Real Salt Lake FW Sebastian Saucedo Named to the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game
SANDY, Utah - Real Salt Lake FW Sebastian Saucedo is among 18 players selected to the MLS Homegrown Team by head coach Tony Annan for the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer®. The roster features some of the league's most accomplished young stars who will take on the Tigres UANL Under-20 Team in the fifth annual MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® on Tuesday, July 31 at 6:00 p.m. MT at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground.
"It is a big jump in our league for players to move from the Academy to the MLS level in attacking positions. We are seeing the results of the hard work Bofo has put in to make an impact with Real Salt Lake and we are proud of that progress that he has made," RSL General Manager Craig Waibel said. "We take pride in our youth development and to continue to have players from our organization earn spots in games like this is confirmation of that emphasis."
Saucedo is in his third season with Real Salt Lake after signing in 2014. He played the 2015 season with RSL before going on loan to Veracruz in Mexico for the 2016 season. Upon his return, he made 20 appearances, five in a starting role, for RSL in 2017, notching two assists. Thus far this season, he has two goals and three assists in 15 appearances, eight of them starts. He has started in seven of the last eight matches for RSL, who is 5-2-1 in that stretch to move into fourth place in the Western Conference at 9-8-2 (29 points). Internationally, Saucedo played with the U.S. U-20 National Team in 2017, wining the CONCACAF U-20 Championship for the first time and reaching the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
"It's an achievement. This Homegrown game represents the best talent of the young players in MLS. To be called up, it's an honor," Saucedo said. "You're representing the club and playing against a top team in Tigres from Mexico. You're also representing the league. So it's an opportunity for everyone coming from different clubs to showcase themselves and be able to see that they deserve more minutes and opportunities in their club. We all just have to take advantage."
In previous years, Real Salt Lake has had DF Carlos Salcedo, DF Danilo Acosta, DF Justen Glad, MF Jordan Allen, DF Phanuel Kavita, DF Brooks Lennon and MF Jose Hernandez named to the roster for the Homegrown Game.
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 Andrew Carleton and 19-year-old Lagos 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)
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