Another American making waves at a Premier League giant?
Matteo Ritaccio, who just turned 18 years old, has signed his first professional contract with Liverpool.
The Long Island native has been playing with their U18 academy side since the summer of 2018, as he holds an Italian passport and was therefore able to make the move to Europe from the USA.
Liverpool detailed how they have worked hard to scout and then secure the signature of Ritaccio, a midfielder.
“He had first been spotted by the Reds as a 13-year-old at a training camp for the US national team, though he also holds an Italian passport. A tough-tackling and exciting player, Ritaccio started the season in fine form for the U18s but his momentum was brought to a halt by a leg injury.”
Ritaccio is a product of the famed youth side BW Gottschee and he impressed Liverpool’s coaches with a fast start to the 2019-20 season before injury struck.
He will be back fit early in January and it will be intriguing to see how he develops.
Jurgen Klopp isn’t afraid to throw plenty of youngsters into the side, as he proved during the recent victory over Arsenal in the League Cup.
Remember the name: Matteo Ritaccio.
Matteo Ritaccio is an American midfielder — born and raised on the outskirts of New York City — quickly making a name for himself just weeks after joining the Liverpool youth academy.
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Ritaccio joined the Premier League giants this summer after reportedly making numerous trips across the Atlantic over a number of years to train with and play for the Reds’ academy teams. The 16-year-old has appeared in each of the U-18 side’s league fixtures since the start of the season, and has drawn positive reviews from U-18 coach Barry Lewtas — quotes from ESPN FC:
“The only difference is that he’s got a different accent to everybody else. Boys move around and stuff like that, but I don’t think it’s anything to sweep under the carpet. At the age of 16 to move countries, live with house parents and leave your friends and family behind — it’s tough. It’s not easy, is it? He’s settled in great.
“We’ve got a really good support network here, so it’s not something we’ve never done before.”
“He’s settled in fine. Obviously it’s a big change for him culturally. But he’s done ever so well and he’s settled in fine. He mixes in really well and he’s a good boy.
“He was one of the younger ones [against Man United]. He’s brave, [that’s] his personality. Hopefully he can develop further.”
Ritaccio and 18-year-old U.S. men’s national team starlet Tim Weah are each products of the same New York City youth academy, BW Gottschee.