Andrew Carleton, Lagos Kunga Named to 2018 MLS Homegrown Roster
ATLANTA -Atlanta United midfielders Andrew Carleton and Lagos Kunga have been named to the roster for the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer®. The team, to be coached by Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan, features some of the league's most accomplished young stars who will take on Tigres UANL's Under-20 Team in the fifth annual MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday, July 31 at 8 p.m. ET at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground (UDN / Twitter.com).
Tickets, starting at $15, may be purchased on Ticketmaster.com and includes entrance to the Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star Soccer Match presented by MLS WORKS and ESPN, held immediately prior at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground. Tickets are now available.
The Homegrown Team is highlighted by two Atlanta United players who will be playing in front of their hometown fans in 18-year-old Carleton and 19-year-old Kunga. Carleton is one of four players on the Homegrown Game roster who represented the United States at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, while Kunga is one of four who represented the U.S. at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The two players made history helping both the U.S. U-17 and U.S. U-20 National Teams reach the quarterfinals of their respective tournaments, as the U.S. became one of only two nations to advance to that stage of both tournaments.
Among the U.S. 2017 U-17 World Cup participants joining Carleton on the Homegrown roster are midfielder Chris Durkin (D.C. United) and defenders Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City) and James Sands (New York City FC). A trio of Kunga's U.S. 2017 U-20 World Cup teammates on the Homegrown squad include goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), midfielder Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake) and defender Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union). With Trusty, the Union's four Homegrown selections match the MLS record for the most players from one club in Homegrown Game history.
Representing the Canadian contingent are Canada National Team goalkeeper Sean Melvin (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and Canada U-20 midfielder Liam Fraser (Toronto FC).
LA Galaxy 16-year-old midfielder Efrain Alvarez could face some familiar faces in Tigres UANL's U-20 side, having played with Mexico's U-15 and U-17 national teams. Tigres, the defending Liga MX U-20 champions, features a roster with players who have represented Mexico at numerous youth national team stages, as well as the reserves and the first team side that has captured the Liga MX title in three out of the previous six tournaments. The Tigres U-20 traveling roster will be named at a later date.
Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan will serve as the head coach for the Homegrown Team against Tigres. Annan, who helped build Atlanta's academy from the ground up and brings over 20 years of youth development experience to the match, is one of only six coaches to hold licenses from the U.S. Soccer Academy Director's Course and the Elite Formation Coaching License course (EFCL).
One of the many highly anticipated events during the week of events surrounding 2018 MLS All-Star Atlanta, the MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® provides an annual platform in which to showcase MLS' burgeoning young talent and demonstrate the growth of the League's youth development system. MLS academies continue to attract and cultivate top-flight prospects and have now produced over 170 Homegrown Players who have signed professional contracts with MLS clubs. Vital to the long-term success of their clubs, Homegrown Players now serve more important and visible roles than ever, with academy products logging a record number of goals, assists, minutes and games played in 2017. Of note, the 94 assists compiled by Homegrown Players in 2017 is more than double the total compared to 2016.
2018 MLS Homegrown Team Roster
Goalkeepers: JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Melvin (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Defenders: Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union), James Sands (New York City FC), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)
Midfielders: Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy), Chris Durkin (D.C. United), Anthony Fontana (Philadelphia Union), Liam Fraser (Toronto FC), Lagos Kunga (Atlanta United), Wan Kuzain (Sporting Kansas City), Cameron Lindley (Orlando City SC), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake)
Forwards: Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United), Ben Mines (New York Red Bulls)
Bios for 2018 MLS Homegrown Team
JT Marcinkowski | Goalkeeper | San Jose Earthquakes | Nationality: USA | Born: May 9, 1997
Marcinkowski signed a Homegrown Player contract with San Jose on December 6, 2017 following an impressive college career at Georgetown. The keeper has also represented the United States at numerous youth national team levels. He has recorded 13 shutouts in his 24 caps between the U-14 and U-18 levels and most recently competed with the U.S. U-20s at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2017 Concacaf U-20 Championship. This is Marcinkowski's first Homegrown Game selection.
Sean Melvin | Goalkeeper | Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Nationality: Canada | Born: July 9, 1994
Melvin is a graduate of the Whitecaps FC Residency program and had an impressive first two professional seasons in the USL with Whitecaps FC 2 before joining USL affiliate Fresno FC. In the 2017 season he made 47 saves with a 1.77 goals-against average and earned a USL Team of the Week selection twice. He signed an MLS Homegrown contract in April 2018. This is Melvin's first Homegrown Game selection.
Reggie Cannon | Defender | FC Dallas | Nationality: USA | Born: June 11, 1998
Cannon signed as the 18th Homegrown Player for FC Dallas on December 22, 2016 following his freshman year at UCLA. On the 2018 season, Cannon has started in all 18 games played this regular season and has netted one goal. He has also played at the youth national team levels playing for the United States U-17 and U-19 teams. This is the defender's first MLS Homegrown Game selection.
Marco Farfan | Defender | Portland Timbers | Nationality: USA | Born: November 12, 1998
Farfan became the youngest player to sign with the Timbers in club history, signing as a Homegrown Player on October 14, 2016. The 19-year-old has four starts in eight appearances for Portland this season. Although eligible to represent Mexico, Farfan has played for the United States at multiple youth levels, most recently receiving a call to play for the U-19 team at a Florida training camp last February. In the 2016 season with the USL side Timbers 2, Farfan started all 18 of his appearances before making the jump to the first team. This is Farfan's second MLS Homegrown Game selection (2017).
Jaylin Lindsey | Defender | Sporting Kansas City | Nationality: USA | Born: March 27, 2000
Lindsey signed his Homegrown contract at the age of 17 in September 2017, becoming the third youngest signing in Sporting Kansas City history. For the 2018 season, the 18-year-old has made four starts in five games played. Prior to being signed, Lindsey has made more than 30 combined appearances for Sporting KC U-16s and U-18s and has regularly played for the United States U-17 Men's National Team from 2016-2017, making more than 25 appearances. Lindsey earns his first Homegrown Game selection.
Mark McKenzie | Defender | Philadelphia Union | Nationality: USA | Born: February 25, 1999
McKenzie was signed as a Homegrown Player on January 18, 2018 after one season with Wake Forest. He has made 11 regular appearances and 10 starts at centerback so far in the 2018 season with Philadelphia. The defender was named to MLS Team of the Week for two weeks (Week 13, 19). He recently was called up for the United States Youth National Team Summit in Florida where he played with the United States Under-20 National Team and his first call-up as a professional player at the U.S. U-20 training camp in Spain. This marks McKenzie's first Homegrown Game selection.
Matthew Real | Defender | Philadelphia Union | Nationality: USA | Born: July 10, 1999
The 18-year-old has made three regular season starts in his first few months for the Philadelphia Union after signing as a Homegrown Player in January of this year. In 2017, Real signed with Bethlehem Steel FC where he began his first professional career and started in all 17 appearances. He has made numerous national team appearances for the U.S. U-18s and now U-20s where he most recently was called up ahead of the domestic training camp in Florida in May. This is Real's first MLS Homegrown Game selection.
James Sands | Defender | New York City FC | Nationality: USA | Born: July 6, 2000
The first Homegrown Player signing in New York City FC history, Sands has regularly made appearances for the United States U-17 National Team. He anchored the U-17 team's defense and took the team to the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Sands helped NYCFC win the 2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-19 championship. This is Sands' first MLS Homegrown Game selection.
Auston Trusty | Defender | Philadelphia Union | Nationality: USA | Born: August 12, 1998
Signed as the fifth Homegrown Player in Union history in August 2016, Trusty is the first player to have graduated from Philadelphia's academy. The defender has made 18 regular season appearances this season, starting all 18, and is the only field player on the team to play every minute of every match. Trusty has represented the United States at the youth international level including appearances at the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile and the 2017 U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. Trusty was also part of the U.S. squad that captured its first Concacaf U-20 Championship title in 2017. This is his second MLS Homegrown game selection (2017).
Efrain Alvarez | Midfielder | LA Galaxy | Nationality: USA | Born: June 19, 2002
The 16-year-old signed as a Homegrown Player on March 4, 2018 becoming the seventh-youngest player to sign in MLS. Alvarez was a leader for the LA Galaxy Academy where he brought the U-17/18s to the USSDA Championships in 2017 scoring in the quarterfinal, semifinal, and championship matches. He has also had international experience playing for the U.S. Soccer Youth National Team and Mexican National Team level. This season playing with LA Galaxy II, Alvarez has eight goals scored in seven USL matches. This is Alvarez's first Homegrown Game selection.
Chris Durkin | Midfielder | D.C. United | Nationality: USA | Born: February 8, 2002
Durkin was signed as a Homegrown Player in June 2016 and he was the youngest homegrown signed in D.C. United history. He has international experience in which he started in all five matches at the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the Under-17 U.S. Men's National Team. For the 2018 season, Durkin has played in 13 regular reason matches and has started in nine of those games for D.C United. This is his first MLS Homegrown Game selection.
Anthony Fontana | Midfielder | Philadelphia Union | Nationality: USA | Born: October 14, 1999
A Union Academy graduate, Fontana signed on July 17, 2017, has made five appearances in the 2018 regular season with the Union. Fontana has international experience playing for the U.S. U-18s and recently received his first call-up at the Under-20 level by the United States for the U.S. Soccer Men's YNT Summit Camp in Florida. This is his first Homegrown Game selection.
Liam Fraser | Midfielder | Toronto FC | Nationality: Canada | Born: February 13, 1998
After playing two seasons for Toronto FC II, Fraser signed with Toronto's MLS side earlier this year. In his inaugural season with Toronto FC, Fraser has made five regular season starts in seven games. In his three seasons in the USL, the 20-year-old made 52 appearances and scored two goals. He was named captain of the Toronto FC III team for the Viareggio Cup in 2017. This is Fraser's first Homegrown game selection.
Lagos Kunga | Midfielder | Atlanta United | Nationality: USA/Angola | Born: October 20, 1998
The 19-year-old signed his Homegrown Player contract on June 17, 2017. He spent the 2017 season with Atlanta United U-18s where he scored 10 goals and made 21 appearances for the team. Kunga was called up to play in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea with the United States National Team, making four appearances and scoring one goal in the tournament. This is Kunga's first Homegrown Game selection.
Wan Kuzain | Midfielder | Sporting Kansas City | Nationality: USA | Born: September 14, 1998
Kuzain is a product of the Sporting Kansas City Academy and is the ninth Homegrown Player in club history. He is the first Sporting Kansas City Homegrown player to go from the Sporting KC Academy to USL side Swope Park Rangers to the MLS senior team. In the 2018 MLS regular season, Kuzain has started three of six appearances and has netted a goal. He represented the U.S. Under- 17 National Team in 2015. Kuzain has earned his first Homegrown Game selection.
Cameron Lindley | Midfielder | Orlando City SC | Nationality: USA | Born: July 18, 1997
Lindley had an impressive college career at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he started in every game of the first two seasons he played and was named the 2017 Atlanta Coast Conference Midfielder of the Year. Before attending UNC Chapel Hill, Lindley won a National Championship with the Chicago Fire U-18 Academy team. He has played for the United States at different youth national team levels, including the U-20 National Team training camp in 2016. This is Lindley's first Homegrown Game selection.
Paxton Pomykal | Midfielder | FC Dallas | Nationality: USA | Born: December 17, 1999
The 17-year-old was signed to a Homegrown Player contract by FC Dallas in September 2016, the 15th Homegrown Player in club history. Pomykal has played in three regular season games in the 2018 season. Most recently, Pomykal has represented the United States at the Under-18 level, scoring a goal to help the club win the 2016 Vaclav Jezek Tournament Championship in August. This is Pomykal's second MLS Homegrown game selection (2017).
Sebastian Saucedo | Midfielder | Real Salt Lake | Nationality: USA | Born: January 22, 1997
The 21-year-old signed as a Homegrown Player on July 24, 2014. Saucedo played one season on loan with Liga MX side Veracruz before rejoining Real Salt Lake in 2017, where he appeared in 20 regular season MLS games. This season, Saucedo has registered career highs with two goals and three assists over eight starts. This is Saucedo's first MLS Homegrown Game selection.
Andrew Carleton | Forward | Atlanta United | Nationality: USA | Born: June 22, 2000
The first Homegrown Player signing in Atlanta United history, Carleton has starred for the United States at multiple levels of the youth national team, most recently helping the U.S. to a second-place finish in the 2017 Concacaf U-17 Championship and a quarterfinals appearance at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Carleton scored two goals in the Concacaf U-17 Championship, including the United States' only goal in the title game. The 18-year-old has four MLS regular season appearances for Atlanta this season and has recorded one assist. This is Carleton's second MLS Homegrown Game selection (2017).
Ben Mines | Forward | New York Red Bulls | Nationality: USA | Born: May 13, 2000
Mines signed a Homegrown Player contract with the Red Bulls on January 8, 2018 after playing with U-18 and U-16 teams for the club. While playing for the U-18 team, Mines won the Golden Boot at the 2017 Generation adidas Cup. The forward also played in the USL with NYRB II before being signed to the MLS team. In the 2018 season, he scored his first career MLS goal in his first career game and start. This is his first MLS Homegrown Game selection.
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