The play of Monterrey’s Jonathan Gonzalez (pictured) was one of the 2017 Liga MX Apertura’s most significant developments. (Photo: Mexsport)
As 2018 quickly approaches, CONCACAF.com is taking a look back at the most interesting items from throughout the Confederation over the previous 12 months. Today, we examine five of the best players born in 1999 and who participated in at least one official CONCACAF or FIFA competition in 2017. Although the list is not intended to encompass of all the top players, these five competitors made a large impression.
CONCACAF 2017: FIVE OF THE BEST PLAYERS BORN IN 1999
#1: Jonathan Gonzalez, Midfielder (Monterrey/Mexico & USA U20); April 18, 1999
In February, Gonzalez kicked off his 2017 campaign by appearing in one game during the United States’ run to its first-ever CONCACAF Under-20 Championship title. By the end of the year, he was a key member of the Monterrey side that earned the Liga MX Apertura’s best regular-season record, reached the final before falling to Tigres and was crowned the 2017 Copa MX Apertura champion. As a result of his high-level performances, Gonzalez was named to the 2017 Liga MX Apertura Best XI, appearing in a combined 21 regular and post-season matches.
#2: Tyler Adams, Midfielder (New York Red Bulls/USA & USA); February 14, 1999
Adams enjoyed an outstanding 2017, helping the United States capture its first-ever CONCACAF Under-20 Championship title (4 games/0 goals) and competing in the FIFA U-20 World Cup (5/0). With the New York Red Bulls, he scored two goals in 24 regular-season appearances, also playing in three playoff games. On November 14, Adams earned his first U.S. senior, going the entire way in a 1-1 draw at Portugal. In 2015, the midfielder/defender Adams played in each of the USA’s matches in the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship (6/0) and the FIFA U-17 World Cup (3/0).
#3: Edwin Lara, Defender (Pachuca/Mexico) September 9, 1999
After playing for the United States U17 national team in friendlies a year earlier, Lara -- a month after turning 16-years-old – appeared in one match for Mexico in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He competed for the San Jose Earthquakes youth academy, before joining Pachuca, where he continues to climb the ladder. On August 15, 2017, Lara made his first-team debut, going the whole way as the Tuzos earned a 1-0 win over host Queretaro in a Copa MX Apertura match.
#4: Wesly Decas, Defender (FC Juarez/Mexico & Honduras U20); August 11, 1999
In August, Honduras under-20 standout Wesly Decas joined Ascenso MX side FC Juarez. The 18-year-old defender was one of the top players in the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, helping the Catrachos finish as runner-up to the United States (6 games/0 goals) and a place in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup (3/0). Decas was also part of the Honduras squad that captured the 2017 Central American Games title (1/0), playing the entire match in a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in the final.
#5: Andy Reyes (Pachuca/Mexico & Costa Rica U20); April 6, 1999
After scoring seven goals in 41 games for Carmelita in the Costa Rican top-flight, Andy Reyes signed with Mexican power Pachuca in July. The forward netted three times in 12 matches for the Tuzos during 2017 Fuerzas Básicas Under-20 play. With Costa Rica, Reyes was second on the 2015 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship scoring chart (5 goals), going on to play in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup (4 games/1 goal), the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship (4/1) and the 2017 Central American Games (4/0).