1. Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire)
At just 18 years of age, Slonina has broken into the Chicago Fire first team, been the number one goalkeeper on the roster, had his international future competed for (he chose the United States over Poland) as well as been signed by Premier League side Chelsea who won the race for his signature over Real Madrid.
In August this year, his transfer for around £10 million to Chelsea was announced and “Gaga” has been loaned back to Chicago Fire until the end of the MLS season.
During all the off-field speculation, Slonina’s form dipped but since confirming his international and club future he has been back to his best.
Slonina manages his defense well. He has the confidence to organize and guide his defenders, many with far more experience than him, throughout the game. What makes him stand out is his shot-stopping ability which has helped him to keep 12 clean sheets in 31 games, just one behind league-leader Andre Blake of the Philadelphia Union.
At 6-foot-4 he is a big presence in the goal, though has a slight build which no doubt will be worked on in a similar way to when David De Gea arrived at Manchester United back in 2011.
The young goalkeeper has a big future ahead of him and will link up with some of the best players in the world in the Premier League later this year.
Noel Buck (New England Revolution)
Brian Gutiérrez (Chicago Fire)
Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake)
Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union)
Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty (Toronto FC)
Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls)
Serge Ngoma (New York Red Bulls)
Owen Wolff (Austin FC)
While MLS continues to grow its reputation around the world, the teams’ academies continue to show their ability to develop first-team ready players with potential in some of the top leagues in the world.
As the USMNT and Canadian National Team continue to compete well, and jointly host a World Cup in four years’ time, a number of these players could have earned key roles for their countries by the time 2026 comes around.