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Talented US youngsters sign for Spanish sides Sevilla, Espanyol

Jul 31, 2014, 6:02 PM EDT


Two young American players will be flying the flag in La Liga next season at two of the most respected academies in Spain.

For the upcoming season 13-year-old Noah Leeds from New York City and 12-year-old Colby Kraynak from Florida will both be playing overseas for Sevilla and Espanyol respectively.

The number of Americans playing in youth academies across Europe is fairly low, however the trend seems to be changing over the past few months. Leeds and Kraynak are at the forefront of it as their families have moved to Spain in order to help make their dreams a reality.

In this report from Soccer Nation, they track the story of Noah Leeds as his family flew to Sevilla with him and after a trial was set up (following an initial rejection) then he was invited back to become a part of Sevilla’s academy. Leeds formerly played for the New York Red Bulls academy and the midfielder seems to have a bright future with the reigning Europa League champions.

Elsewhere, TopDrawerSoccer has the story on Kraynak signing for Barcelona-based Espanyol on a one-year deal. The 12-year-old was previously in line to sign with FC Barcelona but the transfer ban imposed on Barca earlier this year put a stop to Kraynak’s move to the famed La Masia academy. The talented Floridian player has trained with Bayer Leverkusen and Chicago Fire in the past and is certainly one to keep an eye on for the future.

So, is this trend of young American players swapping youth soccer in the U.S. for academies in Europe set to become more popular in the coming months and years?

Even thought it’s too early to thinking about these players as U.S. national prospects, surely it can’t harm the future of soccer in America. Right?

  1. delegator - Jul 31, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Wow, that is some commitment but the families to move across the Atlantic just so their kids can be in a football academy. I grew up in Western NY and remember the occasional kid moving to Florida to pursue tennis (Jimmy Arias) or to Pennsylvania to pursue gymnastics. It has to be strange when your family puts all that into your budding career, only to see it peak at age 19 and never fulfill the rosy projections for one reason or another.

    • charliej11 - Aug 1, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      And by rosy projection, you mean that they take way more youngsters than they need and most don’t live up to “projections”

  2. Redacción - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    This information is false. I´m spanish journilst on svqfutbol, especialized in academy of Sevilla FC and Betis. And this information is not true. It´s false. Its a trick of the family to wroth the child!! Why don´t you check the information you publish?

    • frankiefablo - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      As an American and a fan of the beautiful game, I can say for certain that I am 100% against wrothing children…whatever that might be.

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