U-20 Players US Soccer Should Watch out for
The United States' U-20 national teams, both men and women, have performed impressively over the past year.
The men are coming off a 3-1 loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships, and the women are the reigning World Cup champions after defeating Germany 1-0 in last year's final.
USMNT's performance qualified them for the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
As player turnover happens, some of these youngsters may have a chance to move up to the senior squad in the coming years. Certain areas on both teams are in need of a youthful presence, and the time for call-ups nears.
Here are five players U.S. Soccer fans should have their eye on in 2013.
Wil Trapp, M
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Club: Columbus Crew
Wil Trapp started five of his six appearances for the U-20 team in 2012. In 2013, he continued with his impact.
During the U-20 CONCACAF Championships Trapp helped the U.S. keep possession and defensively. If there is an opportunity for a roster spot in the years ahead it is for a midfielder who can possess the ball and assist the porous defense.
Trapp was named to the tournament's Best XI, and will have more opportunities to show his skills in the upcoming World Cup.
Bryane Heaberlin, GK
Photo Credit: USSoccer.com
School: North Carolina
The USWNT will be seeking a new goalkeeper in the near future. Hope Solo cannot play forever, and one of the best youth keepers in the pipeline is Bryane Heaberlin.
As the top recruit in the class of 2012, she was highly coveted. Heaberlin will continue to grow as a player on the youth national team, but also in Chapel Hill.
Heaberlin was between the post for the U-20 team as they shutout defending champions Germany in the finals. Performances like that will not be forgotten as U.S. Soccer keeps an eye to the future. She will be a talent to watch in the years to come.
Cody Cropper, GK
Photo Credit: John Dorton/ISIphotos.com
Cropper did not have a stellar 2012, but his development continues. In six starts he allowed 13 goals with a goals against average of 2.17. That will not get many excited to see him in the net.
However, he's young. The talent is there. That is why Southampton picked him up, and why he was in the net during the U-20s' run in the CONCACAF Championships.
Cropper will get more chances against the world's best young talent when the U.S. travels to Turkey for the World Cup. He will have a chance to atone for his mediocre 2012 by coming up big and showing the world the United States' young talent will be a force for years to come.
Morgan Brian, M
Photo Credit: US Soccer
Morgan Brian is a special talent who will, sooner rather than later, find her way on to the USWNT's senior side.
In 2012, she started 17 games for the U-20's and had four goals and five assists. She played the full 90 against Germany in the World Cup finals, and helped the team secure the 1-0 shutout to win the tournament.
Her college performances are just as impressive. She was the 2011 National Freshman of the Year by Soccer America, and a NSCAA First Team All-American as a freshman. And this past season she had two goals and one assist in the ACC semifinals against Florida State. She comes up big when her teams need her.
Longtime national players like Shannon Boxx will soon be stepping aside, and talent like Morgan Brian is waiting for their shot.
Jose Villarreal, M
Photo Credit: LA Galaxy
Club: LA Galaxy
The 19-year-old is already seeing action in the MLS alongside the likes of Landon Donovan. That will only expedite his learning process, and we will be able to see him mature as a player on national television.
Villarreal started three of his four appearances in 2012 for the U-20 team, and had three goals.
The 2013 campaign is off to a good start for the midfielder. He scored twice against Canada, and in the CONCACAF Championship finals he gave Mexico trouble. Villarreal can be one of the bright spots of the future of U.S. Soccer.
There is still a long way to go for Villarreal and others, but the future of U.S. Soccer looks bright for both the men and the women.