Rising stars in men's soccer to feature at the Paris Olympics

The men’s Olympic soccer tournament will be a showcase for some of soccer's rising talents.

An age restriction of under 23 plus three overage players means the participating nations will call on some of their best young prospects and those pushing to force their way into their senior teams.

It means there is unlikely to be any shortage of quality on show at the Paris Games.

As final rosters round into shape, here are some of the players who could make a splash:

Claudio Echeverri, Argentina

An attacking midfielder, 18-year-old Echeverri has agreed to join Premier League giant Manchester City this summer. Nicknamed the “little devil,” Echeverri impressed during the Under-17 World Cup, where he helped Argentina reach the semifinals with five goals and one assist in seven games.

Thiago Almada, Argentina

The 23-year-old Almada plays for Atlanta United in MLS, and he is already a World Cup winner after being part of Argentina’s successful squad at Qatar 2022. A dynamic playmaker, he guided Argentina to a successful qualification for the Paris Games and was top scorer with five goals.

Rayan Cherki, France

The 20-year-old Cherki has already played more than 100 games for French club Lyon. When he was just 16, he scored two goals in a French Cup game. Still, the attacking midfielder has something to prove at the Olympics as he's not always been coach Thierry Henry's first choice.

Kevin Paredes, United States

The 21-year-old left back and winger was the USA's young player of the year in 2023 and became a part-time starter in his third season with Wolfsburg of the German league. He has also broken into the senior national team but is behind starter Antonee Robinson of Fulham and Joe Scally of Borussia Mönchengladbach on the depth chart, so the Olympics provide Paredes with a great opportunity to continue developing.

Paxten Aaronson, United States

The 20-year-old brother of national team player Brenden Aaronson, Paxten made his debut for the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt in March 2023 but the midfielder made just one league start and was loaned this past January to the Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem for the rest of the 2023-24 season. He became a regular starter with Vitesse in central and wing midfield positions. He has made one international appearance, in a friendly against Colombia in January 2023.


More AP soccer:

The Associated Press