The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup will determine the continental champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
The tournament features countries such as Mexico, the United States and this year there is an invited guest…Qatar.
This region has already produced numerous incredible talents in recent years including Alphonso Davies (Canada and Bayern Munich), Leon Bailey (Jamaica and Bayer Leverkusen) and Christian Pulisic (USA and Chelsea), to name just a few. But who will be the next stars to emerge from the tournament? Below are my top 5 tips of players under 25 to keep an eye on.
Efraín Álvarez (Mexico)
Born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents, Efraín Álvarez is an integral part of the LA Galaxy side at just 19-year-old. Hopes are high for the young Mexican talent after being labelled by Zlatan Ibrahimović as, “by far the best talent in MLS”.
Álvarez shows maturity beyond his years, as he is comfortable with the ball in tight spaces and can pick out a cross-field pass with pinpoint accuracy. He scored four goals to help Mexico reach the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup final.
If he can find the back of net with more consistency for LA Galaxy then a move to Europe surely beckons.
Tyreek Magee (Jamaica)
Tyreek Magee is the second youngest player in Jamaica’s 2021 Gold Cup squad, at 21 years old. Magee is a number 10, whose main attributes are dribbling and vision.
In 2019, he signed a four year deal with Belgian club Eupen after impressing on trial. Ravel Morrison described his international teammate as “A wicked player, he could come to the Premier League and dominate, he is a little David Silva”.
After a man of the match performance against Costa Rica in the group stage of the Gold Cup, expect Magee to join a more prominent European side sooner rather than later.
Matthew Hoppe (USA)
On 9th January 2021, Hoppe became the first US player to ever score a hat-trick in the Bundesliga – for Schalke against Hoffenheim.
Despite Schalke suffering relegation last season, the striker scored 6 goals in 22 matches and was subsequently offered a new two year deal. Defensive frailties were the main issue for the German side whose goal difference at the end of the 2020-21 campaign was a horrendous minus 61.
For Hoppe, there is no such thing as a lost cause, he is eager to close down opponents and press wingbacks into mistakes or hurried clearances. With his height (6’3) and power, the 20-year-old should have a prolific season in Bundesliga 2.
Gianluca Busio (USA)
The second American on my list is Sporting Kansas City’s Gianluca Busio. At just 15 years and 89 days, Busio became the second youngest player to ever sign an MLS contract (Freddy Adu was the youngest).
The 19-year-old midfielder, is of Italian decent through his Brescia born father and has often been linked to sides in Serie A. According to MLSsoccer.com, newly promoted Venezia appear to be currently leading the chase.
Busio has a long list of attributes including free kicks, pass accuracy and breaking down defences. He is adaptable and can play on the wing, as a number 10 or false 9. However, he is not the most physical and saw three red cards during the 2019 MLS season. Despite this ill-discipline, it seems that the ‘American Pirlo’ may be set for Serie A.
Tajon Buchanan (Canada)
Buchanan is a pacey right back/winger who currently plays for New England Revolution in Major League Soccer.
His form at club level has propelled the Revs to the top of the Eastern Conference. The 22-year-old, has an impressive 3 goals and 3 assists in just 12 appearances so far this season.
While in this year’s Gold Cup he has shown his versatility by filling in on the left hand side of midfield to replace Alphonso Davies who left camp due to injury.
According to TSN Sports; RC Lens (Ligue 1), Augsburg (Bundesliga) and Club Brugge (Belgian First Division) have all tabled offers for the young Canadian this summer.