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Soccer's rising stars to shine in Paris

Updated: 2024-06-17 10:33
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The men's Olympic soccer tournament will be a showcase for some of soccer's rising stars.

An age restriction set at under 23, plus three overage players, means the participating nations will call on some of their best young prospects, giving game time to those pushing for a way into their senior national teams.

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

As final rosters take shape, here are some of the players worth looking out for:

Claudio Echeverri, Argentina

River Plate's Claudio Echeverri in action with Deportivo Tachira's Carlos Robles during Copa Libertadores's Group H match against Deportivo Tachira at Estadio Mas Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 30, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

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 over seven games.

Thiago Almada, Argentina

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada (10) in action against the Houston Dynamo during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, US, Jun 15, 2024. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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 Bundesliga side Wolfsburg. He has also broken into the senior national team, but is behind starter Antonee Robinson of Fulham and Joe Scally of Borussia Monchengladbach on the depth chart, so the Olympics provide Paredes with a great opportunity to continue developing.

Paxten Aaronson, United States

United States midfielder Paxten Aaronson (11) and Japan defender Ayumu Ohata (21) fight for the ball during the first half at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, US, June 11, 2024. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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 Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem for the rest of the 2023-24 season. He became a regular starter with Vitesse, either in central midfield or on the wing and has made one international appearance, in a friendly against Colombia, in January 2023.


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