MLS Preseason: Youngsters miss school to join pros in winter camps

The end of January and first week of February aren't usual weeks for winter school breaks, but more and more school-age players, players on MLS academy and second teams or recently signed to Homegrown contracts, have traveled to join MLS first teams to take part in preseason training camps.

Here's a look at some of the youngsters who are in camp.

Chicago Fire. Gilberto Angeles and Javier Casas joined the Fire for preseason training in Tampa. They did not play in the Fire's preseason opener, a 2-0 win over USF.
Columbus Crew. Colin Biros started and Sean Zawadzki saw action in the 2-1 win over Seattle on Sunday. Also with the first team in Arizona: Aboubacar Keita and Logan Kowalczyk.

Houston Dynamo. Marcelo Palomino, 16, scored in the Dynamo's second goal in the 2-0 win over the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and had an assist in the 9-1 win over USL affiliate RGV FC. After the week with the Dynamo in  Rio Grande Valley, he left to join the U.S. U-18s for a week-long camp in Florida.

LA Galaxy. The Galaxy's two most highly regarded young players, Ulysses Llanez and Efrain Alvarez, played with second unit in the 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Alex Mendez came on the third 30-minute period. Leo Sepulveda and Llanez left after the game to join the U.S. U-18s. In all, 11 Galaxy II and academy players have taken part in preseason training.

New England Revolution. Rhode Island high school senior Isaac Angking, recently signed to a Homegrown contract, played the second half of the Revs' 1-0 loss to Swedish club Malmo on Saturday.

New York City FC. Five academy players joined the first team for the first time on its trip to Jacksonville: Joe Scally, Tyler Shaver, Justin Haak, Dante Polvara and Gio Reyna.

New York Red Bulls. Ben Mines, the 17-year-old Connecticut native signed to a Homegrown contract in January, scored the winner in the Red Bulls' 4-3 win over Philadelphia to conclude the first stage of preseason in Florida. He had also scored in the opening game, a 4-0 win over USF.

Philadelphia Union. Brenden Aaronson, Tomas Romero and Michael Pellegrino, all three from South Jersey, are with the Union in Clearwater, Florida.

San Jose Earthquakes. Both Homegrown signings Jacob Akanyirige, 16, and Gilbert Fuentes, 15, played in the Quakes' 0-0 draw against the Portland Timbers in Tucson on Wednesday morning.

Seattle Sounders. Khai Brisco, Ray Serrano and Dylan Teves all played in the 2-1 win over Portland on Saturday and 2-1 loss to Columbus on Sunday in Tucson. Also in camp are 18-year-old Sam Rogers and 16-year-old Azriel Gonzalez, who are signed to S2, the Sounders' second team in the USL.

Sporting Kansas City. Both Sebastian Cruz and Cameron Duke played 60 minutes over Sporting KC's three games during its stay at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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