FRISCO, Texas (Sept. 23, 2016) — US Youth Soccer National League alumni make up four of the top 11 spots on the most recent MLS 24 Under 24 list, which highlights the top young talent in Major League Soccer.
Among the National League alumni, midfielder Jack Harrison leads the way at No. 2, and forward Jordan Morris is right behind at No. 3. Defender Keegan Rosenberry comes in at No. 6, and Walker Zimmerman is the second-highest ranked defender — No. 11 overall.
Players on the list were selected by a panel of top soccer media members and MLSsoccer.com editorial staff, who ranked players based on technical ability, soccer IQ, physical attributes, personality and potential.
This year marks the first time two rookies are ranked in the top three, and both — Harrison and Morris — are National League alumni.
Harrison, who was selected No. 1 overall by New York City FC at the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, has scored three goals as of Sept. 22 and added five assists in 17 games as a rookie. He played in the 2013-14 National League season with Manhattan SC PSG 96 (NY-E), as the New York side narrowly missed out on a top-two finish in the league. However, Manhattan later qualified for the 2014 National Championships and Harrison won the Golden Ball while helping his side claim the National title.
As of the release of the 24 Under 24 list, Morris has scored 10 goals and registered three assists for the Seattle Sounders. The forward signed with Seattle after a standout collegiate career at Stanford, which saw Morris claim an NCAA National Championship and the MAC Hermann Trophy. Twice among the leading scorers in the National League, Morris helped Eastside FC 94 Red (WA) succeed at the regional and national levels during his youth career. His Eastside team claimed the National League Red Division title as an Under-17 side in 2012.
Keegan Rosenberry has burst onto the scene for the Philadelphia Union after being selected with the No. 3 pick at the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. He has started in all 30 games he’s played, while adding two goals and two assists from the back line. The 2016 MLS All-Star Game starter twice scored two goals in a National League season while playing with Penn Fusion Celtic (PA-E), which finished second in the Under-17 Red Division in 2011.
After some injury trouble in his first few seasons, Zimmerman has enjoyed a breakout season with league-leader FC Dallas. The No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Zimmerman has scored three goals while starting 26 games in 2016 for FC Dallas. A talented defender, Zimmerman helped GSA Phoenix Red (GA) to a rare 7-0-0 record during the 2009-10 National League season — tallying three goals along the way to finish among the Top 10 scorers. In 2012, his GSA side fell in overtime of the US Youth Soccer Under-19 Boys James P. McGuire Cup final to Crew Juniors (OH-S), who featured fellow 24 Under 24 honorees Will Trapp and Fatai Alashe.
The National League’s alumni have gone on to prove themselves at the collegiate and professional levels, with former players competing in NCAA Division I, II and III, Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, the UEFA Champions League, the Olympic Games and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft (Jack Harrison) and the 2016 NWSL Draft (Emily Sonnett) are both former National League players.