Top 25 U.S. U-21 prospects

Luis Gil leads America's next group of potential USMNT contributors

Originally Published: January 21, 2013
By Brent Latham | ESPN Insider
Soccer ProspectsESPNAmerica's soccer future is bright with several talented prospects like Luis Gil, middle.

As we promised in our first edition of the U.S. 25 Under-21 Rankings, there's been plenty of movement since late last year.

Several players -- including the previous top two, Terrence Boyd and Josh Gatt -- have graduated from the list, while a number of others have taken significant steps forward with their clubs in recent months, improvement reflected by players moving up on or into the list.

With most of the players who represented the U.S. in the failed 2011 U-20 World Cup qualifying campaign moving out of the rankings due to age, the upcoming under-20 team is more heavily represented in this edition.

American fans will get to see many of these budding young stars in action in a U.S. jersey in coming months, as Tab Ramos' squad moves through qualifying in Puebla, Mexico, and potentially toward the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey. Those events will presumably have a significant impact on the rankings, which we'll revisit in March.

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

1
Luis Gil
AGE: 18
DOB: 11/14/93
CLUB (COUNTRY) Real Salt Lake (U.S.)
POS: MF

No longer the wide-eyed 16-year-old he was when RSL signed him back in 2009, Gil's time has come. The 2013 MLS season is the time for him to produce consistently. It might not be a great sign that Real Salt Lake just re-signed fellow playmaker Javier Morales, but Gil will still get plenty of minutes -- when he's not gone on U-20 national team duty. A standout performance in qualifying and potentially the 2013 U-20 World Cup could be a career-maker for the bright young prospect.

PREVIOUS RANK: 3 | 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.