While FIFA may have announced that the 2021 edition of the Under-17 World Cup won’t take place, the United States still have a decent pool of talent that they would’ve drawn from.
A handful of players born in 2004 and 2005 that would’ve been eligible for next year’s competition have already signed pro contracts. Gabe Slonina, Christopher Brady (Chicago Fire), Antonio Leone, Erik Duenas and Christian Torres (LAFC) have all inked deals in Major League Soccer. Evan Rotundo joined Schalke earlier this year after he turned 16. Brandan Craig signed a Homegrown contract with the Philadelphia Union and will officially be added to the MLS roster at the start of 2021. Efrain Morales inked a deal with Atlanta United. Outside of MLS, Francis Jacobs joined Orange County SC in the USL Championship as a 14-year-old back in 2019, while Kobi Henry also signed with the club, moving from Inter Miami.
So who were some of the other names that could’ve stepped up and played at a tournament in 2021? Here is a rundown of some of the players that would have had a chance to be involved.
CB: Armando Avila (LAFC), Nati Clarke (Sporting KC), Juan Carlos Cortez (New York Red Bulls), Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union), Kobi Henry (Orange County SC), Samuel Jones (Philadelphia Union), Antonio Leone (LAFC), Angel Martinez (Seattle Sounders), Efrain Morales (Atlanta United), Thomas Williams (Orlando City)
Juan Alvarez (Seattle Sounders), Eric Ayala (Tijuana), Reed Baker-Whiting (Seattle Sounders), Zach Booth (Leicester City), Juan Castilla (Houston Dynamo), Cooper Flax (New York City FC), Diego Hernandez (FC Dallas), Kenan Hot (New York Red Bulls), Francis Jacobs (Orange County SC), Rafael Jauregui (Sacramento Republic), Jordan Jones (FC Dallas), Brendan Lambe (Atlanta United), Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split), Brooklyn Raines (Barca Academy), Allan Rodriguez (Chicago Fire), Evan Rotundo (Schalke), Leo Torres (San Antonio FC), Victor Valdez (LA Galaxy), Aethan Yohannes (AZ Alkmaar)
Austin Brummett (Seattle Sounders FC), Osvaldo Cisneros (Sporting KC), Italo Jenkins (Atlanta United), Serge Ngoma (New York Red Bulls), Federico Oliva (Atletico Madrid), Malick Sanogo (Union Berlin), Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union), Christopher Thaggard (Charlotte FC), Christian Torres (LAFC), Dantouma Toure (New York Red Bulls), Felipe Valencia (Inter Miami CF), Darren Yapi (Colorado Rapids)
For fun, here's a look at what the possible starting XI could've looked like: