US U15 BNT camp in Los Angeles is over. Forty-four players competed for only thirty-two spots at US Soccer’s Bradenton Academy in Florida. Topdrawersoccer.com, as always, was there with game recaps and player happenings. Players based throughout the United States were joined by foreign-based usynt stars Christian Albelo (Midfielder – TSG Hoffenheim U17), Joshua Perez (Winger – AS Fiorentina 98 Giovannissmi), Joe Gallardo (Striker – Monterrey U17), Edwin Lara, and Ethan Lotenero, who both spent time with Pachuca FC Academy last season.
Before residency invitations are officially awarded to this talented ’98 & ’99 group, a select squad will be chosen to represent the US in the highly competitive Copa México de Naciones U15 tournament from August 10-18 in Mexico City. The US will field its best players at this age level for a three day round-robin in which the US will face Brazil (August 10), Panama (August 11), and Uruguay (August 12) before knock-out play begins. The top three teams in each group will advance to the knock-out stage.
OWTY has learned already that ’98 usynt and Chivas USA U16 defender Hugo Arellano and ’98 usynt striker/defender Danny Barbir will be on the roster.
This caps an incredible summer for Barbir, who has spent time with some of the biggest European clubs, impressing at each one. Barbir, who already has an EU passport, is one of the hottest prospects in European youth football and will have a tough decision to make as he is a shoe-in for a residency invitation. The 6’3″ Barbir is a commanding force on the field, but it is his technical skill and composure on the ball that has won him plaudits from every scout who has seen him play. Reports out of Europe project Barbir as an attacker, while US Soccer has been mainly deploying Danny as the first-choice center back.
OWTY can also project call-ups for Monterrey hot shot Joe Gallardo who, at age 15, is playing with the Monterrey U17 squad, as well as Abraham Romero who played in this same tournament last season with the US squad, if he recovers from his hip injury in time. If not, look for fellow Los Angeles Galaxy star Eric Lopez to replace Romero in the net.
Some of the more impressive ’98s at last week’s U15 camp could be absent from the tournament as talented attacking options Albelo and Perez might return to Europe to being pre-season work with their club sides*. This will give the US coaching staff an opportunity to bring in less-experienced international players for a chance to compete at the highest level.
OWTY can confirm that usynt Christian Albelo and ’99 Nick Taitague (Midfielder – FC Richmond) will also join the US U15 BNT for the Copa Mexico tournament. Albelo’s presence with the squad means the US can trot out its star play-maker against some of the top nations at this level. Nick Taitague joins Edwin Lara and Tyler Adams as ’99s on the US Soccer roster. Taitague is seen by many as the top overall player in the ’99 US Soccer pool. Taitague starred for the 2013 id2 squad that showed well in Spain.
OWTY Copa Mexico de Naciones U15 Projected US roster:
Abraham Romero – Los Angeles Galaxy
Kevin Silva – PDA
Hugo Arellano – Chivas USA
Tyler Adams – New York Red Bulls
Danny Barbir – Philadelphia Union
George Braima – Columbus Crew
Edwin Lara – Pachuca
Alexis Velela – San Diego Surf
Christian Albelo* – TSG Hoffenheim
Eric Calvillo – San Diego Surf
Nick Taitague* – FC Richmond
Ethan Lotenero – Pachuca
Logan Panchot – STL Scott Gallagher
Alejandro Zendejas – FC Dallas
Devon Vega – Classic Elite
Joe Gallardo – Monterrey
Christian Pulisic – PA Classics
Hagi Wright – Los Angeles Galaxy
Elijah Rice – Chicago Magic PSG
Lagos Kunga – Georgia United