Kevin Paredes has been named US Soccer's Young Male Player of the Year for 2023. bundesliga.com profiles the Wolfsburg wide man...
Stats correct as of 18 January 2024
Age: 20 (born 7 May 2003)
Position: Left wing/ wing-back
Country: USA (3 caps)
Born to Dominican parents in South Riding, Virginia, in 2003, Paredes took his first steps in the game at Loudoun Soccer club, before joining the DC United academy at the age of 13 in 2016. He scored 39 goals in 85 US Soccer Development Academy appearances, and in 2019/20 made his debut in professional soccer in the USL – the second division in the USA – featuring for DC United feeder club Loudoun United FC. Across his three outings in the division, Paredes recorded one assist and completed 79 per cent of all his passes.
The pacy left-footer signed a pro contract with DC united as a homegrown player in January 2020 at the age of just 16, before making his debut in the MLS is Back tournament in July that year against Toronto FC. He made 17 top-flight appearances in 2019/20, picking up his first assist as a pro in October 2020, establishing himself as a first-team regular in the following season, posting three goals and an assist in 24 MLS outings. Such consistency obviously caught the eye of the national set-up and in addition to earning three caps for the USA U17s, picking up a goal and an assist along the way, he was also called up to the senior USMNT roster for training camps in July and December 2021.
Paredes had made 38 MLS appearances by the time he moved to Wolfsburg in January 2022. He made his Bundesliga debut in April of that year, before earning his first start in September. Two assists and a maiden goal - against Werder Bremen in January 2023 - signalled his breakthrough at the club. He struck again in a meeting with Bremen in 2023/24, two months after earning his first of three senior US caps. The US Best Young Player gong followed on 18 January 2024.
Plays a bit like: Angelino
Left-footed, 5’10”, quick and attack-minded – the list of similarities between Paredes and the former RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim wing-back could seemingly go on and on. Both like to get forward at every opportunity and are able to deliver teasing crosses into the box, or cause havoc with mazy dribbles of their own. They don’t neglect their defensive duties though, conscientiously tracking back so as not to leave the team exposed.
Watch: All Kevin Paredes' Bundesliga goals and assists so far
Did you know?
Paredes took inspiration for his game from watching one of Alphonso Davies’ final performances for the Vancouver Whitecaps prior to his move to Bayern in 2018. In a match against DC United in July 2018, Davies took on three players before curling a brilliant shot into the net to score a last-minute consolation in a 3-1 defeat.
If the goal was insignificant in terms of the scoreline, it nevertheless had a huge impact on Paredes. “Ever since then I was like, ‘OK, this is a really good player that maybe I can start shaping my play around,’” he told MLSsoccer.com in 2021.
“Then once he got put into that left-back role and moved to Bayern, I’ve been following him, following his tracks, how he plays, how he defends. “He was an attacking player at Vancouver and in the academy before that transition to left-back, sort of the same position I’m in currently right now in the process of going to that more defensive role.”
What they’re saying
"Kevin is a real asset, who's full of enthusiasm. I'm delighted with his development." - Wolfsburg head coach Niko Kovač
"We couldn’t be prouder and happier for Kevin to follow his dreams to compete in a great league like the German Bundesliga. Kevin’s rapid rise from our academy to a first team starter is a testament to his desire, talent, and commitment, as well as a lot of hard work and support from our great coaches and staff at the club. All of us at the club wish Kevin a very long and successful professional career." - Dave Kasper, President of Soccer Operations for DC United
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