NYCFC’s first-ever homegrown player, James Sands, has been called up to the roster that will represent MLS in the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer®.
James Sands has regularly made appearances for the United States U-17 National Team and has anchored the U-17 team’s defense, taking the team to the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
More recently, Sands struck the winning penalty kick to help NYCFC win the 2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-19 Championship in Kansas City, MO. Just 24 hours after winning in penalty kicks, Sands was part of the bench of the team that won 3-0 against Montreal Impact Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
This will be the first MLS Homegrown Game selection for Sands.
The team, who will be coached by Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan, will take on Tigres UANL’s Under-20 Team in the fifth annual MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday, July 31 at 8 p.m. ET at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground (UDN / Twitter.com).
Tigres, the defending Liga MX U-20 champions, features a roster with players who have represented Mexico at numerous youth national team stages, as well as the reserves and the first team side that has captured the Liga MX title in three out of the previous six tournaments. The Tigres U-20 traveling roster will be named at a later date.
Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan will serve as the head coach for the Homegrown Team against Tigres. Annan, who helped build Atlanta’s academy from the ground up and brings over 20 years of youth development experience to the match, is one of only six coaches to hold licenses from the U.S. Soccer Academy Director’s Course and the Elite Formation Coaching License course (EFCL).
One of the many highly anticipated events during the week of events surrounding 2018 MLS All-Star Atlanta, the MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® provides an annual platform in which to showcase MLS’ burgeoning young talent and demonstrate the growth of the League’s youth development system. MLS academies continue to attract and cultivate top-flight prospects and have now produced over 170 Homegrown Players who have signed professional contracts with MLS clubs. Vital to the long-term success of their clubs, Homegrown Players now serve more important and visible roles than ever, with academy products logging a record number of goals, assists, minutes and games played in 2017. Of note, the 94 assists compiled by Homegrown Players in 2017 is more than double the total compared to 2016.
Tickets, starting at $15, may be purchased on Ticketmaster.com and includes entrance to the Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star Soccer Match presented by MLS WORKS and ESPN, held immediately prior at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground. Tickets are now available by CLICKING HERE.
2018 MLS Homegrown Team Roster
Goalkeepers: JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Melvin (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Defenders: Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union), James Sands (New York City FC), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)
Midfielders: Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy), Chris Durkin (D.C. United), Anthony Fontana (Philadelphia Union), Liam Fraser (Toronto FC), Lagos Kunga (Atlanta United), Wan Kuzain (Sporting Kansas City), Cameron Lindley (Orlando City SC), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake)
Forwards: Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United), Ben Mines (New York Red Bulls)