of the League’s youth development system. MLS academies continue to attract and cultivate top-flight prospects and have now produced over 170 Homegrown Players who have signed professional contracts with MLS clubs. Vital to the long-term success of their clubs, Homegrown Players now serve more important and visible roles than ever, with academy products logging a record number of goals, assists, minutes and games played in 2017. Of note, the 94 assists compiled by Homegrown Players in 2017 is more than double the total compared to 2016. 
2018 MLS Homegrown Team Roster
Goalkeepers: James Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Melvin (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Defenders: Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union), James Sands (New York City FC), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)
Midfielders: Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy), Chris Durkin (D.C. United), Anthony Fontana (Philadelphia Union), Liam Fraser (Toronto FC), Lagos Kunga (Atlanta United), Wan Kuzain (Sporting Kansas City), Cameron Lindley (Orlando City SC), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake)
Forwards: Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United), Benjamin Mines (New York Red Bulls)
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