Sporting KC Academy player Aiden Benitez called up to El Salvador U-20s for trio of April friendlies


Sporting Kansas City Academy player Aiden Benitez has earned a youth national team call-up, joining the El Salvador's U-20s for three friendlies later this month. Benitez and La Selecta will host Texas Select FC and Pacific Regional from April 23-26 in El Salvador as they prepare for the Concacaf U-20 Championship later this year.

El Salvador U-20 MYNT: April Friendlies

  • Tuesday, April 23 vs. Texas Select FC (4 p.m. CT)
  • Wednesday, April 24 vs. Texas Select FC (4 p.m. CT)
  • Friday, April 26 vs. Pacific Regional (4 p.m. CT)

Benitez, an Indiana native, joined the Sporting Kansas City Academy in the fall of 2022 and has represented the U-17s for the past two seasons in MLS NEXT. Typically playing as a No. 9, the 16-year-old has competed with the SKC Academy at prestigious MLS NEXT competitions such as the 2023 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, 2023 MLS NEXT FLEX and the 2024 GA Cup.

Earlier this month, Benitez helped lead the U-17s to the Generation adidas Cup championship bracket quarterfinals with a match-leveling penalty in the Round of 16 against FC Cincinnati. The calm and collected forward then sank the match-sealing penalty in kicks from the spot to advance Sporting into the quarters.

Before joining the prestigious Sporting KC Academy, Benitez rose through the ranks of the MLS NEXT Academy Indiana Fire as well as the Indy Eleven USL Academy. He signed a USL Acadmey contract with Indy Eleven in 2021 and renewed it ahead of the 2022 USL Championship season. While with the Indiana Fire, Benitez earned a call-up to a Mexico U-16 Youth National Team Camp.

The three friendlies for El Salvador will serve as the first tune-up ahead of the 2024 Concacaf U-20 Championship which will run from July 19 to Aug. 4. El Salvador earned their spot in the tournament by winning Group B in Qualification with a record of 3-0-1. They were drawn into a group with Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Canada. Dates and times for the competition will be announced at a later date.

Goalkeepers: Daniel Franco (Alianza) and Alexander Aguilar (DC United Academy)

Defenders: René Fuentes (Atlético Talleres), Justin Carillo (Cartaginés), Kiano Casamalhuapa (Cincinnati), Carlos Díaz (LA FC), Isaac Abrego (Karlmar FF), William Molina (Atlético Balboa) and Aiden Benítez (Sporting Kansas City).

Midfielders: Christopher Guardado (Isidro Metapán), Gabriel Arnold (LA Galaxy Academy), Adrián Murgas (Academy Mathias Almeida), Bryan Pena (Intercontinental), Walter Menjivar (Atletico Comalapa), Diego Rodríguez (LA Galaxy Academy), Marco Bolaños (Weston FC), Marcos Casillas (Rayo Vallecano), Bryan Vasquez (Cincinnati), Marcos Flores, Nelson Diaz (Brasilia), Diego Guardado (Schalke 04), Joshua Sosa (Barca Residensy), Steven Guerra (Dragón), Mario Erazo (GFI Academy ) and Raúl Avals (North Carolina Academy)

Forwards: Wilber Díaz (Santa Tecla), Isaiah Flor (De Anza), Víctor Doval (Lank) and Elías Molina (Angelholm)

Benitez will return to Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri, after his time in El Salvador and will join the Academy as they prepare for the rest of the MLS NEXT season. Fans can follow everything happening in the Sporting KC Academy by following @SKCAcademy on X or visiting