Sporting KC midfielder Gianluca Busio features for U.S. U-17s in England

Gianluca Busio 2 - Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas - July 28, 2018

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio started for the U.S. U-17 Men's National Team on Friday as the Americans took a 3-1 loss to England in the opener of the 2018 Under-17 International Youth Tournament at Deva Stadium in Chester, England.

Busio and the U.S. began brightly, with Griffin Yow giving the visitors a 1-0 lead on 16 minutes, but the hosts responded with three unanswered goals in the 47th, 71st and 89th minutes. England is the defending FIFA U-17 World Cup champion, having hoisted the trophy last October after defeating Spain in the final.

A 16-year-old product of the Sporting KC Academy, Busio was not involved Sunday as the U.S. U-17s bounced back with a 3-2 victory over Brazil. Yow, Alfonso Ocampo Chavez and Joe Scally found the back of the net in an exciting encounter at Weaver Stadium in Nantwich.

Guided by head coach Shaun Tsakiris, the U.S. U-17s will conclude their tournament campaign on Tuesday, facing Russia at Wincham Park in Northwich. The International Youth Tournament in England will serve as the Americans’ final tune-up ahead of the 2018 Nike International Friendlies in late November at Lakewood Ranch, Florida. This group of U-17s is forming the core that will attempt to qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup via the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship next spring.

Busio, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, signed for Sporting KC as a Homegrown Player in August 2017 at age 15, becoming the second-youngest player in MLS history at the time. He has enjoyed a breakthrough 2018 campaign at the club level, playing seven competitive matches for playoff-bound Sporting KC in addition to starting nine of 10 USL appearances for the Swope Park Rangers, who secured a postseason berth Sunday with a 5-1 win over LA Galaxy II at Children's Mercy Park.