ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City SC Homegrown midfielder Cam Lindley will join Major League Soccer’s talented roster for the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® , as players from the youth national teams of the United States, Mexico and Canada will represent the league in the annual showcase. The team, to be coached by Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan, features some of the league’s most accomplished young stars who will take on Tigres UANL’s Under-20 Team in the fifth annual MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday, July 31 at 8 p.m. ET at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground (UDN / Twitter.com).
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 by CLICKING HERE.
Lindley, 20, started three of City’s first four matches of the season after being acquired from the Chicago Fire on Jan. 18. The midfielder had an impressive college career at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he started in every game of the first two seasons he played and was named the 2017 Atlanta Coast Conference Midfielder of the Year. Before attending UNC Chapel Hill, Lindley won a National Championship with the Chicago Fire U-18 Academy team. He has played for the United States at different youth national team levels, including the U-20 National Team training camp in 2016. This is Lindley’s first Homegrown Game selection.
The Homegrown Team also includes 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.