With Leyva’s Sounders U-17 squad besting Valencia on a last-minute game-winner in Saturday’s Champions Division final, being named as the division's MVP, April probably cemented itself as one of the most-memorable months for the US U-17 international. It was capped off on Monday when the 15-year-old was named the U-17 roster for the Concacaf Championship next month.
But for a talent full of class who’s positioning himself to possibly succeed Nicolas Lodeiro one day, the title simply serves as a push.
“I think this only motivates me even more to reach my goals,” Leyva told MLSsoccer.com as he passed the championship trophy to a teammate.
“It shows me that we can compete against the best in the world just like we did against Valencia and Flamengo. It shows that we're developing really well and that we can achieve a lot of great things.”
At such a young age, Leyva is already backing up his words. The Sounders followed up their 2018 Premier Division title by winning it all in the Champions Division this year, taking down some of the world’s best superstar-building factories like Valencia, River Plate and Flamengo along the way.
By dominating the field against such formidable foes, Leyva is proving to himself and to the world what he and his teammates are made of –– and what’s still in store as they continue to develop.
“For us, [GA Cup] is a great opportunity to compete against these top players from all over the world,” Leyva said. “It's a great chance for us to showcase what talent we've got and the skillsets we have as a group.”
And while the Sounders’ youngest-ever first-team signee continues to play with his U-17 teammates, greater things are assuredly on the horizon. Leyva has already become the youngest player to ever start a match in the club's USL history and he’s now got his sights set on first-team action.
“The next step for me, I think, is playing a full season with the first team,” Leyva said. “That's one of my goals for advancing my career because, now that I've signed with the first team and am training full-time with them, it would be great to play a full season with them and have that consistency.”