KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio has been added to the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team roster for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Buscio, 19, was thrilled to receive the call from USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter.
“I was playing 2K actually, so I was a little surprised to get the first text and then he called me and told me that, ‘We’re calling you up for the Gold Cup,’" Busio said. "I was excited and didn’t know what to say exactly, but obviously I said thank you and I’m excited to get in."
Busio starred for Sporting Kansas City's Academy during the 2016-17 season as one of the country's top youth prospects for his age.
In 2017, at 15 years and 89 days, he became the second-youngest player to sign an MLS contract when he joined Sporting KC.
Now, at age 19, Busio is the second-youngest player and one of only seven teenagers to be selected to a Gold Cup roster in USMNT history. Only Juan Agudelo in 2011 was younger.
The lists of teenagers to play for the U.S. at a Gold Cup also includes DaMarcus Beasley (2002), Michael Bradley (2007) and Landon Donovan (2002).
“It’s a deserving call up for him,” SKC Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said. “He’s played incredibly well. I think his progression over the last couple of years has been fantastic. I can’t say enough about his attitude; I can’t say enough about his maturity for his age.”
Buscio has played for U.S. youth teams in the past and looks forward to representing his country again.
“I can only imagine what it’s going to be like to put on the crest and play in a tournament," Busio said. "It’s a different atmosphere, it’s a different passion. Every player takes more pride in the game when they put that crest on and I’m excited to do it for the men’s team."
Busio won't have to go far for USMNT's group stage.
The Gold Cup preliminary round will begin July 2, but the U.S. has already qualified for group play and will be based at Children's Mercy Park.
The USMNT will play one of the preliminary winners in its group-stage opener July 11, faces Martinique on July 15 and battles Canada on July 18. All games, including two other games for the Canadian Men's Soccer National Team, will be played at Children's Mery Park.
Forward Nicholas Gioacchini, who plays for SM Caen in French Ligue 2, also made the roster. He was born in Kansas City, where he lived until the family moved to Italy at age 8. The family returned to the U.S. four years later and settled in Maryland.
Tickets for the Gold Cup group stage are on sale now.