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Report: USMNT youngster Soto signs for Norwich

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A report from German outlet Bild claims that USMNT youngster Sebastian Soto will sign for Norwich City from Hannover.

Soto, 19, has reportedly signed a three-year contract with Premier League side Norwich as he’s out of contract with 2. Bundesliga side Hannover this summer.

But there’s a twist.

Per the report, Norwich will not be able to get a work permit straight away for Soto and he will initially be loaned out to a club in Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands.

It was also reported Norwich will pay $200,000 for Soto after he passed a medical. That transfer fee is likely the compensation Hannover are due for developing Soto in their academy since 2018.

There has been no confirmation from either clubs or the player.

Soto has made five first team appearances over the last two seasons at Hannover but has failed to become a regular, even after his fine form for the U.S. at the U20 World Cup last summer. Soto scored braces against Nigeria and group play and in the shock win against tournament favorites France and the forward is comfortable through the middle and likes to link up the play and hold up the ball.

Norwich and their sporting director Stuart Webber think outside the box when it comes to player recruitment and they recently signed Luxembourg forward Danel Sinani, while the likes of Teemu Pukki and Emiliano Buendia were out of left-field but inspired signings.

With Norwich bottom of the Premier League table and six points from safety, it is likely they will be in the Championship next season. That’s not a bad thing for Soto as he would likely get more minutes for Daniel Farke’s side, but the key to all of this is getting a work permit for the UK.

If Norwich can find a decent place for him to land on loan while the work permit is sorted out, this is a very good club for Soto to develop at. Norwich are stable, have a clear playing identity and recruitment plan and are a genuine yo-yo club.

Hannover player tests positive for coronavirus

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German second-tier team Hannover 96 have confirmed that their defender Timo Hubers has tested positive for coronavirus.

Hubers, 23, has been in quarantine at home since he was infected on Saturday and the entire Hannover playing squad, coaching staff and other officials have been tested for coronavirus.

Gerhard Zuber, sporting director of Hannover 96, praised Hubers who self-isolated as soon as he believed he could have the virus and hasn’t had any contact with this teammates or staff.

“Timo behaved in an exemplary manner. He shows no symptoms himself. So far, when he found out that a person who had been with him at the event was tested positively, he reported directly to the doctor and temporarily went into quarantine at home.”

With leagues across Europe postponing games or playing them behind closed doors, we can expect more players and officials around the game to be tested in the coming days and weeks as the virus continues to spread.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

USMNT left back prospect Gloster chooses Eredivisie path

Chris Gloster
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The United States men’s national team record with left backs is not ideal. One of its top hopes to flip the script has just found a new home.

Chris Gloster is moving from Hannover 96 to PSV Eindhoven, trading the second team of a 2.Bundesliga side for the U-21 outfit of one of the Dutch powers.

[ MORE: USSF promotes Stewart, hires USWNT GM ]

Gloster, 19, joins fellow American youth national teamer Richie Ledesma and also proffers plenty of shade to the clubs back home. From PSV.nl:

“I have chosen to continue my career in Europe because the clubs give more opportunities to the younger players, whereas in the USA they look for experienced and physically strong players. Age is not an issue in Europe. When you are a good player, it does not matter how young you are.”

Gloster debuted in USL at age 16 for the New York Red Bulls II and headed to Hannover in 2018.

He played 16 teams for Hannover 96’s second team, recording three assists and raising his profile at the U-20 World Cup. He played five times for the U-20s on the opposite side of Sergino Dest, who is oddly enough a right back at Ajax.

Dest, 18, made his Eredivisie debut this weekend, playing 36 minutes off the bench (He can also play left back).

The path for Gloster will take a bit more work, as Czech international Michal Sadilek has played nearly every minute of PSV’s season at left back. Sadilek is just 20, young like Valencia loanee Toni Lato and summer purchase Oliver Boscagli, formerly of OGC Nice, who are also above Gloster on the depth chart.

Players to watch at the U-20 World Cup

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The U-20 World Cup begins this week in Poland, and there are a bevy of future stars to watch, as well as several who will make their names during the tournament.

We’ll focus on the former. While England’s failure to qualify somewhat limits the Premier League starlets on show, there are still plenty from the English top flight.

Tim Weah, United States (PSG) — After a loan at Celtic and time with the full USMNT, how much can he dominate back in his age group?

Alban Lafont, France (Fiorentina) — At age 20, he’s already the starter between the sticks for his Serie A mainstays.

Diego Lainez, Mexico (Real Betis) — Eighteen with 12 league appearances for Real Betis, Lainez is a massive part of El Tri‘s future and carries four caps to his name.

Ruben Vinagre, Portugal (Wolves) — Wolves were promoted, and Vinagre actually made eight more appearances (17) than he made in the Championship.

Ezequiel Barco, Argentina (Atlanta United) — His sophomore season for the Five Stripes has been better than his debut campaign, though that’s not saying a ton given the hype.

Evan N’Dicka, France (Eintracht Frankfurt) — Plenty of playing time in the Bundesliga at the age of 19 for this towering center back.

Paxton Pomykal, United States (FC Dallas) — Looking good in MLS. How much should that translate on this stage?

Andriy Lunin, Ukraine (Real Madrid) — Won’t be wearing the white of Madrid in meaningful action any time soon, but made four appearances on loan for Leganes as a 20-year-old.

Sebastian Soto, United States (Hannover 96) — Not the American-born Bundesliga starlet we expected had we created this list months ago, but Soto has made his Bundesliga debut, so there’s a lot to like while Josh Sargent works with the full USMNT.

Dan Zagadou, France (Borussia Dortmund) — The left- and center back has 25 first team appearances for BVB at 19.

Diogo Dalot, Portugal (Manchester United) — Red Devils supporters know about this fella, who was purchased under the watch of Jose Mourinho last summer.

Mickael Cuisance, France (Borussia Monchengladbach) — Took a step back after his blockbuster ‘Gladbach breakthrough in 2017-18, but will be a key piece for the favorites.

Moussa Sylla, France (Monaco) — The winger is already a factor for AS Monaco, even if they struggled this season.

Bonus: Erling Håland, Denmark (Red Bull Salzburg); Ronald Araujo, Uruguay (Barcelona); Tom Dele-Bashiru, Nigeira (Manchester City).

Snow denies Hannover’s Haraguchi open goal in 3-2 loss

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A wild 3-2 game in the driving snow saw Bayer Leverkusen pick up a critical three points in the battle for a Champions League place, but it didn’t come without some luck.

Well, a lot of luck.

Thanks to the significant snowfall, Hannover was denied a wide-open goal in the 33rd minute. Goalkeeper Michael Esser pumped the ball forward, straight to Japan international Genki Haraguchi streaking behind his defender. Bayer goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky came off his line to challenge, but Haraguchi rounded him easily and punched the ball towards the open net.

Then a funny thing happened. The significant snow buildup slowed the ball as it raced toward the net, stopping it inches before crossing the goal line. Bayer defender Jonathan Tah was able to collect the stopped ball and clear it off the line, preventing Hannover from breaking into the scoreline.

Snow denies Hannover 96 goal | 2019 Bundesliga Highlights (VIDEO)

Haraguchi looks certain to score but the snow literally stopped Hannover 96’s ball from going in the empty net.

The weather continued to affect the game even after that. It snowed so much that the game had to be stopped eight minutes later so the grounds crew could clear enough to see the lines.

While Hannover would eventually draw back level at 2-2, the visitors won it late as Kai Haverts would deliver Bayer all three points. That drew them within four of Borussia Monchengladbach in the race for the final Champions League place, while Hannover remains in a relegation position in 17th, five back of 16th-placed Stuttgart.