Gianluca Busio - Sporting KC - celebration

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio and D.C. United midfielder Kevin Paredes have been tabbed as two of the world’s top young players by CIES Football Observatory, a research group that’s based in Switzerland.


That MLS duo earned high marks in CIES Football Observatory’s capital experience approach, which weighs minutes played and the level of competition The lists are broken down by the 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003+ birth years, with 25 players included in each group.


Busio was the only MLS player in the 2002 age group, as Sporting’s new No. 10 enters his fifth professional season with five goals and five assists in 48 games (26 starts) in tow. A homegrown player who’s originally from North Carolina, the 18-year-old has drawn interest from several European teams while showing his versatility in midfield. Busio was ranked 25th in the 2002 age group.


Watch: Gianluca scores for Sporting KC

Paredes slotted 13th in the 2003+ age group as the homegrown enters his second professional season. The 17-year-old had one assist in 17 games (nine starts) as a rookie last year, showing comfort on the wing. Paredes, an established US youth national team player, will now look to impress new head coach Hernan Losada.


The 2003+ age group also includes defender Mauricio Cuevas, who has joined the LA Galaxy for preseason this year. He’s spent the last two seasons with LA Galaxy II, the club’s USL Championship reserve team.


CIES Football Observatory’s report includes several young stars for the US men’s national team, too. FC Barcelona outside back Sergino Dest (2000 age group), Borussia Dortmund midfielder Giovanni Reyna (2002 age group) and Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah (2002 age group) were all included. 


Musah is eligible to represent other national teams, but has played in two USMNT friendlies. Before heading overseas, Reyna developed with New York City FC’s academy teams.


On the Canada national team front, Bayern Munich left back Alphonso Davies and LOSC Lille forward Jonathan David were both named in the 2000 age group. Before emerging as one of the world’s top young outside backs, Davies emerged as a homegrown player for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.


Check out the full CIES Football Observatory report and methodology here.