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U.S. U-20 MF Ledezma signs with PSV Eindhoven

PSV v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Group B

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 24: Detailed view of a PSV sticker before the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between PSV and Tottenham Hotspur at Philips Stadion on October 24, 2018 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

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Another American teenager is heading to Europe.

PSV Eindhoven announced on Friday the signing of 18-year-old midfielder Richard (Richie) Ledezma on a 1-and-a-half year contract. Ledezma will start off with the PSV U-19 squad and will look to move up into the first team over the next 18 months. Ledezma has been a regular member of Tab Ramos’ U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team side since the start of 2018, even helping the U.S. U-20s defeat France U-21s in a friendly match.

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The Arizona native is the latest youngster to leave the Real Salt Lake academy on a free transfer to Europe. Sebastian Soto left earlier this year for Hannover in the Bundesliga and in the past, Brooks Lennon left the RSL academy for Liverpool, only to return to the club in 2017. Ledezma also featured in 2018 for Real Monarchs, RSL’s developmental side that plays in USL. He started twice and came on as a substitute on three occasions, scoring one goal.

While many established American stars have returned to MLS from Europe in recent years, it’s a positive sign for the future of the U.S. Men’s National Team to see more teenagers pushing themselves and battling for an opportunity in Europe.