Two young American players will be flying the flag in La Liga next season at two of the most respected academies in Spain.
For the upcoming season 13-year-old Noah Leeds from New York City and 12-year-old Colby Kraynak from Florida will both be playing overseas for Sevilla and Espanyol respectively.
The number of Americans playing in youth academies across Europe is fairly low, however the trend seems to be changing over the past few months. Leeds and Kraynak are at the forefront of it as their families have moved to Spain in order to help make their dreams a reality.
In this report from Soccer Nation, they track the story of Noah Leeds as his family flew to Sevilla with him and after a trial was set up (following an initial rejection) then he was invited back to become a part of Sevilla’s academy. Leeds formerly played for the New York Red Bulls academy and the midfielder seems to have a bright future with the reigning Europa League champions.
Elsewhere, TopDrawerSoccer has the story on Kraynak signing for Barcelona-based Espanyol on a one-year deal. The 12-year-old was previously in line to sign with FC Barcelona but the transfer ban imposed on Barca earlier this year put a stop to Kraynak’s move to the famed La Masia academy. The talented Floridian player has trained with Bayer Leverkusen and Chicago Fire in the past and is certainly one to keep an eye on for the future.
So, is this trend of young American players swapping youth soccer in the U.S. for academies in Europe set to become more popular in the coming months and years?
Even thought it’s too early to thinking about these players as U.S. national prospects, surely it can’t harm the future of soccer in America. Right?