A player eligible for the USMNT is already climbing the Liverpool ranks, and shining for his country at youth level. Jürgen Klopp’s attention may soon be piqued.
There are only a handful of players from the North American continent to have represented the club in Liverpool’s history. The most notable is probably Brad Friedel, and the rest can be counted up on just one hand with Zak Whitbread and Hugh Lester the only two other US players to have represented the club’s first team at Anfield.
But aside from those few names, Liverpool has been gradually dipping its toes into the US market. In recent years the club’s academy has been host to a plethora of players like Marc Pelosi, who later played in the MLS, and Brooks Lennon, who even played for the USMNT.
Canadian Liam Millar, who was at the World Cup, is another example of that trend, and considering the growing market and developing talent in the US and North America as a whole, in the coming years, it would be smart of Liverpool to expand further on the continent.
One player who they won’t have to move for is Keyrol Figueroa, who is already contracted to the club’s academy and has been plying his trade there for several years now. He’s been working his way through the youth set-up to even represent the U18 team, despite only being 16 years old.
The son of Maynor Figueroa, who played in the MLS and the Premier League and represented the Honduran national team, Keyrol is eligible to play for Honduras, England and the USMNT, but he seems to have chosen the US.
He has already made his debut for the country’s U17 USYNT side and recently has been catching the eye at the U17 CONCACAF tournament currently taking place at the moment in Guatemala.
In three games so far, Figueroa has two goals and one assist, and has been one of the stand-out performers in the national team, which has really caught the eye.
Figueroa has stood out for his speed and physicality, but he is a far more complex player than that. He is extremely intelligent in his positioning as well, and both his goals occurred because he managed to find himself in space at the right time.
A typically traditional center-forward in the same mold as Darwin Núñez, Figueroa is highly rated at the academy and has been playing for the club’s U18 side since the age of 15. He even scored in a ‘mini-derby’ against Everton. But he has struggled with an injury for the vast majority of this season, which means he has only featured in four games for the club’s U18 side so far.
But he seems to be back to full fitness at this CONCACAF tournament, and is once again scoring important goals, which will give him the kind of lift he needs to return to Kirkby and continue in the same form in the red shirt of Liverpool.
Still extremely young, but with plenty of potential, the aim for Figueroa is definitely to become the next USA player to represent the club, and to do that the template is clear. Jürgen Klopp has set a precedent for players that no matter how old you are, you will be given a chance if your form warrants that merit in the club’s academy.
Just take a look at the likes of Kaide Gordon or Ben Doak, who both made their debuts extremely young in the first team, or Stefan Bajčetić, who is excelling in a regular first team role despite being just 18 years old. Figueroa will hope to one day add his name to that list, ultimately earning a USMNT call-up too.