CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Four U.S. men are making their first career start for the national team in its first match of the year against Costa Rica.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter on Saturday fielded his team’s youngest lineup ever used in the matches following its annual January training camp. The starting group averages just 23 years, 216 days old.
The four players making their debut starts for the U.S. team are 18-year-old midfielder Brenden Aaronson, 18-year-old forward Ulysses Llanez, 19-year-old striker Jesús Ferreira and 20-year-old left back Sam Vines.
Only two matches in U.S. history featured more debuts. The Americans fielded five newcomers in a match against Canada in September 1992 and against Panama last June.
Ferreira was born in Colombia and moved to the U.S. eight years later when his father, David, signed with Major League Soccer’s Dallas team. Jesús Ferreira decided late last month to represent the U.S. in international play after becoming a citizen in December, and Berhalter promptly put the prospect into the lineup.
Ferreira only became eligible to play Friday morning, when FIFA granted a waiver to the U.S. Soccer Federation on a rule that says naturalized citizens must live in their adopted countries for five years after their 18th birthday.
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