While the thrills of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro campaign are over, it remains an exciting time for many of the league's bright young stars. The 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks off in Indonesia on Friday and it is set to serve as a hallmark moment for the world's budding next generation of players.
Many of the North American contingent of MLS NEXT and MLS NEXT Pro stars are set to get a taste of their very first bit of worldly experience.
Of the three countries with MLS youth representation, Mexico has enjoyed the most success with two titles (2005, 2011) while Canada and the United States have yet to place in the top three in the tournament's history.
Will this be the year Canada or the United States can earn a podium finish? It's certainly for the taking.
Team Canada brings a pair of thrilling youngsters who spent significant time cutting their teeth in MLS NEXT Pro 2023. Academy men Theo Rigopoulos and Jeevan Badwal, of Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps respectively, combined for over 1,500 minutes in MLS NEXT Pro action this year.
On behalf of the United States, recently crowned champion Micah Burton headlines a strong corps of MLS NEXT Pro talents that include Goalkeeper of the Year finalist Adam Beaudry and Eastern Conference Champion Taha Habroune.
Here is a closer look at which MLS NEXT Pro and NEXT players were called in for U-17 World Cup duty:
Nathaniel Abraham, Toronto FC Academy
Dominic Kantorowicz, Toronto FC Academy
Alexander O’Brien, Toronto FC Academy
Lucas Ozimec, Toronto FC Academy
Canada Group Stage Schedule:
Friday, November 10 vs Spain
Monday, November 13 vs Uzbekistan
Thursday, November 16 vs Mali
Fernando Delgado, Real Monarchs
Javen Romero, Los Angeles FC 2
Mexico Group (B) Stage schedule:
Sunday, November 12 vs Germany
Wednesday, November 13 vs Venezuela
Saturday, November 18 vs New Zealand
United States Group (E) Stage Schedule:
Sunday, November 12 vs Korea Republic
Wednesday, November 15 vs Burkina Faso
Saturday, November 18 vs France