One of the U.S. Youth National Team's brightest prospects, forward Josh Sargent has made waves of late not only for the U-17 Men's National Team, but also as part of the U.S. team that advance to the quarterfinals at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic.
Now, the U-17 Men’s National Team opens the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup on Friday, Oct. 6 against India in a Group A showdown that can be seen at 10:30 a.m. ET on FS2 and UNIVERSO. Sargent, who serves as the U-17s captain, recently reached an agreement to sign a professional contract with German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen when he turns 18 next February. Here are five things you should know about the O'Fallon, Mo., product.
St. Louis Bred
Hailing from the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon, Josh Sargent made early plans when it came to soccer. According to his mother Liane, the future U-17 MNT forward learned how to kick a ball at age three and began telling friends and family that he was going to be a professional soccer player one day.
The soccer-rich environment of St. Louis certainly helped nurture those ambitions, but they were cultivated by his family as well. Both Liane and his father Jeff played collegiately, while his two sisters are also following in his footsteps in the game.
St. Louis Scott Gallagher
Sargent follows a long line of talent that suited up for powerhouse U.S. Soccer Development Academy Club St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri, including current MNT defender Tim Ream, assistant coach Pat Noonan and former U.S. international Taylor Twellman.
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Along with having a soccer family, Sargent credits the players and staff at SLSG for helping him reach the U.S. Youth National Team setup.
“It has been great these past few years. Playing in the Development Academy has really improved my game and the coaches know what they’re talking about,” Sargent told ussoccer.com last October. “The coaches are great guys. They’ve not only taught me how to be a better soccer player but how to become a better person overall. They are the type of people that will take care of you, mentor you, and show you what to do and how to do it.”
U.S. Youth National Teams
Having first appeared at a U-14 Training Camp in 2013, Sargent progressed on to the U-15 level where he notably took part in an international training camp in England in 2015.
Towards the end of that year, Sargent played for the rising U-15 Boys National Team at the 2015 Nike International Friendlies and then joined the U-17 MNT Residency Program. Prior to the 2017 FIFA U-17 Championship in April, Sargent amassed 14 goals and seven assists in 29 international matches, including his four goals and two assists during three matches as the U.S. won the 2016 Nike International Friendlies.
Sargent captained the U-17 MNT at this spring's regional World Cup Qualifying tournament, racking up five goals and two assists in five games as the U.S. finished as runners-up in the tournament. Sargent particularly impressed during the USA's 4-3 comeback win against Mexico during the Group Stage, tallying two goals, one of which made that night's SportsCenter Top 10.
WATCH: Josh Sargent's Stunning Individual Effort vs. Mexico
Sargent’s play for the U-17 and U-20 MNT put him in the spotlight for more than a few professional clubs. On Sept. 20, German club Werder Bremen officially announced their plans to sign the American teenager when he turns 18 in February. During a U-17 World Cup training camp, Sargent spoke on his plans to sign with the Bundesliga club in 2018:
“I am really excited to announce that when I turn 18 I will be signing with Werder Bremen of the Bundesliga… It’s been very fun, from the very start, ever since I’ve been in Saint Louis. My coaching staff and parents have been very supportive of what I’m doing and I’m very excited to be able to sign with a team like Bremen in the near future… I think Bremen knows that day in and day out I’ll give it my all and do everything I can to win them a trophy.”
Sargent joins a strong contingent of young U.S. players that have started their careers in Germany, including current senior team midfielder Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) as well as the Schalke trio of Weston McKennie, Nicholas Taitague and Haji Wright (currently on loan with Sandhausen).
Before settling on Bremen, Sargent was courted by a host of European clubs, undertaking a week-long training spell with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven – the club where current MNT left back DaMarcus Beasley got his European start. Then after training with the U-20 MNT in January 2017, Sargent went on a training stint with Schalke.
Days after helping the U.S. qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Sargent was named to Tab Ramos' final roster for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. With the chance to become just the second player to appear in both U-17 and U-20 World Cup events during the same year, Sargent picked up where he left off, tallying two goals to lead the comeback in the USA's 3-3 draw with Ecuador to open proceedings in Korea.
At 17 years, 91 days, Sargent became the youngest player in U.S. history to score and just the sixth U.S. player to record a multi-goal game at the event.
Sargent tallied the first goal in the U-20 MNT's 6-0 Round of 16 win against New Zealand. With the strike, Sargent took his tournament total to four goals, tying Taylor Twellman (1999), Eddie Johnson (2003) and Jozy Altidore (2007) for most by a U.S. player at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.