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10 players to keep an eye on in MLS 2022 season

Tue 15 March 2022 | 8:30

The next generation of American soccer is here, and their marvelous performance keeps the fans in awe and give them the promise of a much more delightful future for football; welcome to 10 players to keep an eye on in MLS 2022 season.

MLS certainly contains many hidden gems, many younglings that are waiting for their time to shine. The proof of it being 2021 transfer statistics, that depict the increasing amount of transfers to other leagues from MLS.

Many young Americans have been sold or leased to European clubs in the previous years, including Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann, Sam Vines, Ricardo Pepi, Kevin Paredes,

George Bello

, James Sands, Cole Bassett, and Justin Che, to name a few. However, with their departure, the MLS will be flooded with more young players to fill the hole.

That is why we are here today to name 10 players to keep an eye on in MLS 2022 season.

A list of 10 players to keep an eye on in MLS 2022 season

In this article of 10 players to keep an eye on in MLS 2022 season, we will take a look at the list of young players that have huge potential in becoming the MLS next golden boot winner and have displayed great performance in the previous year.

Now without further ado, let us hop into the article and see the possible candidates of

MLS best XI 2022

.

Reed Baker-Whiting - Seattle Sounders

Reed Baker-Whiting

, 16, (who will turn 17 on 31 March), is widely regarded as one of the best 2005-born American players at this early stage.

Yes, possibilities at this age come and go swiftly, but

the Sounders

are optimistic about Reed's potential and he made four appearances (two starts) during the regular season, we also think that this man has a high chance of becoming one of the greatest in the position that he is currently playing and who knows, maybe, later on, he would be on greater lists like

MLS Golden Boot 2022

.

He's definitely one to keep an eye on, but will 2022 be his breakout year, or will it be 2023 or 2024? If he played last season, it's only natural that he'll play more this year - after that, he'll be on his own. Also, don't rule out the possibility of him receiving a look with the US U-20 team at some point this cycle.

Kevin Paredes - DC United

On September 25, 2019, Paredes made his professional debut for Loudoun United FC, coming on in the 68th minute of the team's 4-1 win over Swope Park Rangers.

Paredes signed with Loudoun's parent club, D.C. United, on January 17, 2020, becoming the team's 14th Homegrown Player. Later that year, Paredes made his debut appearance for D.C. United in an MLS is Back Tournament encounter against the

New England Revolution

on July 18, where he came on as a substitute in the 88th minute.

On October 24, he made his first MLS assist, assisting Gelmin Rivas on a stoppage-time winner in a 2–1 win over

Atlanta United

.

Paredes signed with VfL Wolfsburg of the German Bundesliga on January 28, 2022, becoming fourth D.C. United homegrown player to make the move to Europe. According to reports, the transfer cost was roughly $7,350,000.

This young player had a breakout season in 2021, with 24 appearances in Major League Soccer. Despite his three goals, three assists, and incredible skill, he isn't being spoken about as much as some of the league's other rising stars.

In fact, you might argue that Paredes hasn't been released nearly enough in the final third. And there's a fear that if he goes to Europe anytime soon, he'll be forced to play left-back, as is often the case with young wingers.

It is highly doubtful that Paredes would make it to MLS Golden Boot 2022, but this young man is making his way to new heights, perhaps he will make it onto the

MLS next Golden boot

list.

Paxten Aaronson - Philadelphia Union

Certainly one of the most promising athletes on the list, Paxten will eventually reach his full potential and we will most certainly see him in better venues, but for now, we don’t think that the MLS Golden Boot 2022 has any empty slots for him.

Aaronson began his professional career at the Philadelphia Union's YSC Academy, where he also played in the US Soccer Development Academy. Aaronson was called up to the Philadelphia Union II, the Philadelphia Union's reserve team in the USL Championship, after five seasons in the academy.

He made his competitive debut for Union II on July 22, 2020, as a 67th-minute substitute for Steve Kingue against

New York Red Bulls II

.

Aaronson signed a homegrown deal with the first team in August 2020, with a start date of 2021. He made his first-team debut with the Union in a 3–0 win over the Portland Timbers in May 2021 as a substitute.

This player made his debut appearance with the Union in August, scoring the equalizer against the New England Revolution. His first goal was named Goal of the Week by the league.

Paxten Aaronson

, who is a little overshadowed by his older brother, should have plenty of opportunities to make his own name this year.

He's the same age as Brenden Aaronson, who made his name with Philadelphia and eventually earned a berth on the national team. Aaronson, Jr. has the good fortune of playing for Philadelphia, which is still a terrific place for young players.

He'll have a manager in Jim Curtin who knows him and will give him a fair chance. While Brenden was cut from the 2019 US U-20 team, Paxten appears to be a key member of the squad.

If MLS next golden boot had a youth version, this athlete would’ve been one of the candidates.

Josh Atencio - Seattle Sounders

Now, we have reached one of the prospects worth putting on the MLS Golden Boot 2022 list.

In 2016, Atencio joined the Seattle Sounders FC academy. In August 2018, he made his USL debut for Seattle Sounders FC 2.

In 2021, the young Washington native made 25 appearances and 18 starts for the Seattle Sounders, putting in a strong showing. Seattle is consistently one of the finest teams in the league, and Atencio is surrounded by capable veterans from whom he can learn.

He's already made an impression, but this season will be about improving his game and turning from a prospect to a crucial player in one of the league's greatest venues.

Tayvon Gray – NYCFC

Gray was born in the New York borough of The Bronx. He played club soccer for Soccer Domain FC Gunners while in high school at Hackensack High School. Gray had trials with

Fulham

and Tottenham Hotspur when he was just nine years old. Later, he enrolled in the Cedar Stars academy. Gray joined the New York City FC academy in 2017.

Tayvon Gray, 19, was one of New York City FC's unsung heroes during the team's victorious MLS Cup campaign last season. Gray stepped into the right-back position after Anton Tinnerholm sustained a season-ending Achilles injury in August and performed excellently.

The Bronx native has proven that he can assist a club in winning at the top levels of the league. But what will happen to Gray when Tinnerholm returns? Gray will continue to be a vital prospect for the club, and NYCFC will be eager to provide him playing time, making his dream come true to be a part of the MLS Golden Boot, but MLS Golden Boot 2022, we highly doubt.

Gray will fight his way onto the world's greatest list, but it is highly unlikely to see him on MLS next golden boot, but any adolescent American who starts in the playoffs of an MLS Cup-winning season deserves to be on this list.

Mamadou Fall – LAFC

Charleroi loaned Fall to Eupen for the remainder of the Belgian First Division A season in September 2018, as he didn't frequently play for their senior team.

Fall

signed a 2.5-year contract with Kasmpasa in Turkey in January 2022. He took the place of Yusuf Erdogan, who returned to Trabzonspor.

In 2021, LAFC faced a setback when they failed to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in their history. However, there were a few bright spots, one of which was Mamadou Fall's emergence.

The 19-year-old center-back made 16 appearances for the Black and Gold, demonstrating his defensive capabilities both in the air and on the ground.

This player was a tremendous set-piece danger this season, scoring four times - just four LAFC players scored more goals last season.

Fall has already demonstrated real technical prowess in spells and will be focusing on improving in that area this year, despite his passing being a little untidy at times.

But until then don’t expect to see him on any list greater than this one, especially

MLS Golden Boot 2022

.

Cade Cowell - San Jose Earthquakes

Cowell began his youth career at Pleasanton's Ballistic United, where he led the country in goals with 34 in 32 games for the under-15 club in 2017–18, before joining the San Jose Earthquakes academy in 2018.

The 18-year-old joined the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer as a Homegrown Player on January 23, 2019.

Cowell spent time on loan with Reno 1868, San Jose's USL Championship affiliate. On June 8, 2019, he made his Reno FC debut, scoring a 17th-minute goal in a 3–2 loss against San Antonio FC.

The forward made his San Jose debut in the 2019 U.S. Open Cup on June 11, 2019, as a 69th-minute substitute in a 4–3 triumph over Sacramento Republic.

Cowell has already demonstrated that he possesses all of the technical skills necessary to compete with the best, and has the potential to be a candidate for

MLS Golden Boot 2022

. And he's a physical specimen to boot.

John Tolkin - New York Red Bulls

We have reached the top 3 of the list and these are the athletes who have the most probability of being one of the candidates of MLS Golden Boot 2022.

He attended Chatham High School in Chatham Borough, New Jersey, where he was raised. Tolkin is a member of the Red Bulls Academy in New York. He played for the New York Red Bulls II in the 2019 USL Championship season.

Tolkin was promoted to the club's MLS roster on January 14, 2020, after appearing for the club's USL Championship team in 2019.

This player made his Major League Soccer debut on May 8, 2021, as a substitute in a 2–0 win over

Toronto FC

. Tolkin made his first start for the team in a 2–1 victory over Orlando City SC on May 29, 2021, and received plaudits for his performance. On August 18, 2021, Tolkin scored his first professional goal in a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew.

The Chatham, NJ native has a lot of room for improvement at left-back, but he has shown a lot of promise and his service into the box is normally excellent. If he improves, it's easy to envision Tolkin being one of the candidates of MLS Golden Boot 2022 as he plays perfectly in his position.

Jack McGlynn - Philadelphia Union

One more athlete is standing between us and the top youth talent on the list who is the most likely to be MLS Golden Boot 2022 among the athletes of this list.

McGlynn began his career at BW Gottschee Academy, a prestigious soccer academy in New York City, where he was born in Middle Village, New York. McGlynn relocated to Philadelphia in 2019 and joined the

Philadelphia Union

's youth academy.

This youngster scored seven goals for the Union's academy team in 2019–20, and on March 6, 2020, he signed a professional contract with the Union's reserve team, Philadelphia Union II, for the 2020 season.

The 18-year-old made his competitive debut for Union II in the USL Championship against Loudoun United on March 7, 2020, only one day after signing with the team. As Union II drew 0–0, he came on as an 82nd-minute substitute for Luis Flores. McGlynn scored his first professional goal against the New York Red Bulls II on August 5.

His first-half stoppage time goal was the Union II's equalizer in a 3–2 triumph. The midfielder scored five goals in fourteen games for

Philadelphia Union II

this season. McGlynn signed a pre-homegrown player deal with the Philadelphia Union on August 20, 2020, and will join the club for the 2021 season.

He made his Union debut in a 4–0 CONCACAF Champions League triumph over Deportivo Saprissa on April 14, 2021, as a 68th-minute substitute for Leon Flach. McGlynn made his Major League Soccer debut on April 24 against Inter Miami, replacing Ilsinho as a late substitution.

McGlynn should see more action for Philadelphia this season, as well as a berth on the United States U-20 team. In 2022, McGlynn will have plenty of chances to take the next level.

Gabriel Slonina - Chicago Fire

Finishing the list with a strong candidate for the youth version of MLS Best XI 2022, if there was one.

Slonina was born in Addison, Illinois, and she joined the Chicago Fire's youth program in 2016. Slonina signed a professional homegrown player contract with the team on March 8, 2019. Slonina became the second-youngest signing in Major League Soccer history and the Chicago Fire's youngest signing ever at the age of 14.

Slonina made his professional debut for the Chicago Fire against New York City FC on August 4, 2021, at the age of 17 years and 81 days, becoming the league's youngest starting goalkeeper. Slonina made four saves for the Fire in a 0–0 draw, becoming him the youngest goalie in Major League Soccer history to achieve a shutout (clean sheet).

It's unusual to see a goalkeeper make an impression at such a young age, but the Chicago Fire goalkeeper earned the starting slot in August of last season and did not disappoint.

His development coincides with United States national team manager Gregg Berhalter's recognition of the necessity for younger goalkeepers in his squad. Slonina's performance drew a lot of notice in the fall, and rightfully so.

It's highly unique in any league to have a 17-year-old starting goalie, but will Slonina be able to help Chicago compete for a playoff spot now? Can he be the candidate for the goalkeeper spot for the MLS Best XI 2022? You decide.

Thank you for reviewing our list. But What do you think? Which of these athletes deserve to be candidates of MLS Golden Boot 2022? Let us know!

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