FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The opportunities continue to knock on New England Revolution rookie Isaac Angking’s door at the tail end of his debut MLS season.
Following his inaugural career appearance against New York City FC in September, and then his initial call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team at the Under-19 level, Angking had another chance to seize with his first-ever call-up to the Under-20 USMNT in October – and on an even bigger stage.
“It was good to be back with the national team,” said Angking. “Every game is very important. Every practice with them, you just have to take advantage, (because) there’s a lot more to come.”
This critical opportunity took place on a large scale, as the 18-year-old joined the squad for the 2018 Concacaf Under-20 Championship, which determines which four teams will represent Concacaf at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Angking played a significant role in the group stage as the U.S. won all five matches comfortably, with 39 goals scored and only two goals conceded across meetings with Puerto Rico (Nov. 1), the U.S. Virgin Islands (Nov. 3), Trinidad and Tobago (Nov. 5), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Nov. 7), and Suriname (Nov. 9).
“Each group that (Under-20 head coach) Tab (Ramos) gets to take over has different elements and potentially better than the previous groups that he has as the development in the United States keeps going forward year in, year out, so it was good for Isaac to see exactly where the rest of the players were in his age group,” said Revs head coach Brad Friedel, who previously served as the U.S. U-19 coach.
With four appearances and two starts in the tournament, Angking made his presence felt each time he stepped onto the pitch among other world premier youth soccer talent. While the victories were all team efforts, Angking had a key contribution on an individual level in the win over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as he notched an assist on Anthony Fontana’s 66th-minute goal.
The U-20 team made a few changes between the tournament’s group and qualification stages, and Angking returned to New England based on the adjustments Ramos implemented. However, Angking said that the message from the coaching staff was positive as his time with the team finished, and that he was happy to have a chance to get minutes under his belt in any capacity.
“It’s always important – especially if you’re not getting a ton of (first-team) minutes with your current club – to be able to go to a youth national team and get game experience against very talented young players,” said fellow Homegrown product Scott Caldwell. “Anytime you can gain that experience and bring something back with you – gain confidence, comfortableness – in a game situation, it’s really important, so it’s great for him to get that opportunity.”
Angking carries what he’s learned so far from the national team back to Foxborough, as now he is finishing post-season training with the first team. The Homegrown Player understands that the work doesn’t stop in the offseason though, and he’ll be putting his best foot forward as he heads into his second year with the Revs.
“We hope he’s going to have a bright future,” said Friedel. “He has a few what we call ‘uncoachables.’ He is a truly gifted player when it comes to the ball at his feet, so we’re going to have a lot of work ahead both from the staff and his point of view, to get him to a point where hopefully he can be a regular in the team, but I’m sure he’ll work really hard to try to get there.”