Alex Mendez

Getty Images

Ledezma, Mendez headline U.S. Olympic training camp squad

Leave a comment

While Sergiño Dest is taking some time to think over his international future, two dual-nationals currently in the U.S. Soccer system are sticking with the Red, White, and Blue for now.

Richard Ledezma of PSV and Alex Mendez of Ajax both accepted call-ups from U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Coach Jason Kreis for a training camp this month featuring many Olympic-eligible players. The U.S. squad will train in Miami and play a friendly match against El Salvador.

El Salvador of course knocked the U.S. out of the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament, handing Jurgen Klinsmann – and Caleb Porter at the time a huge blow both in terms of player development and having a chance to represent the USMNT at a major tournament.

Other members of the squad include Minnesota United talents Mason Toye and Hassan Dotsani, Hannover forward Sebastian Soto, Atlanta United centerback Miles Robinson and Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards.

The news that Ledezma and Mendez, who are both eligible to play for the USMNT and Mexico in the future, are in the squad for this training camp is a great sign for US Soccer fans. Soto as well is eligible to play for Chile and Mexico due to his family history.

It’s unclear whether Tata Martino would have a place for any of these players in his team, but as they grow in Europe, there’s no doubt that they will receive more interest from the Mexican FA (FMF).

That said, US Soccer can show that they’ve invested countless hours in Ledezma, Mendez, Soto, and of course in Dest as well in the youth system, all preparing them for a great pro career and success with the national team. The longer Mendez and Ledezma stay in the US system as well, the more likely they’ll stay after developing great relationships with their teammates and other coaches.

Steffen wins USMNT award; Speaks on Man City transfer

AP Photo/John Raoux
Leave a comment

Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen has been named U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year.

The longtime Columbus Crew backstop, who will be with the club until summer, was the 2018 Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year.

[ MORE: Zlatan a new DP with Galaxy ]

For country, Steffen earned his first six USMNT caps. One of those was a stunning performance in a 1-1 draw against France.

Steffen, 23, says he’s honored to be among the list of award winners in USMNT history.

He also talked about his upcoming move to Man City, via USSoccer.com:

“They’re a top-five team in the world – if not the best right now. I’m well aware of how good Ederson is, and I know I need to grow and get better in a lot of different areas. But my mentality is that when I get over there, I want to play. I’m really highly motivated to get the most out of these next six months in Columbus, and hopefully with the national team. I’m going to really push myself so that when I get to Manchester next summer, I’m that much more confident and prepared.”

Alex Mendez won the Young Male Player of the Award award, and like Steffen he’ll leave the U.S. for a new club in 2019.

The LA Galaxy product, 18, scored a goal with three assists for LA Galaxy II in the USL this season, and will join Freiburg — Steffen’s former club — in January.

Mendez will star for the U.S. U-20s at the World Cup in Poland this summer after appearing in 13 matches for the team this year.

U.S. Soccer provided this list of previous award winners.

Year Male Player of the Year Young Male Player of the Year
2018 Zack Steffen Alex Mendez
2017 Christian Pulisic Josh Sargent
2016 Jozy Altidore (2) Christian Pulisic
2015 Michael Bradley Matt Miazga
2014 Tim Howard (2) DeAndre Yedlin
2013 Jozy Altidore Wil Trapp
2012 Clint Dempsey (3) Rubio Rubin
2011 Clint Dempsey (2) Brek Shea
2010 Landon Donovan (4) Gale Agbossoumonde
2009 Landon Donovan (3) Luis Gil
2008 Tim Howard Sacha Kljestan
2007 Clint Dempsey Michael Bradley
2006 Oguchi Onyewu Jozy Altidore
2005 Kasey Keller (3) Benny Feilhaber
2004 Landon Donovan (2) Eddie Johnson
2003 Landon Donovan Freddy Adu
2002 Brad Friedel Bobby Convey
2001 Earnie Stewart DaMarcus Beasley
2000 Chris Armas Landon Donovan
1999 Kasey Keller (2) Ben Olsen
1998 Cobi Jones Josh Wolff
1997 Kasey Keller
1996 Eric Wynalda
1995 Alexi Lalas
1994 Marcelo Balboa (2)
1993 Thomas Dooley
1992 Marcelo Balboa
1991 Hugo Perez
1990 Tab Ramos
1989 Mike Windischmann
1988 Peter Vermes
1987 Brent Goulet
1986 Paul Caligiuri
1985 Perry Van der Beck
1984 Rick Davis

Stunner leads U.S. to U-20 World Cup berth

Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex Mendez and Ulysses Llanez scored first half goals and the United States U-20 men’s national team cruised to a 4-0 win over Costa Rica at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship semifinals on Friday.

The win means the U.S. needs a draw or better against Honduras on Monday to set up a match-up with Mexico or Panama in the Nov. 21 final in Bradenton, Florida.

Costa Rica is out unless the U.S. beats Honduras by more than four goals.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Best XI for summer Gold Cup

Juan Pablo Torres and Ayo Akinola also scored for the U.S., who can make plans for the summer in Poland.

Mendez’s goal was a masterpiece, the Freiburg center mid slashing a left-footed ball into the Upper 90. Mendez is an LA Galaxy Academy product.