Pair of U.S. U-18 attackers headed to Europe

[AMERICANS ABROAD] A pair of attackers on the U.S. under-18 men’s national team are headed to Europe. Marquette confirmed that midfielder Andrija Novakovich will forgo playing for the Golden Eagles and move to Reading in England, while forward Dembakwi Yomba tweeted that he had signed with Atletico Madrid and would be returning to Spain in three months.

Novakovich, the top player to come out of Wisconsin in recent years, recently spent two weeks at Reading on trial. He first joined the national team program last summer with the U-18s. He was eligible to sign with Reading, currently sixth in the League Championship, because his mother was born in England. His father hails from Serbia.

"It was a bittersweet decision, and I am so grateful for the guidance and help Coach [Louis] Bennett and the soccer staff have given me," said the 17-year-old Novakovich in a statement released by Marquette. "Signing the letter of intent to play at Marquette was a proud point for me, and I will forever consider myself a Golden Eagle."

Yomba, who was born in Sierra Leone, had been part of the U-17 residency program before joining the U-18s.  He also plays for Concorde Fire in Georgia and had verbally committed to North Carolina.

Both Novakovich and Yomba played for the USA at the Limoges Tournament in France last fall and Copa del Atlantico in Spain this winter. The top prize in the U-18 group is unsigned Mukwelle Akale, named the top player at the Copa del Atlantico.

4 comments about "Pair of U.S. U-18 attackers headed to Europe".
  1. James Froehlich, April 7, 2014 at 8:28 p.m.

    Two more players thankfully escape the college trap. Hope to see them eventually on the USMNT.

  2. James Froehlich, April 7, 2014 at 8:44 p.m.

    I find it interesting that Novakavitch didn't show up on US Soccer's radar until a year and a half ago! Can that be right?

  3. Wesley Hunt, April 8, 2014 at 7:29 a.m.

    Once again the best thing that can happen to a young talented U18 soccer player in this country is to have a European born parent. Otherwise it is college soccer or nothing.

  4. Mark Hardt, April 8, 2014 at 9:17 a.m.

    I am not so sure College is that bad. I grew up in the Shadow of the University of Akron soccer program and the MLS is littered with UA grads under Caleb POrter now with Portland. I am sure Perry Kitchen and others will get a UMNT look at some point. Consider the MLS is now outperforming the Europeans by leaps and bounds this year and will hold a majority of seats to Brazil.

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