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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Rise of young soccer players in world

    By Giovanni Galvez

    Staff Writer

      The world of soccer constantly changes with player injuries, team buy outs, new managers, and different champions every season. However, a fairly new change that has been occuring in the recent years is the rise of teenage players in top league teams.

      During the 1950s and 1960s, the number of teens playing in a professional team was very low. Yet, Brazilian teenager Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also known as Pelé, became the first teenager to play for any major league. At the age of 16, Pelé made his debut in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A league for the team Santos, and by the age of 17 he was a major star in Brazil.

      “Pelé has been voted the greatest [soccer player] of all-time […] Widely regarded as [soccer’s] first superstar, he is still the youngest player ever to appear in a World Cup final featuring in the culmination of the 1958 tournament aged just 17,” stated Independent magazine writer, Rob Knight.

      After Pelé, the number of teenagers becoming soccer stars continued to stay at a noticeably low count. It was not until 2015 when another teenage phenomenon paved the way for future young stars.

      Kylian Mbappe, a 20 year old French player, made his debut as a professional at the age of 16 years old for the club Monaco AS in France. He became the youngest to ever play for Monaco, breaking the record set by French player Thierry Henry.

      Unknowingly, Mbappe’s accomplishments during his teen years influenced many coaches to believe the future of soccer were within the young teens.

      A majority of these new stars are being brought up from club youth academies all over the world, where they start training while they are still adolescents. Through years of being properly trained to play at a higher competitive level, teenagers prove that they are ready to play in the major leagues.

      Academies such as Ajax, Chelsea, and Monaco have produced some of the best young soccer players in the past decade.

      The starfront of young professional players is currently led by Vinicius Junior, Justin Kluivert, Matthijs de Ligt, and Jadon Sancho. These players have proven to be the best on their club team by earning a starting spot, along with becoming a few of the best youngsters to earn a spot on their respective national team.

      The impact these young players have on their teams is so significant that they were able to make their club into a winning team. Kluivert and de Ligt were both able to be part of a turn around for Ajax, as the club once again became a top tier team in Europe. Junior and Real Madrid are currently third place in the Spanish league, while hoping to be successful in the rounds of 16 of the Champions League. In Germany, Sancho takes a large part in Borussia Dortmund’s success of winning league, and the team being one of the 16 teams left in the Champions League.

      Although there are only a few teenagers currently who are acknowledged in soccer, there are many more players trailing behind, slowly emerging onto professional teams.

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