No disrespect to Carlos Bacca, but the Colombian forward's status as AC Milan’s premier forward has somewhat come to symbolize the seven-time European champion's fall from grace. More industrious than stardust, Bacca simply isn’t cut from the same cloth of Andriy Shevhenko, Filippo Inzaghi or Marco van Basten.
Seventeen-year-old Orlando City SC U-17/18 forward Alejandro Pereira put the exclamation point on a year that’s had its fair share of incredibly acrobatic goals with this breathtaking overhead kick at the 2017 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in Westfield, Indiana.
The Ovideo, Florida native put the finishing touches on a 2-0 victory for Orlando over Pateadores U-17/18, a club from Irvine, California.
Freddy Adu needs no introduction. After Sierra Mist told everyone that he would fix the ozone layer as a 14-year-old boy wonder, he’s instead gone on to play professional soccer for 13 years. A lot of people still aren’t happy about that and want him to get up there and fix that damn part of the stratosphere, but we say just leave him alone.
When we last heard from Adu he was on trial with the Portland Timbers before the start of the 2017 MLS season. However, a contract never materialized.
Spain will approach the 2018 World Cup as a nation largely in transition. Nobody’s ready to write off the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Cesc Fabregas, but this could well be the last World Cup for all of them.
If history repeats itself, we should expect Real Madrid or Barcelona to splash cash on promising youth prodigies. Earlier this year, Real Madrid spent 45 million Euros on 16-year-old Vinicius Junior, who doesn't have any first team experience.
Golden generation. What does it mean? On the one hand, it can mean that you’ve got the likes of David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand all getting in each other's way while Steve McClaren holds an umbrella.
On the other, you’ve got Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Ze Roberto, Roberto Carlos, Cafu and Kaka providing jobs for millions of Nike employees around the world and teaching us all that ginga isn’t a tower game for gingers.
Taking such a strong team to the Under-21 European Championships was meant to be a key moment in the development of Italy’s next generation of talent. Players such as Bernardeschi and Chiesa would gain experience in a tournament environment, easing them into contention for next year’s World Cup. Among the exciting array of talent, however, there was one real jewel in the crown.
On Sunday, England won the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, sparking snarky Brits to declare the nation had finally ended its 51-year cycle of hurt, dating back to last winning the World Cup in 1966.
Despite being home to arguably the world’s most entertaining league, England has consistently failed to flatter at the international level. A stellar crop of English players (including David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Michael Owen) in the 2000s were dubbed the Golden Generation. Their play at the highest level didn’t exactly live up to the lofty moniker.
It’s that time of year again, when football’s biggest stars trapeze around different Spainish isles, drop anchor off the coast of Ibiza and sleep on the streets of Tenerife. One of these days, The18 staff is going to invest in some large dolphin floaties and report live from the Mediterranean Sea while sipping on Skittles vodka, but today is not that day.
The 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship (now known as the U-20 World Cup) showcased some sensational young talent in Nigeria. Spain, the tournament’s champion, had both Iker Casillas and Xavi in its squad. Mali captured third place off the strength of a midfield boasting the greatest Malian footballer of all-time and the tournament’s Golden Ball recipient, future two-time UEFA Champions League-winner Seydou Keita, as well as future Real Madrid star Mahamadou Diarra.