Two Americans are joined by one Premier League player and an MLS starlet on The Guardian’s “Next Generation 2021” list, sprinkled among better-known names like Barcelona’s Gavi and Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko.
The list highlights 60 players born in 2014 and includes Manchester City’s Romeo Lavia (Belgium) and Toronto FC’s Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty (Canada) as well USMNT prospects Evan Rotundo of Schalke and Malick Sanogo of Union Berlin.
Mexico’s Jesus Hernandez of Queretaro is another CONCACAF name on the list.
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Center forward Sanogo, 17, was born in New York City but has been with Union since his youth days. His father coaches in the Union academy, having played at Hoffenheim and Saint-Etienne amongst other stops. The younger Sanogo has two goals and an assist in six matches of U19 Bundesliga play.
California-born Rotundo, 17, signed for Schalke from the San Diego Surf youth soccer club. He made his U-17 Bundesliga debut last year and has been promoted to the U-19s this season, where he’s listed as an attacking midfielder.
Marshall-Rutty has already made six senior appearances for TFC and has an assist to his name. He played seven times for TFC II in USL League One.
Lavia is a defensive midfielder who turns 18 in January and has twice made the bench for Premier League matches, making his senior debut in September’s 6-1 defeat of Wycombe in the League Cup’s third round.
The Guardian’s 2015 list of 17-18 year olds included Matheus Pereira, Dayot Upamecano, Manuel Locatelli, Fede Valverde, Dani Olmo, and Christian Pulisic, while 2016 honored Kai Havertz, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Matthijs de Ligt, and Alexander Isak.
Previous honored Americans include (current club in parenthesis):
- 2015: Pulisic (Chelsea)
- 2016: Nick Taitague (retired)
- 2017: Timothy Weah (Lille) and Andrew Carleton (Jicaral Sercoba)
- 2018: Konrad de la Fuente (Marseille)
- 2019: Gianluca Busio (Venezia) and Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
- 2020: Moses Nyeman (DC United)