18-year-old Indiana Vassilev was the hero for Aston Villa’s Under-23 side on Monday.
The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team prospect helped Villa to a home win over Fulham, scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 result. Vassilev scored in the 83rd minute of the match, three minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute. However, it didn’t take long for the midfielder to make an impact.
Vassilev rose high to head home Jack Clarke’s cross for the lone goal of the match. It was Vassilev’s second goal of the season for Villa’s U-23 side, in what was his seventh appearance. Villa U-23 boss Mark Delaney credited Vassilev after the match for adding a different element to the team’s attacking front.
“I am happy with the boys because of the result. They put a good shift in,” Delaney said postmatch. After the game, though, we spoke of the quality that we didn’t show. We only saw glimpses of it which was the disappointing thing. We worked hard all week on aspects of our game and there were opportunities to play through the pitch but it broke down too many times in the first half.”
“Jonathan Kodija obviously had his first game in a while so there was a bit of tiredness towards the end and Indiana Vassilev was introduced. He gave us a different dimension and made a really good move for the goal. The goalkeeper didn’t know whether to come or stay. It was a good finish.”
Vassilev is one of many young American players trying to work through the ranks in England currently, joining the likes of Kyle Scott and Luca De La Torre who are also playing for Newcastle United and Fulham’s respective U-23 sides.
Despite being only 18, Vassilev has seen the pitch regularly this season for the U-23 side while also moving through the ranks of U.S. Soccer. Vassilev was called into a U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team camp back in September and represented the U-17 side at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Up next for Vassilev and Aston Villa is a trip to Reading on Oct. 28th.
I didn’t know Vassilev was the youngest player on that U17- ‘17 WC squad. Even now, I’m still amazed, how deep that squad was!