17-year-old Josh Sargent a force for US Soccer
If forward Josh Sargent wasn't on anybody's radar before, he certainly is now for U.S. Soccer at the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.
Sargent, who turned 17 in February, tied the American scoring record for the event Wednesday night in a 6-0 U.S. victory over New Zealand. The youngest player on the U.S. team, he now has four goals in the tournament and is tied with Venezuela's Sergio Cordova for the tournament scoring lead.
That production has him in rarefied air. He joins Taylor Twellman (1999), Eddie Johnson (2003) and Jozy Altidore (2007) as the only Americans to score four goals at an Under-20 World Cup.
A native of O'Fallon, Missouri, outside St. Louis, Sargent scored five goals in Panama at CONCACAF qualifying in April and May for the Under-17 World Cup team, then was added to the Under-20 roster - a major step up.
Sargent trained with the U-20s in January and made enough of an imprint to be called up to the U-20 World Cup even though he wasn't part of the qualification effort. His performance has validated the decision by coach Tab Ramos to add him to the older roster.
Other things to know about Josh Sargent:
GOALS GALORE: Sargent had 14 goals and seven assists in 29 international games before helping the United States qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He had five goals and two assists there, including two goals against Mexico .
STAYING HOME: According to Goal.com, Sporting Kansas City has his MLS homegrown rights if he decides to stay at home and play professionally in the United States.
EARLY YEARS: According to U.S. Soccer, Sargent first played for the U.S. at a U-14 training camp four years ago and also played in the Nike International Friendlies in 2015.
TRAINING TIME: According to U.S. Soccer, Sargent has trained since the fall with clubs based in the Netherlands and Germany.
HE SAYS: ''World Cups are huge. Being able to go with an older age group is really good for me. It'll push me and help me realize just how good competition around the world is. Playing with these older guys will push me every day, and I think I can take that back with the U-17s to help make us more successful come October.''