Diego Luna (left), Darren Yapi (center) and Jonathan Gomez (right) are among the 14 players with USL Championship and League One experience in the United States squad for the FIFA Men's U-20 World Cup in Argentina that kicks off on Saturday.
The 2023 FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup kicks off this Saturday in Argentina, with 24 countries set to compete for the title across the three-week tournament in one of the world’s historic soccer nations.
The United States will be among them after winning the Concacaf Men’s U-20 Championship last summer, with current Louisville City FC center back Joshua Wynder one of 14 players that have competed in the USL Championship or USL League One on their path to the tournament.
Here’s a look at each player as the side gets ready to play Ecuador on Saturday afternoon (2 p.m. ET | Telemundo | Fox Soccer Plus).
Justin Che, North Texas SC (2020)
USL League One Debut: July 25, 2020
Age: 16 years, 250 days
Honors: 2020 USL League One All-League First Team
Justin Che was one of the standouts of the 2020 League One season for North Texas SC as he made 16 appearances and logged 1,427 minutes of action in the abbreviated campaign. The youngster was not only selected to the League One All-League First Team but was a finalist for Defender of the Year and Young Player of the Year. He was edged out in the latter category by fellow U.S. youth international Chris Brady, who was on loan at Forward Madison FC.
Cade Cowell, Reno 1868 FC (2019)
USL Championship Debut: June 8, 2019
Age: 15 years, 237 days
Cade Cowell only made four appearances in the USL Championship on loan with Reno 1868 FC, but he made them count. In his debut against San Antonio FC, he became the second-youngest player to score in USL Championship history, and the youngest American to find the net – both records that still stand today.
Brandan Craig, Philadelphia Union II (2020)
USL Championship Debut: July 22, 2020
Age: 16 years, 106 days
Brandan Craig is the first of three Union products in the group and was a mainstay for the side during the abbreviated 2020 campaign, making 14 appearances and logging 1,062 minutes of action. The center back made 27 clearances and 17 interceptions during the season, and also bagged his first goal in the professional ranks.
Mauricio Cuevas, LA Galaxy II (2019-20)
USL Championship Debut: May 29, 2019
Age: 16 years, 108 days
Mauricio Cuevas played two seasons and 21 appearances for Los Dos in the Championship and became one of the more notable dead ball specialists in the league before turning 18 years of age. Cuevas recorded four goals directly from free kicks in the 2020 season, tying for the league-lead, and also recorded five assists during his time in the Championship.
Daniel Edelman, New York Red Bulls II (2020-22)
USL Championship Debut: July 17, 2020
Age: 17 years, 80 days
Daniel Edelman was the captain of the United States U-20s during their run through the Concacaf U-20 Championship, and his 39 appearances across two-plus seasons with the Red Bulls II place him tied for the fourth-most games played in the USL Championship in the group. The holding midfielder logged 2,975 minutes of action and made four appearances for the Red Bulls II in the 2022 campaign before becoming a notable young talent for the Red Bulls.
Marcus Ferkranus, LA Galaxy II (2020-22), Phoenix Rising FC (2022)
USL Championship Debut: July 11, 2020
Age: 17 years, 62 days
Marcus Ferkranus emerged three years ago from the Galaxy Academy and has seen extensive time in the USL Championship both with Los Dos and then late in the 2022 season on loan with Phoenix Rising FC to build his career. The center back has made 40 appearances in the Championship during his career, logging just over 2,000 minutes of action, as he awaits his MLS debut.
Jonathan Gomez, North Texas SC (2019), Louisville City FC (2020-21)
USL League One Debut: May 29, 2019
Age: 15 years, 270 days
USL Championship Debut: July 12, 2020
Age: 16 years, 315 days
Honors: 2019 League One title, 2021 USL Championship All-League First Team, 2021 USL Championship Young Player of the Year
Jonathan Gomez is the lone player in the squad to have played in both League One and the Championship. The current Real Sociedad left back elected to turn pro with Louisville City FC after winning the League One title with North Texas SC in its inaugural season, and quickly rose to become one of the best-regarded young talents in America. After his individual success in 2021, Gomez was one of the first two USL Championship Players called up to the United States Men’s National Team alongside Orange County SC’s Kobi Henry, and made his senior debut that December.
Diego Luna, El Paso Locomotive FC (2021-22)
USL Championship Debut: May 8, 2021
Age: 17 years, 243 days
Honors: 2021 USL Championship All-League Second Team
Diego Luna burst onto the USL Championship scene in 2021, scoring in just his fourth appearance for El Paso Locomotive FC, and has barely looked back since. The graduate of the Barca Residency Academy turned pro with El Paso and his play throughout the 2021 season – in which he earned All-League Second Team honors and was nominated for Young Player of the Year – saw him called up to the first camp of this U.S. U-20s cycle and become a central part of the team. Luna made 42 appearances before his transfer to current club Real Salt Lake, scoring 13 goals and seven assists, and will be one to watch in Argentina.
Jack McGlynn, Philadelphia Union II (2020)
USL Championship Debut: March 7, 2020
Age: 16 years, 244 days
Jack McGlynn’s game grew impressively during the abbreviated 2020 season with the Union II, scoring four goals across his final four appearances in the campaign while ending the season with five goals and three assists. He bagged another two goals at the Concacaf U-20 Championship last summer and has become a regular part of the Philadelphia Union’s lineup over three seasons, recently logging his 50th regular season appearance in the top flight.
Kevin Paredes, Loudoun United FC (2019-20)
USL Championship Debut: Sept. 25, 2019
Age: 16 years, 141 days
Kevin Paredes’ time in the USL Championship was brief, he made just four appearances for the side before becoming part of D.C. United’s squad consistently in the spell between the opening game of the 2020 season and the respective leagues’ returns to action later that year, but the current VfL Wolfsburg midfielder notched his first professional assist for Loudoun United FC against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on his way to bigger things.
Quinn Sullivan, Philadelphia Union II (2020)
USL Championship Debut: July 18, 2020
Age: 16 years, 118 days
Quinn Sullivan featured regularly alongside Union II teammates Brandan Craig and Jack McGlynn during the abbreviated 2020 campaign, making nine appearances, and since then has become one of Philadelphia’s next wave of homegrown talent. Sullivan was voted to the Concacaf U-20 Championship Best XI after recording six goals in the tournament and has made 46 appearances in the top flight so far in his career.
Caleb Wiley, Atlanta United 2 (2020-21)
USL Championship Debut: July 11, 2020
Age: 15 years, 202 days
Caleb Wiley got thrown in at the deep end in his professional debut on the road against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2020, but over 33 appearances in the Championship emerged as a bright young prospect with the ability to play both a defensive and attacking role on the left side. Wiley notched two assists in the Championship and has since made 38 appearances in Major League Soccer, recording four goals and four assists and is among the four players to have made their senior international debut in this squad.
Joshua Wynder, Louisville City FC (2021-present)
USL Championship Debut: July 14, 2021
Age: 16 years, 73 days
Joshua Wynder became the second player to sign professionally with Louisville City FC from the club’s academy after elder brother Elijah and has quickly established himself as a key player for the club at center back and one of the top prospects in America. Age-eligible for the 2025 tournament after recently turning 18 years old, Wynder has made 41 appearances in the league, was a finalist for U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year award as well as the Championship’s Young Player of the Year award in 2022, and earned his first senior United States call-up in April.
Darren Yapi, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (2020-21)
USL Championship Debut: August 1, 2020
Age: 15 years, 256 days
Darren Yapi got his first look in the professional ranks on loan with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC from the Colorado Rapids in the 2020 before making 16 appearances for the club as it entered its new era at Weidner Field during the 2021 campaign. The forward notched two goals that season for his first in the professional ranks with his play this year in the top flight having pushed him forward as one of the late arrivals into the squad for Argentina.