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Young Americans in Europe: Weekend Rewind

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: February 5, 2019

Welcome to a new weekly feature, tracking young Americans playing for Academy teams in Europe. Each week, we will provide a roundup of minutes played and performances from U.S. youth national team players around the continent competing in youth sides. Once players move to the first team, they will no longer be tracked, as other outlets provide those rundowns.

Two Americans made their competitive debut over the weekend in the A-Junioren Bundesliga.

Midfielder Alex Mendez, who joined SC Freiburg prior to his star turn at the Under-20 Concacaf Championship, entered as a 76th minute substitute for the Bundesliga side’s U19 team. Freiburg topped Karlsruher on the day by a 3-1 score. Also in action for the opposing side was Ian Hoffmann, who played 10 mintues from the bench.

Another young American that moved to a German club at the end of 2018 was defender Michael Edwards. After a solid showing during winter break friendlies, Edwards made his competitive bow for Wolfsburg’s Under-19s. The center back played the full shift, going 90 minutes in a 2-0 win against RB Leipzig.

The goals continued to flow for Sebastian Soto. His first-team training stint during the winter break hasn’t yielded a breakthrough at Hannover, although he scored the fourth goal for the U19 team and had an assist in a 4-1 victory against TSV Havelse. Hannover teammate and fellow U.S. youth international Chris Gloster got a 45-minute shift in for Hannover II in a friendly.

While Schalke’s reserve side hasn’t resumed competitive competitions, the U19s were in action against FC Koln. Zyen Jones came off the bench for Schalke at half time in a 3-2 loss, playing 45 minutes.

U.S. Under-20 MNT center back Christopher Richards has been a fixture in the Under-19 team ever since joining Bayern Munich on loan last year. Now that his move is permanent, Richards continued in his role for the Bavarian giant’s youth team. Richards logged 90 minutes in his side’s return to competitive action, a 1-1 draw against Ingolstadt. Also getting the starting nod were fellow Americans Justin Butler (66 minutes) and Malik Tillman (79 minutes).

Juvenil A losses for Watts, de la Fuente

Both Konrad de la Fuente and Akil Watts were on the losing side of action in Spain, as their Juvenil A seasons continued. De la Fuenete earned a starting nod for Barcelona as they lost by a 2-1 score against Cornellà.

Watts, looking to climb the ladder at Real Mallorca, started and played the full 90 minutes in the Juvenil A side.

Dest returns to Ajax U19, Pynadath starts at U17 level

Suspended from playing for Jong Ajax, where he’s emerged as a regular starter over the past month or so, Sergino Dest suited up for the Ajax Under-19s over the weekend. Dest and the U19s triumphed by a 5-3 score.

The other prominent American youth international to see minutes for an Ajax Academy team was Joshua Pynadath. The 2002 winger started in a 1-1 draw against FC Utrecht.

PSV signee Richie Ledezma continues to work his way back for the Eredivisie club, and he should be ready to see minutes at the U19 level before getting a look with Jong PSV at some point this season.

Vassilev, Villa out of Youth FA Cup

A regular in the Aston Villa Under-18s, Indiana Vassilev and his club side came up short from a trip to the south coast of England. Villa lost by a 2-0 score to Bournemouth FC, knocking Vassilev and the Championship side from the competition. On Monday in Villa's U23 match, Vassilev earned his first start at that age group.

Any players we missed? Get in touch and let us know.

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