The 9 best CONCACAF teenagers in Football Manager 2018

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last week we counted down the planet’s 100 finest teenagers – and for scouting inspiration in FM 2018, we’re splitting each confederation’s most promising youngsters

9. Ernesto Vega (Mexico)

An exciting spark plug of a player, Vega has come up through the youth ranks at Toluca to emerge as yet another promising youngster in Liga MX. While a torn ACL caused him to miss the entire 2017 Clausura (and knocked him out of action for more than a year), the 19-year-old has already had ample opportunity to showcase what he can do.

Vega is a winger who can bedazzle defenders with his mazy runs; an effective creator who can pick out team-mates with his crossing ability, or find space in between defenders to finish chances on his own. He made his return to the pitch in the 2017 Apertura, scoring once in five appearances. Provided that his injury issues are in the past, and Vega returns as sharp as he ways during long stretches of 2016, he’ll cause plenty of issues for Liga MX defenders next year and beyond.

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8. Mckinze Gaines (USA)

Gaines took his opportunities with a talented U.S. U17 team in 2015 qualifying, earning him a move to Wolfsburg in Germany. Another wide attacking type who can scare defenders with his pace and prowess on the ball, Gaines is playing for Darmstadt in the 2. Bundesliga this season with an obvious goal of earning first-team minutes.

While he hasn’t slotted into the starting lineup right away, he did make his debut back on October 16, a 4-3 loss against Nurnberg. Forcing his way onto the field in whatever way possible is now the main goal, and like other players of both his age and stature, being consistent is a significant key to make that a reality.

Gaines may not be as flashy as some of his other talented rising U.S. stars, but he remains one to watch.

7. Juan Pablo Torres (USA)

Even though American youngsters moving to Europe is common, when Torres signed with Belgian club Sporting Lokeren it did come as something of a surprise. The Atlanta native hadn’t slipped through the cracks – he’s represented the U.S. across several youth teams – but it was more the destination that was striking.

Belgium hasn’t necessarily been a common landing place for players from the United States, so the 18-year-old midfielder is something of a trailblazer. Torres isn’t the first, as Sacha Kljestan spent several years at Anderlecht – but after he’d already established himself as a pro in Major League Soccer.

A calm and composed player who is tactically savvy and capable of quick passing, Torres is looking to forge his professional reputation at a mid-level club in Europe as opposed to pursuing opportunities closer to home. Minutes have been hard to come by for the Lokeren first team, although the talent is there for Torres to start making a name for himself before the season’s end.

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