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Report: U.S. U-18 prospect Lennon set to sign with Liverpool

Brooks Lennon RSL Academy

Photo by Garrett Cleverly/SBI Soccer


Former Real Salt Lake academy member Brooks Lennon looks set to become the latest to American to make the move to Anfield.

According to a report by, Liverpool is expected to complete the signing of Lennon by the end of this week. Lennon has spent extensive time with Liverpool’s youth academy over the past few years, and he’s done enough to earn a professional contract.

The 17-year-old forward is expected to receive his Irish passport soon, which will help pave the way for him to eventually play for the first team if he progresses well at Liverpool.

Lennon, who is registered to RSL’s Arizona-based academy, is a current member of the U.S. Under-18 National Team. He started for the U.S. U-18s last April in a pair of friendly matches at Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lennon is eligible to play for the U.S. U-20 team in the upcoming 2017 Under-20 World Cup cycle.


What do you think of this development? Do you see Lennon making it into the Liverpool first team down the road? Think this is the right move for him?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “Lennon is eligible to play for the U.S. U-20 team in the UPCOMING 2017 Under-20 World Cup cycle”

    Strong command of the English language

    • The first round of qualifying begins next summer, although the US enters qualifying the following January. So, it is coming quickly for those preparing for the cycle.

      • +1 What a terribly pedantic comment. Frankly, there is almost nothing wrong with this sentence…as you’ve said the upcoming CYCLE begins quite shortly– 6 months certainly qualifies as “upcoming” in international soccer terms. Honestly, I’m not sure what word would have been better. Apparently it is quite easy to make “Just LOL” laugh.

  2. He’s already so popular that Liverpool named the airport after him and you can visit his ancestral home there.

  3. I don’t get it, I thought the MLS was the best league for development and every American with promise should be there. Can any MLS loving, Americans abroad hating people help me out here? It’s almost sounding like our best young players SHOULD be going overseas…but that can’t be right, right?

    • More avenues available for US players, the better. Everyone has their own world/league view I suppose. Some are firmly planted in one camp or another taking a fundamentalist/black/white, either/or, you are with us or against us stance. That’s pretty misguided and limiting if you ask me. Probably better to take a more nuanced stance where a players make-up, maturity, skill level, how far along they are in their development, opportunities based on passports,competition at position, which clubs are interested etc. etc. etc are looked at on an individual basis and the best decision for that player at that time is made. No path is guaranteed or without its inherent disadvantage or compromises. Player has to make the best choice with the given information- then go to WORK.

      !7 year old signing a pro contract at Liverpool is a huge accomplishment and opportunity no matter how you slice it.

      • Yes, well said, but it probably should be pointed out that development opportunities are better in this country than they were. I would agree, however, that a mature American youth who seemingly has a high ceiling may be wise to finish teen years overseas. Personally, I’d rather see them go to Germany, Spain Italy, etc., than England.

      • A lot depends on the player’s level of maturity and his support system as well. Even with the handicap of a common language, living on you own in a foreign country as a 17 year-old is not everyone’s idea of an easy time.

        It takes a lot more than just the soccer to be successful and that complicated formula must include things the player will do the 16 to 20 hours a day he is not involved in some soccer activity.

      • It’s mildly amusing that people wring their hands over how hard it must be for an American kid to try and make it as a pro soccer player in Europe.

        Does anyone ever think about what it must be like for all those latin kids to come to America as teenagers and not speak English and try to make it as MLB players?

        It’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be a battle against the odds.

        The majority of the kids, American or otherwise who go to Europe and try to become regular players at good teams are going to fail. Do the math.

        Instead of whining all the time about how anti American everyone is in Europe and how American kids should stay in the comfy confines of MLS where they are ”guaranteed” jobs maybe the focus should be on how the stiff competition Lennon will likely face over there just might make him a better player regardless of how it turns out.

        And how , in Europe, should Lennon prove promising, there are just a lot more options in teams of reserve leagues, professional clubs that Lennon could be loaned to or eventually sold to, than there are here in the US.

    • Lots of different paths to go, and no path guarantees success. MLS is best for some; Europe is best for some. Either way, the odds are stacked against every one of these teenage prospects. Good luck to Lennon.

      • In a way, Lennon has a better path than most European and even UK players who sign for a big club like Liverpool. If he is successful, he may make the first team in a few years time, this demands skill and performance as well as a bit of luck. Should he remain injury free, does well but through a combination of factors, never make any first team appearances, he may be loaned off to a lower category team, with a potential of having his contract bought out. Should he make first team appearances, but no a permanent first team spot, he may be loaned or sold to another EPL team or to another team in another league.

        But what most US players have in their back pocket, should they not make it to the highest levels in Europe, is a trip back to the MLS. Although the paycheck will be (a lot) smaller. They will be playing, most likely, in a first division team in the US.

      • bottlcaps,

        What makes you think Lennon is good enough to play in MLS?

        Just because he is an American? Is that enough to guarantee him a place in MLS?

    • Actually, there is really very little – if anything – just yet to suggest that it is a great idea for MLS-developed players in the 17-21 age bracket (i.e. post-academy, yet pre-senior pro) to move to Europe. It’s a small sample, but mostly they have done little besides gather dust in the reserves (i.e. Jozy at Villareal, Freddy Adu at Benfica) or fail to secure a meaningful move entirely (Juan Agudelo). Europe doesn’t treat these guys as “development assets” really once they have reached this age. Basically, you had best be ready to compete at the senior level (MB at Heerenveen and Beasley at PSV are really the only good examples), or you face an uncertain future.

      I hope this trend changes, and Lennon is a part of it. Yedlin is an ongoing case-study, as well. There will likely be many more. As others have rightfully said above, there are many paths for US players, and it depends on the “best fit” more than anything. But I simply don’t see how a post-academy aged player with minimal first-team experience should assume that “Europe is best” at all. Far from it, at least historically speaking.

      • These are poor examples.

        I’d say Jozy developed quite a bit as a player in Europe and that move to Villarreal paved the way to a very successful stint at AZ (EPL worship was his real stumbling block…Hull and Sunderland were awful choices, as anyone with a decent knowledge of the game would have known). Freddy Adu’s problem was that he went to Europe at 18, rather than 14, and already had a serious child celebrity complex. Agudelo just needed to make the move period…had he been able to secure a transfer in Holland maybe he could have evolved into NT worthy material.

        The sooner these kids get to where the best coaching and training is, the better. Lennon will learn a lot more at Liverpool’s academy than he would at an MLS academy, or sitting on an MLS team’s bench.

        And how do these MLS developed kids in the 17-21 age bracket do? I can think of a lot of prodigies whose development completely stalled upon entering the MLS. Agudelo is one of many examples. MLS teams don’t have the financial incentive to develop and export talent that any team without a salary cap does, and so it is not a priority for MLS coaches. Look at Luis Gil, one of the gems of the MLS academy system. RSL kept him on the bench for five years because they wouldn’t even switch to a formation that uses a CM and his only minutes would come playing on the wing. This is the first year they’re actually using a formation with a CM and even then, at the beginning Cassar preferred playing Mulholland there to Gil.

        Other soccer teams aren’t constrained by a salary cap and stand to reap the profits of developing young talent and selling them to big clubs. Because of these incentives, they go out of their way to develop these kids, whether that’s through coaching or building teams around them. Anywhere else in the world, a veteran or two playing in front of Gil would have been sold and they would have switched to a 4-5-1 in hopes of helping him progress so they can sell him to a big European team at a young age for a sizable transfer fee. And Gil would have been a much better player for it.

        Not saying we should ditch the salary cap but until the MLS puts more incentives for player development in place, coaches won’t prioritize it and it’s something they will continue to struggle with.

      • The salary cap has little to do with it. The club still profits from selling players. There is a lot of incentive for the owners to have a setup that develops and sells players because that will mean money in their pocket.

        Also, I think you overrate coaches in European academies and possibly coaching in general. The peers that the player is around is the reason a European academy can offer a higher level of training. What they are doing is probably very similar.

        More like Gil has been in a system that uses 4 central mids. He was just not mature enough or preferred. The chances of him being on any first team in Europe would have been very slim. You can argue that he would have been better developing in a European reserve league, but that is not the path he chose.

        You point to Gil as a “gem” of the MLS academy system, but he actually started before any semblance of an academy structure was in place in MLS. That structure is still not completely in place. He is a pioneer in that regard.

        We can only hope that the development of players is improving so that the peer groups in these academies is strong and deep. That is when we will be on equal ground with Europe in terms of providing an top notch academy environment.

      • I don’t see how I’m overrating European coaching and training methods. They’ve been doing this for decades and they have produced a lot of world class players over the years. We just started playing the sport, our academy system is brand new, and we still haven’t produced any world class players yet (footballers, not goalkeepers). We just aren’t as advanced as they are yet. We will be some day, but it’ll take a while. The earlier our boys start to train under these coaches, the better.

        As far the academies go, it’s more than just the academies that need to improve (we’re in the very early stages but I think they’re doing a good job). The MLS teams need to change their culture in regards to young players and development. Right now we have an academy system that does produce some bona fide prodigies but when they get to the MLS their development often stalls. This happens in any league but in the MLS it seems to be quite endemic.

        Real Salt Lake played with a 4-4-2 diamond with wingers all those years. Sure, wingers in the MLS don’t really play like wingers in the modern game, but it was really obvious that Gil was uncomfortable there and out of position. If this were any other team, they’d switch up the formation and/or style to accommodate him. But these types of things don’t happen in the MLS. Look at how DC handled Freddy Adu.

        Most of the money from the transfer goes to the MLS, and even if the rest ends up in the owner’s pocket, it’s not a big enough incentive. Designing the team around and then selling these players and pocketing the cash without possibility for investment in the squad is definitely not MLS coaches or fans want. It’s no surprise that you never see MLS teams go out of their way in the slightest to fast-track the development if these kids, whereas if this were any other country, failing to do so can get coaches fired.

      • So give me a “good” example.

        Actually, it sounds like we agree– players should be going either at 14-15 (to participate in academy and integrate), or once they have established themselves as senior pros.

      • Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan, John O’Brien, Rubio Rubin…they went to Europe at a young age and became better players for it.

      • Landon Donovan was not an MLS product when he went to Europe. Neither was O’Brien. Nor Rubin. THESE are bad examples. Read my original comment…. you are not addressing my point.

        I already used Altidore as an example, so not sure what your point is here. And while we all agree MB succeeded (as well as DMB who you left out for some reason), the fact is they went to clubs where they were likely to play immediately. The same cannot be said for Lennon, about whom the piece is written.

      • Coach Kreis,

        Just to be clear

        Landon was signed by Bayern Leverkusen straight out of the IMG Academy and did not play in MLS until Leverkusen loaned him to the Quakes.

        John O Brien moved to the Netherlands when he was about 15 and is a product of the Ajax Academy. He did not play in MLS until his career was nearly over.

        RR was another IMG guy and he did spend one year at the Timber’s Academy but signed with Utrecht at 18.

    • RyAn

      You are assuming that all promising American soccer players are the same guy and that what is good for one is good for all of them.

      Do you really believe that?

      In my experience the best US teams have always had a good mix of domestic and foreign based players.

      Remove that mix and you get the English national men’s team.

    • Clearly the MLS developmental academies are doing their jobs. Arena recently mentioned that European increasingly poaching our players. I actually support the idea of these young players going to Europe to get seasoned as long as the MLS team holds their rights. That would be their compensation if they chose to return to the MLS.


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