Photo courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 / Alphonso Davies
When Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 announced on February 23 the signing of 15-year-old Alphonso Davies, it didn’t only make the Academy standout the youngest signing in USL history, it also foreshadowed what would be an outstanding year for young players in the USL as a whole.
After becoming the youngest goal-scorer in USL history against the LA Galaxy II in May, Davies then landed at the No. 8 position in the first edition of the USL 20 Under 20. Fellow Cascadia standout and U.S. U20 international Victor Mansaray of Seattle Sounders FC 2 claimed the top spot in the series that shone the spotlight on the league’s top players aged 20 and under.
Other young players also set new marks, with 2016 USL Rookie of the Year Brandon Allen of the New York Red Bulls II setting a USL rookie record with 15 goals. Fellow 23-year-old Villyan Bijev of the Portland Timbers 2 and 21-year-olds Jack McBean of the LA Galaxy II and Amer Didic of the Swope Park Rangers joined Allen on the USL All-League First Team, too, as they shone throughout the 2016 season.
Photo courtesy of Orlando City B / Pierre Da Silva
With the likes of U.S. and Canadian youth internationals Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC II), Kadin Chung (Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2), Pierre Da Silva (Orlando City B) and young overseas standouts such as Kevin Oliveira (Swope Park Rangers) and Victor Arboleda (Portland Timbers 2) coming off strong seasons of their own, there’s much to look forward to in the USL next year.
Photo courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC 2 / Victor Mansaray