Sporting Kansas City Academy products Tyler Freeman, Jake Davis and Tucker Lepley are set to compete at the 19th annual Nike International Friendlies next week at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. The prestigious four-team tournament will feature the Netherlands, Turkey, and two U.S. squads as Freeman joins the U-16 Boys’ National Team while Davis and Lepley both join the U-17 Men’s National Team for the first time.
Additionally, Swope Park Rangers assistant coach Chris Martinez will serve as an assistant on the U.S. U-17 coaching staff throughout the tournament. Junior Gonzalez, the interim coach of LA Galaxy II, will take head coaching duties for the U-17s, while the U-16s will be coached by FC Cincinnati Director of Player Development Larry Sunderland.
2019 Nike International Friendlies Schedule
Thursday, Nov. 14
Netherlands vs. U-16 BNT, 2:30 p.m. CT
Turkey vs. U-17 MNT, 5:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, Nov. 16
Netherlands vs. Turkey, 2:30 p.m. CT
U-16 BNT vs. U-17 MNT, 5:30 p.m. CT
Monday, Nov. 18
U-16 BNT vs. Turkey, 2:30 p.m. CT
U-17 MNT vs. Netherlands, 5:30 p.m. CT
The U.S. U-17 squad consists of 2002 birth-year players who did not represent the USA at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil. The other three teams will feature players born on or after Jan. 1, 2003.
Launched in 2001 before adopting the current format in 2008, the Nike International Friendlies were founded to provide top-level competition for the U-17 MNT and stand as one of the premier annual events on the youth soccer calendar. Current Sporting players and fellow Academy products Gianluca Busio (2017, 2018) and Jaylin Lindsey (2015, 2016) both competed in two editions of the event, with Lindsey helping the USA claim the tournament title in 2016.
Freeman, a 16-year-old forward who signed for Sporting as a Homegrown Player in October 2018, previously represented the U.S. at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship in May, where the Americans finished as runners-up to Mexico. One of five MLS Homegrown Players on the U-16 squad, Freeman started 12 of 17 USL Championship appearances for the Swope Park Rangers during his first professional season in 2019. He opened his SPR scoring account with the game-winning strike in a 4-3 victory over Hartford Athletic on July 17 at Children’s Mercy Park.
Davis, a 17-year-old midfielder from Rochester, Michigan, joined the Sporting KC Academy in 2017. After starring for the U-17s and competing with Sporting’s first team at 2019 preseason training in Arizona, he signed an Academy contract with the Rangers ahead of the USL Championship campaign. He assisted two goals in five appearances for SPR before linking up with the Sporting KC U-19s for the start of the 2019-20 Development Academy season.
Like Davis, Lepley spent the 2019 preseason with Sporting’s first team. The 17-year-old’s standout performances for the Sporting KC U-17s landed him an Academy contract with SPR in April, and the diminutive winger ended the 2019 USL Championship season with starts in six of 10 appearances. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Lepley joined the Sporting KC Academy in 2018 and has scored two league goals for the Sporting KC U-19s this fall.
U-17 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; HOMETOWN)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ethan Wady (Chelsea/ENG; Wake Forest, N.C.), Seth Wilson (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas)
DEFENDERS (7): Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.), Antino Lopez (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Bryson Hankins (Seattle Sounders FC; Bakersfield, Calif.), Joshua Ramsey (Solar Soccer Club; Plano, Texas), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.), Jonathan Tomkinson (Norwich City/ENG; Plano, Texas), Rickson van Hees (NEC Nijmegen/NED; Oss, Netherlands)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Jacob Davis (Sporting Kansas City; Rochester, Mich.), Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.), Damian Rivera (New England Revolution; Cranston, R.I.), Pablo Soares (Bourssia Monchengladbach/GER; Krefeld, Germany)
FORWARDS (7): Sagir David Arce (Monarcas Morelia/MEX; Morelia, Mexico), Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), Jack Imperato (CD Roda/ESP; San Jose, Calif.), Noah Jones (RB Leipzig/GER; Berlin, Germany), Tucker Lepley (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), Joshua Pynadath (Ajax/NED; Los Altos Hills, Calif.), Bailey Sparks (Solar Soccer Club; Plano, Texas)
U-16 BOYS' NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; HOMETOWN)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Anthony Ramos (LA Galaxy; Torrance, Calif.), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire; Addison, Ill.)
DEFENDERS (7): Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Jonathan Gomez (FC Dallas; Keller, Texas), Noah Hall (Columbus Crew SC; Cincinnati, Ohio), Dante Huckaby (Philadelphia Union; Morgantown, W.V.), Eric Kinzner (Seattle Sounders FC; Tacoma, Wash.), Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy; Lakewood, Calif.), Casey Walls (San Jose Earthquakes; Mill Valley, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Javier Casas (Chicago Fire; Addison, Ill.), Daniel Edelman (Players Development Academy; Warren, N.J.), Sota Kitahara (Seattle Sounders FC; Edmonds, Wash.), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Middle Village, N.Y.), Moses Nyeman (D.C. United; Riverdale, Md.)
FORWARDS (6): Patrick Bohui (Philadelphia Union; Harrisburg, Pa.), Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City; Shawnee, Kan.), Alex Monis (Chicago Fire; Naperville, Ill.), Kevin Paredes (D.C. United; South Riding, Va.), Samuel Sarver (Columbus Crew SC; Beachwood, Ohio), Dante Sealy (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas)