Top Stories

U.S. U-18s head to Spain for Copa Del Atlantico

Ben Swanson

Photo by


While the U.S. Men’s National Team trains in southern California ahead of a friendly match, some of the team’s future stars are heading to the Canary Islands.

Ahead of their debut at the world-renowned Copa Del Atlantico, U.S. Under-18 head coach Javier Perez selected an 18-man squad for the trip. After landing in Las Palmes, Spain on Thursday, the U.S. U-18s will face Spain (Feb. 4), Argentina (Feb. 5), and the Canary Islands (Feb. 7) in the tournament’s 40th edition.

The squad Perez selected is a mix of players born in 1996 and 1997, making the U.S. one of the younger teams in the tournament. Perez called in two players who are already on professional contracts, 16-year-old Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown and 17-year-old Fulham midfielder Emerson Hyndman. Perez also named Eintracht Braunschweig U-23 and Florida native Omar Castro to his first U.S. squad.

Fourteen of the 18 players on the roster played with the U.S. last October at the Limoges tournament in France, which saw the U.S. finish second to the host nation. Spain have won each of the last seven editions of the Copa Del Atlantico. Mexico finished second in 2013.

Here’s a closer look at the U.S. U-18 roster for the Copa Del Atlantico:


GOALKEEPERS (2): Christian Herrera (Real Salt Lake AZ; Las Cruces, N.M.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (5): Chase Gasper (Bethesda-Olney; Alexandria, Va.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Unattached; Oviedo, Fla.), Tyler Turner (Unattached; Meriden, Conn.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Omar Castro (Eintracht Braunschweig; Plant City, Fla.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC; Plano, Texas), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake AZ; Casa Grande, Ariz.), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio), Jackson Yueill (Minnesota Thunder; Bloomington, Minn.)

FORWARDS (5): Andrija Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG; Muskego, Wis.), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea SC; Garland, Texas), Dembakwi Yomba (Concorde Fire; Lithona, Ga.)


What do you think of this squad? Do you like their chances against Spain? Which players do you expect to be scouted at this tournament?

Share your thoughts below.


    • Kid is definitely USYNT material. Who knows maybe his Grandpa never coached at the pro level? Know the other GA Boys on this squad and the kid in the video is GAME. has size and is still developing. Ives, get the answer for the poster above.

    • He has good ball skills, and he was much better than the competition, but there is no way to know how good he really is based on a YouTube video. My guess is scouts have seen him in other games and he did not do enough to get a call up.

      • It’s impossible to know if this kids been scouted. The game looks to be from some random tournament. Why not give the kid a shot, might prove the doubters wrong and then what? He’s not part of any youth program just playing High School. That won’t sit too well with powers that be that feel their doctrine is the right way. No kid could possibly shake the foundation and come out of nowhere? Surely not. There is got to be something we can find in the video that is faulty. Smh. Let’s not look at the other videos out there. Nah no way.

    • Everything in life is relative…and that definitely applies in soccer…while I am not commenting on this 16 year old’s ability…it is clearly obvious within 30 seconds of watching this video that the opponent’s that he is playing against are HORRIBLE…there is no defense being played and he has TONS of time on the ball…I imagine things would be different if he was playing against a quality opponent…that’s it, I am done…as you were.

      • No to M, No to goddy, and no to pappi grande. Call up and prove the Kid wrong because no one in the State of GA has. Dalton Ga is nowhere near a Dev. Academy or a reputable Club, so am guessing no scouts have seen his skill set and to throw the competition, in the video, under the bus because the kid stands out is ridiculous. Call up to a camp and see what happens. If the video and the move close to end (where the defender has to catch himself from falling is not proof ) dont show Gamenship than we’re done here. Seems am talking to non-footie aficionados. Furthermore, a CAM controls “tempo”, so go figure. Ives can we get a response to commoner?

      • Who wants to bet that most of the posters saying to call this dude up are really the same guy posting under different screen names?

        But seriously though, regardless of whether or not this kid is good enough, I doubt anyone from the youth national team set up has seen him. Unless he’s driving 2 hours each way to play for a club team in Atlanta, or going to 5-6 national level tourneys every year, no one will even know he exists. There aren’t enough scouts in the US and those that exist are often too lazy to get out and scout/recruit kids outside of the big cities and major tournaments.

      • Exactly, this kid should be look at. He seems real confident on the ball for a 16 year old. We need a regista in our USYNT system. Given the post, i highly doubt the kid is driving 4 hours roundtrip to some pay-to-play club team. C.Dempsey did it in an era of no YTube. Cap this kid and he’s looks like the real deal. We need all the help we can get when it comes to creative players.

      • sorry El Jefe Ives reports and does not promote. Comments here were meant for the kids who are going to Spain not to showcase some low level player in some low level game. If he is good enough he will be found period.

      • Would you wager your life on “If he is good enough he will be found period?” And your shot at “low level player” wreaks of ignoring the obvious. Seems a call- up is imminent to prove the haters wrong – -“And for that Ives Galarcep, we thank you.”

      • He should go tryout for the concord fire then.
        The truth is from the video, he has got a mediocre left foot and he is too slow to play with the guys that are on this list to Spain. I do feel your pain though…heyShoddy!

      • Your ignorance about the game is unprecedented by your above posts. Now, you have revealed your true hatred. There’s a reason why the kids’ video showed up here. He seeking “True Professional criticism” not some Daddy Coach run Club.

      • Call this kid up. If he enjoys the game and can pull that move at the end of the clip, he’s game in my book. Looks like a franchise player in the making.

  1. Interesting from the scouts perspective. Against the strong teams a player can often look good by quickly passing the ball, that same player can look less than stellar when he has a chance to dribble at a weaker defender and either can’t or won’t even try.

    • You mean that players can look good or bad, be productive or unproductive, depending on the circumstances? That you have to actually watch a player closely to evaluate them rather than just screaming how much they suck and how out of their depth they are if they don’t immediately score goals while standing on their heads? Stop it! You might just tear down the entire fabric of the US soccer blogging community.

  2. Argentina, Spain and… Canary Islands??? That’s like going to a college fair and the three institutions represented are Harvard, Yale, and Jacksonville Community College.

    • Considering the tournament is being hosted by the Canary Islands, it would only be proper etiquette to allow them to play in it. In all seriousness, I suppose it is the equivalent of Chaminade in the Maui Invitational (college basketball).

      • Seems like Deportivo La Coruna did a bit of scouting in the Canary Islands back in the day. I remember some of these names from their Champions League days… Juan Carlos Valeron and Manuel Pablo were two of their best.

Leave a Comment