Damian Las

As the Generation adidas Cup got underway Friday in Dallas, one member of the Chicago Fire Academy U-16 side received advanced plaudits from MLSsoccer.com's Will Parchman. 


Fire goalkeeper Damian Las was among Parchman's picks of 10 MLS Academy players to watch at the elite tournament, which features 19 MLS club academies and 13 top international club youth sides. Las, of Norridge, Ill., has been called up on more than one occasion to the U.S. U-15 squad, representing the side at camps in Argentina and Croatia. He also was called into a domestic-based camp last November. 


Watch: Fire U16s vs. CF Monterrey

See Parchman's full report on Las below and click here for his complete list of spotlighted MLS Academy players at the Generation adidas Cup:


Who is he:It usually takes goalkeepers a bit longer to hit the national consciousness by virtue of the mental realities of the position in addition to the physical, but Damian Las wasted little time, and his first call-up to a U.S. Under-15 Boys National Team camp in 2015 turned out to be prophetic. He’s now one of the most promising young American keepers anywhere, and he’s quickly moved into a place of prominence in the Chicago Fire Academy. There’s a reason he’s wearing the No. 1 shirt in Frisco.


Why to watch: The most obvious facet about young goalkeepers’ talent sets at this age – Las, born in 2002, is one of the youngest players at the GA Cup at any position – is a lack of knowledge about game states. Las, though, is uncommonly smart for his age, and he has an advanced sense of where the attack is coming from and how to position himself to best meet the challenge. On a physicality-mentality spectrum, he definitely favors the latter, which should help his progression as both a club and national team player of serious note.