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Fidel Barajas’ blast helps send Mexico into U-17 World Cup knockout stage

By Staff, 11/20/23, 11:10AM EST


2023 USL Championship Young Player of the Year provides key opening goal in victory against New Zealand

Fidel Barajas celebrates after scoring his first goal at the FIFA Men's U-17 World Cup against New Zealand on Saturday night to help lead Mexico into the Round of 16.

Add another moment to the highlight reel for 2023 USL Championship Young Player of the Year Fidel Barajas.

The Charleston Battery star helped send Mexico into the Round of 16 of the 2023 FIFA Men’s U-17 World Cup on Saturday night with an exceptional long-range strike that opened the scoring in El Tri’s 4-0 victory against New Zealand that send the side into second place in its group, and a contest against Mali on Tuesday in Indonesia.

“It’s everyone’s dream to play in a World Cup, but to score is a different feeling,” said Barajas in video posted to Mexico’s social media channels. “Knowing we had to win, I feel like that gave us more confidence to move forward and in the second half we showed it, we scored four goals.”

Barajas has recorded a goal and assist in the group stage for Mexico, which is now bidding to make a run in the knockout stage. After a remarkable season for the Battery, in which he recorded five goals and a league-high 11 assists across the regular season and playoffs, the 17-year-old is enjoying the opportunity to compete on the international stage in front of his family.

“I can say it’s the best feeling I’ve had so far at the World Cup, and in my soccer career, especially having my mother and sister in the stands,” said Barajas. “I think my mum almost cried, it’s a dream come true for her and for me, and my dad watching back home, my dad is the biggest soccer fan there is. Especially, seeing his son playing in the World Cup, it’s a dream come true for him as well, watching on TV. It’s a really good feeling for me and my family, it’s been a blast so far.”

Mexico will face Mali at 3:30 a.m. ET / 12:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday morning with the game set to air live on Telemundo and Fox Sports 2.

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