Josh Sargent’s 18th birthday is one he’ll never forget.
The young American phenom was finally able to sign his first professional contract on Tuesday after turning 18-years old, passing the FIFA threshold for when a foreigner can sign a pro contract. Sargent has been training with Werder Bremen’s youth teams for the last few months and has even trained with the first team and featured for the Werder Bremen U23s.
“We’ve gone over all the formalities and Josh signed his professional contract with us earlier,” Bremen sporting director Frank Baumann said on Tuesday afternoon. “Again, we’re delighted he decided to join us. He’s settled in brilliantly since the turn of the year.”
We didn’t realize you could acronymize it to BASS, or else we would’ve done it sooner. Today’s question: Excluding Christian Pulisic, who’s no longer a prospect despite being just 19, who is the most exciting USMNT prospect.
Exciting performances in the U-20 and U-17 World Cups have given United States men’s national team fans plenty of hope for the future.
The most-mentioned write-in, collecting across all attempting spellings, was injured Arsenal playmaker Gedion Zelalem.
As for the serious contenders, Jonathan Gonzalez, Andrew Carleton Tyler Adams, and Lynden Gooch lagged behind this pack of four:
Cameron Carter-Vickers — 14 percent — He had a howling back pass in Sheffield United’s 5-4 loss to Fulham on Wednesday, but the on-loan Spurs 19-year-old center back is playing every minute for a club very much in the mix for Premier League promotion.
Weston McKennie — 18 percent — Another 19-year-old, McKennie was one of the Men of the Match as Schalke went second in the Bundesliga this weekend. He’s been a regular starter when healthy, and played advanced, central, and set back in Schalke’s midfield. Next up: a Revierderby meeting with Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund.
Josh Sargent — 21 percent —Off to Werder Bremen when he turns 18 in late February, Sargent has four goals in five matches for the U.S. U-20s, and 14 in 29 for the U-17s. That includes four goals and two assists in his last three outings, against Paraguay, England, and Hungary.
Tim Weah — 24 percent — The son of African legend George Weah, Tim turns 18 two days after Sargent. Unlike his countryman, Weah has been in Europe for some time. The Paris Saint-Germain prospect is slated to get his First Team bow some time soon, having scored four goals and added an assist for PSG in the UEFA Youth League.
Captain Josh Sargent scored the lone United States goal at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, pulling the Baby Yanks within two goals before Liverpool man Rhian Brewster completed his hat trick with a stoppage time penalty.
Here’s Sargent’s goal:
Morgan Gibbs-White of Wolverhampton scored England’s other goal.
Ajax defender Sergio Dest took a red card in that added time, ensuing the U.S. would finish its World Cup with 10 men.
The U.S. took 20 of the matches 39 shot attempts, but England put 12 on target compared to the Americans’ four.
Everything went according to plan on Friday for John Hackworth and his U.S. Under-17 Men’s National team, and now the Americans sit in a strong position heading into their next two group-stage matches.
The U.S. U-17s picked up a 1-0 opening day victory over host nation India, giving the Baby Yanks a place at the top of Group A for the time being.
Josh Sargent — who recently committed to play for Werder Bremen starting in 2018 — gave the U.S. its opener in the 30th minute after the dangerous attacker was brought down inside the penalty area just moments sooner.
The hosts mounted some pressure towards the end of the opening stanza through Aniket Jadhav, but both of his chances in the final minutes of the first half fell short.
Second-half finishes from Chris Durkin and Andrew Carleton sealed the game for the Americans, who currently sit atop Group A on three points and +3 goal differential.
Next up for the U.S. will be Ghana on October 9 before closing out group play three days later against Colombia.
Each age group has a top scorer or playmaker, but this season is exceptional. Sure we saw Christian Pulisic in 2015 and Paul Arriola in 2011, but the 2017 U.S. roster is heavy on players who should dot professional score sheets for a long, long time (and at a high level).
In UEFA Youth League play, Weah has four goals in six appearances. A hat trick came against Ludogorets Razgrad. Dad George won Serie A with AC Milan, Ligue 1 won with PSG, and was thrice the African Footballer of the Year so, yeah, pedigree.
Chris Durkin, midfielder, DC United
Playing time has come on-and-off for the Richmond Kickers of the USL, but the center mid has 990 league minutes this season and showed versatility by starting the league opener at left back.
Ayo Akinola, forward, Toronto FC
The Canadian-born 17-year-old got a string of performances for TFC2 in the USL, bagging a brace against Harrisburg City in mid-July.
Carlos “CJ” dos Santos, goalkeeper, Benfica
The former Philadelphia Union Academy backstop is with Benfica’s U-19s and just turned 17 in August.
Jaylin Lindsey, defender, Sporting KC
There are those who believe the physical center back is further along at this stage in his career than fellow SKC prospect Erik Palmer-Brown. He’s made two appearances for Swope Park Rangers in USL.
Andrew Carleton, forward, Atlanta United
The left winger is widely considered to be a star in MLS soon, and posted an assist for Atlanta in its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup loss to Miami FC.
Josh Sargent, forward, Werder Bremen
The lone member of the U.S. roster to have already featured — and starred, with four goals — in a U-20 World Cup, Sargent heads to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen soon after the tournament. See above for his match-winner against Senegal.