Top 25 U.S. U-21 prospects 

March, 5, 2013
03/05/13
8:46
AM ET

There's been plenty to consider over the last month in creating our latest Top 25 U.S. under-21 ranking.

While club action continues in Europe and picks back up in North America, the U-20s were busy in Puebla, Mexico, getting themselves back to the U-20 World Cup after missing out last cycle. That process told us plenty about how the prospects stack up, and who could still fill a need for the U.S. this summer in Turkey.

As a result of performances in Mexico, Daniel Cuevas, Caleb Stanko and Jose Villarreal move up the list. The top 10 was also impacted by the long-term injuries to Will Packwood and Marc Pelosi, who, had they remained healthy, would have been in the top five looking toward the U-20 World Cup.

With the MLS season kicking off, there's a good bit of speculation as far as potentially increasing roles for players like Luis Gil, Jack McInerney and Perry Kitchen. It all adds up to a good deal of movement from the previous edition of the Top 25.

Here are the current Top 25 U-21 U.S. prospects:

1
John Anthony Brooks
AGE: 20
DOB: 1/28/93
CLUB (COUNTRY) Hertha Berlin (Germany)
POS: D

Brooks has come on strong over the past few months, establishing himself as a Second Bundesliga starter while seeming to grow in stature and ability. The central defender -- a solid 6-foot-3 -- has finally grown into his potential as America's best prospect, but has also caught the attention of the German national team. With the U-20 World Cup and Gold Cup on tap for the summer, the battle for his allegiance will likely soon play out.

PREVIOUS RANK: 2 | PLAYER CARD

Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for ESPN.com. Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.

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