David Vazquez hasn’t had a ton of time to acquaint himself with Philadelphia Union fans since joining the academy last year from his native Los Angeles but he did just that by making the most of his chances in Guatemala at the recent U-17 Concacaf Championship.
The talented young Mexican-American attacker, who celebrated his 17th birthday while away with the United States U-20s, recorded four assists during the competition and earned a start in the final.
Though the U.S. came up short of the championship in a 3-1 loss to Mexico, they punched their ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup being held in Peru in November and December.
“It was an amazing atmosphere,” Vazquez said in a recent interview after training with Philadelphia Union II. “Especially when we got to the quarterfinals and the semifinals. The quarterfinal against Guatemala, there were as many people there are at a first team game at Subaru Park.”
— Philadelphia Soccer Now (@phlsoccernow) February 22, 2023
Since all of the games were broadcast, Union fans back home had a chance to see a lot more of Vazquez’s talent.
While he’s more of a No. 10 or No. 8 in the Union 4-4-2 diamond, Vazquez played as a winger in the 4-3-3 deployed by the United States in the tournament.
“I’m glad that I had a lot of Union supporters on my side,” Vazquez said. “But I’m also just very thankful for the support of my family.”
Though LAFC or LA Galaxy may have seemed like the more obvious choice for Vazquez to move to from Total Football Academy, Vazquez said he was drawn to the Union for a number of reasons.
“I immediately fell in love when I saw a video of the stadium and facility in Chester and the school,” he said. “Although it’s far from home I thought it was the right place for me to go.”
Being enrolled as a student at YSC Academy has made it possible for him to keep up with his studies while away with the national team and Union II like many previous players who have come through the Union’s development system.
Now that he’s back, he’s been able to focus on earning minutes in MLS Next Pro.
Vazquez had a cup of coffee in the third division pro league last year when earned his professional debut in the 74th minute of an MLS Next Pro game in Rochester last July.
“We certainly don’t want to put any extra pressure on him to feel like he needs to come in and score goals every game, or feel like he needs to influence every game,” Union II head coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We’re gonna bring him through the right way and give him opportunities to play with us in the right fashion so he’s able to make that jump from Under 17 to Under 23 football.”
LeBlanc said the staff and his teammates were able to watch games in the U-17 Championship while down in Clearwater for preseason.
“We were really pleased with what we saw,” LeBlanc said. “He’s got a big future ahead of him.”
Union II opens their second season in MLS Next Pro at home on Sunday against Orlando City B.