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How LouCity’s Academy grads are coming into their own | Young Player Spotlight

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 09/04/23, 3:05PM EDT


20-year-olds Carlos Moguel Jr., Elijah Wynder played key roles in victory at Colorado Springs

Louisville City FC's Carlos Moguel Jr. recorded the first two assists of his USL Championship career on Saturday night, continuing a breakthrough campaign for the 20-year-old. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

However talented a player is, there’s a substantial difference going from being a top player in Academy system to finding your way in the professional ranks.

Louisville City FC’s Carlos Moguel Jr. is an example of how difficult the shift between the two levels can be, and it’s one he’s learned a lot from.

“What I would say is that I think throughout this year and the last two years when I first started coming out, there were definitely some ups and downs,” said Moguel this weekend. “If I were to give some advice to some young kid coming up, I would say your time will come. It’s just staying ready and doing what you can all the time, every day, and eventually your time will come.”

For Moguel and fellow LouCity Academy graduate Elijah Wynder, that time appears to be now.

On Saturday night, Moguel notched his first two assists in the USL Championship, while Wynder notched his third goal of the season in a hard-fought 3-2 victory on the road against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC that continued the progression both players have shown this campaign.

There have been moments in the spotlight prior to this year for both. Moguel scored the decisive penalty kick in last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, while Wynder had the game-winner in the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

This season, though, each player has already logged a season-high in minutes, a sign of the trust that’s now being given to the 20-year-olds in Wynder’s fourth and Moguel’s third campaign in the USL Championship.

After the success the club achieved with Joshua Wynder – transferred to SL Benfica earlier this year – LouCity is showing there will be much more to come from its Academy in the future.

For Moguel and Elijah Wynder, meanwhile, the pathway is starting to open wide for what their futures may hold.

Here are some other top young talents that caught the eye in the past week…

- Daniel Rios, Las Vegas Lights FC – The 20-year-old El Salvadoran continued his hot streak with two more goals. That’s four in the past three games for Rios, who is coming into his own in recent outings.

- Nathan Worth, FC Tulsa – The 16-year-old was excellent in the center of midfield in Tulsa’s 2-1 win on Sunday night against San Antonio FC, completing 23 of 32 passes while linking play well and making two interceptions.

- Mohamed Traore, Phoenix Rising FC – The 21-year-old provided a sublime assist on Manuel Arteaga’s goal on Saturday night against Rio Grande Valley FC and recorded seven clearances across two appearances.

- Rocco Rios Novo, Phoenix Rising FC – The 21-year-old notched seven saves across two games, allowing only one goal and notching a shutout against RGV FC on Saturday in another impressive week of work.

- Rida Zouhir, San Antonio FC – Zouhir bagged his seventh goal of the season while trying to provide a spark for SAFC off the bench in Tulsa, ending the night with four shots and two on target.

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