US U-20 Mukwelle Akale makes emotional first-team debut for Villarreal

SMALL MEDIA/THUMBNAIL ONLY: Mukwelle Akale - Villarreal - US U-20

On the same day US youth international Lynden Gooch made his English Premier League debut, one of his compatriots made a similar stride as US U-20 attacker Mukwelle Akale made his debut for the first team of La Liga outfit Villarreal.

Akale, 19, came on in the 61st minute of Villarreal's 3-2 friendly loss to Leganés, their last game before the Spanish side kicks off Champions League qualification on Wednesday against Monaco. It marked the end of an emotional day for the Minnesota native, who learned earlier in the day that his grandmother had passed away:

Akale has enjoyed a rapid rise through the Villarreal system. He arrived in Spain from the US two years ago and won back-to-back titles with the Submarino Amarillo's Juvenil A (Under-19) team. He only made his debut for Villarreal B on July 23, and now has a first-team appearance under his belt. He is still likely to spend significant time with the B team in the 2016-17 season, but such a quick appearance for the senior side a promising sign nonetheless.

On the international level, Akale has featured for the US U-18 and U-20 squads. He joined the US U-20s in late June and early July in for the 2016 NTC Invitational in Carson, California, which they swept with a 3-0 record against Japan.