Haaland wins Golden Boy Award; USMNT’s Dest, 2 Canadians make list


Erling Haaland has won the 2020 Golden Boy Award.

The Golden Boy Award is awarded to the top U-21 player registered to a top division club in Europe, and has been previous won by Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and others (full list at bottom of post).

USMNT back Sergino Dest finished 13th in the voting, four ahead of Canada’s Jonathan David. Fellow Canadian star Alphonso Davies was third.

American youngster Giovanni Reyna and Mexico’s Diego Lainez will be among the favorites to join the top tier of vote-getters in 2021 after being named to the initial shortlist but missing the cut for the Top 40 this season.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Reyna signs Dortmund deal ]

Haaland’s incredible 2019-20 season was split between Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund. He scored 28 times with seven assists in 24 matched for the Austrians before scoring 16 and 3 in 18 appearances for BVB.

Haaland, 20, is the first Norwegian to win the award and first Bundesliga player named to the honor since Renato Sanches in 2016.

Because the award includes all clubs the player suited up for in a given season and Haaland started last season with American coach Jesse Marsch at Salzburg, Haaland is the first player from an Austrian club to win the award.

Four Premier League stars made the list, with Man City’s Ferran Torres and Phil Foden joined by Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) and Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).

Voting results

17. Jonathan David, Gent / Lille
16. Rodrygo, Real Madrid
15. Ryan Gravenberch, Ajax
14. Sergino Dest, Ajax / Barcelona
13. Sandro Tonali, Brescia / AC Milan
12. Mason Greenwood, Manchester United
11. Ferran Torres, Valencia / Man City
10. Vinicius, Real Madrid
9. Bukayo Saka, Arsenal
8. Dominik Szoboszlai, Red Bull Salzburg
7. Phil Foden, Man City
6. Dejan Kulusevski, Pama / Juventus
5. Eduardo Camavinga, Stade Rennais
4. Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund
3. Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich
2. Ansu Fati, Barcelona
1. Erling Haaland, Red Bull Salzburg / Borussia Dortmund

List of Golden Boy Award winners

2020 – Erling Haaland, Red Bull Salzburg / Borussia Dortmund
2019 – Joao Felix, Atletico Madrid / Benfica
2018 – Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax
2017 – Kylian Mbappe, Monaco / PSG
2016 – Renato Sanches, Benfica / Bayern Munich
2015 – Anthony Martial, Monaco / Manchester United
2014 – Raheem Sterling, Liverpool
2013 – Paul Pogba, Juventus
2012 – Isco, Malaga
2011 – Mario Gotze, Borussia Dortmund
2010 – Mario Balotelli, Inter Milan / Manchester City
2009 – Alexandre Pato, AC Milan
2008 – Anderson, Manchester United
2007 – Sergio Aguero, Atletico Madrid
2006 – Cesc Fabregas, ArsenaL
2005 – Lionel Messi, Barcelona
2004 – Wayne Rooney, Everton / Manchester United
2003 –  Rafael van der Vaart, Ajax

USMNT back Dest named Ajax Talent of the Year

Sergino Dest
Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

American right back Sergino Dest has won Ajax’s Talent of the Year in a monumental bit of achievement for the 20-year-old.

How impressive is the honor? Previous winners include Nwankwo Kanu, Christian Eriksen, and Matthijs de Ligt (full list below). Noussair Mazraoui was the previous winner of the award,

Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech won the club’s Player of the Year for the third-straight season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Dest admitted that he was surprised to win the award and said it will motivate him to get better. He played in 35 matches across all competitions, scoring twice and collecting six assists.

His boss, Erik Ten Hag, had better things to say. From Ajax.nl:

“You came like a comet. You played a lot of games in Ajax 1, including in the Champions League. You showed your potential. This is well deserved.”

Dest doesn’t turn 20 until November, and chose the USMNT over the Netherlands this fall despite interest from Ronald Koeman.

The illustrious list of previous winners is absolutely wonderful for Americans fans to read:

2020: Sergiño Dest
2019: Noussair Mazraoui
2018: Matthijs de Ligt
2017: Kasper Dolberg
2016: Riechedly Bazoer
2015: Anwar El Ghazi
2014: Davy Klaassen
2013: Viktor Fischer
2012: Ricardo van Rhijn
2011: Christian Eriksen
2010: Toby Alderweireld
2009: Gregory van der Wiel
2008: Jan Vertonghen
2007: Ryan Babel
2006: Urby Emanuelson & Thomas Vermaelen
2005: Hedwiges Maduro
2004: Nicolae Mitea
2003: Steven Pienaar
2002: Maxwell
2001: Rafael van der Vaart
2000: Cristian Chivu
1999: Richard Knopper
1998: Benni Mc Carthy
1997: Mario Melchiot
1996: Nordin Wooter
1995: Nwankwo Kanu
1994: Tarik Oulida

2020/21 UEFA Nations League draw: England with Belgium, Germany & Spain together

Getty Images

With the help of celebrity attendees such as Rafael van der Vaart, Philippe Senderos, and David Seaman, the draw for the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League is complete.

Taking place in Amsterdam, England saw a friendly draw, avoiding the likes of France, Spain, Germany, and Italy as the Three Lions were placed in Group 2 alongside Iceland, Denmark, and Belgium. Group 4 seems the most difficult off the bat, with Spain and Germany as well as Pot 1 members Switzerland. Poor Ukraine.

The format this time around has been tweaked to balance out team numbers and change rewards for good performance from Euro 2020 qualification to a path towards 2022 World Cup qualification. Here’s a rundown of how it works:

  • The group stage will take place between September 2020 and March 2021.
  • There are no guaranteed World Cup places handed out in the Nations League, but there is a slight boost to one’s chances for a solid performance. Of all the group winners who do not qualify directly for a World Cup place through traditional means, the top two will earn a spot in a 12-team playoff alongside 10 other teams from World Cup qualifying.
  • Any team that finishes top of its group will be promoted to the next League. Any team that finishes bottom of its group will be relegated to the previous League.
  • Group winners from League A will be placed in a semifinals draw, with the semis and finals to be played in early June 2021 within a “host nation” selected from the four remaining countries. The finals are essentially just for FIFA seeding, with little else on the line other than the trophy.

Teams that were meant to be relegated in the inaugural Nations League were not actually relegated thanks to the reshuffling that saw uneven numbers of teams wiped out to avoid countries still having to play occasional friendlies. The reshuffling now sees an even 12 countries in all of the top three leagues, with the remaining seven in League D.

League A:

Group 1 – Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Group 2 – England, Belgium, Iceland, Denmark
Group 3 – Portugal, France, Croatia, Sweden
Group 4 – Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Ukraine

League B:

Group 1 – Romania, Northern Ireland, Norway, Austria,
Group 2 – Israel, Slovakia, Scotland, Czech Republic
Group 3 – Hungary, Turkey, Serbia, Russia
Group 4 – Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Finland, Wales

League C:

Group 1 – Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro
Group 2 – Armenia, Estonia, North Macedonia, Georgia
Group 3 – Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, Greece
Group 4 – Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Albania

League D:

Group 1 – Malta, Andorra, Latvia, Faroe Islands
Group 2 – San Marino, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar

Golden Boy Award shortlist includes Lainez, Davies, drops Weah

Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Canadian winger Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich and Mexican winger Diego Lainez of Real Betis join a host of Premier League youngsters on the shortlist for the 2019 Golden Boy Award, honoring the best European-based footballer under the age of 21.

American playmakers Christian Pulisic and Timothy Weah were finalists last year, but Chelsea’s Pulisic has aged out of the competition. Lille’s Weah is no longer on the list despite being on the summer’s 100-man watch list.

[ MORE: Spurs shocked at Colchester Utd ]

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a Chelsea player here, as Mason Mount makes the cut.

So does ex-Man City Academy man Tom Dele-Bashiru, now of Watford, and current City midfielder Phil Foden.

Arsenal places Reiss Nelson and Matteo Guendouzi on the list, while Everton’s Moise Kean slides into the shortlist after his move from Juventus.

That said, the competition already feels winnowed to Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus versus Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund the field, with De Ligt a heavy favorite.

Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix will also like his chances of spinning a surprise outcome.

Previous winners include De Ligt, Kylian Mbappe, Renato Sanches, Anthony Martial, Raheem Sterling, Paul Pogba, Isco, Mario Gotze, Mario Balotelli, Alexandre Pato, Anderson, Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, and Rafael van der Vaart.

Golden Boy Award shortlist

Benoit Badiashile (Monaco)
Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal)
Michael Cuisance (Bayern Munich)
Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford)
Matthijs De Ligt (Juventus)
Krépin Diatta (Club Brugge)
Giuanluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan)
Denis Dragus (Standard Liege)
Eljif Elmas (Napoli)
Florentino Luís (Benfica)
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Mattéo Guendouzi (Arsenal)
Erling Braut Haaland (RB Salzburg)
Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad)
Joao Félix (Atlético Madrid)
Dejan Joveljic (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Boubacar Kamara (Marseille)
Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Moise Kean (Everton)
Justin Kluivert (Roma)
Ibrahima Konaté (RB Leipzig)
Rodrygo Goes (Real Madrid)
Alban Lafont (Nantes)
Diego Lainez (Real Betis)
KangIn Lee (Valencia)
Andriy Lunin (Real Valladolid, on loan)
Donyell Malen (PSV)
Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Nehuén Pérez (Famalicao)
Reiss Nelson (Arsenal)
Abdulkadir Omur (Trabzonspor)
Strahinja Pavlovic (Partizan Belgrade)
Rafael Leao (AC Milan)
Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Luis Sinisterra (Feyenoord)
Jean-Clair Todibo (Barcelona)
Ferran Torres (Valencia)
Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma)

Liverpool 2019-20 season preview

Established: 1892
Stadium: Anfield
Location: Liverpool
Head Coach: Jurgen Klopp
Nickname: The Reds
Rival(s): Everton, Manchester United
Top-Division Titles: 18 (1900–01, 1905–06, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1946–47, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90)

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Best possible XI:

Van Dijk
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Key arrivals: Sepp van den Berg (PEC Zwolle), Harvey Elliott (Fulham), Adrian (West Ham)

Key departures: Daniel Sturridge (released), Alberto Moreno (Villarreal).

Ranking their offseason: This is a risky one, isn’t it? So far, the Reds have only added pieces for the future. Their attacking trident of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino have had consecutive busy summers to go with long Premier League and Champions League campaigns. The Reds are fortunate to have a deep youth system and some key players returning to health, but there’s not a lot to love here. 3/10.

Star player: Virgil van Dijk — The towering Dutchman may well be a Ballon d’Or winner by the end of the calendar year.

Coaches’ Corner: Jurgen Klopp — His gift of keeping his players happy may be tested a bit more this season, as Liverpool will need to get more time and production out of key young players.

PST predicts: A righteous fight for their first league title of the Premier League era. Will they again come up just short, adding no one big before the window slams shut while Man City addressed its only weakness?