He cites Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies as an inspiration and Gregg Berhalter sees him as the USMNT’s left-back of the future, but who exactly is Wolfsburg’s new teenage signing Kevin Paredes?
Allow bundesliga.com to fill in some blanks…
Position: Left wing, wing-back
Country: USA (3 U17 caps, one goal) / Dominican Republic
Born to Dominican parents in South Riding, Virginia, in 2003, Paredes took his first steps in the game at Loudoun Soccer club, before joining the DC United academy at the age of 13 in 2016. He scored 39 goals in 85 US Soccer Development Academy appearances, and in 2019/20 made his debut in professional soccer in the USL – the second division in the USA – featuring for DC United feeder club Loudoun United FC. Across his three outings in the division, Paredes recorded one assist and completed 79 percent of all his passes.
The pacy left-footer signed a pro contract with DC united as a homegrown player in January 2020 at the age of just 16, before making his debut in the MLS is Back tournament in July that year against Toronto FC.
Paredes made 17 top-flight appearances in 2019/20, picking up his first assist as a pro in October 2020. He established himself as a first-team regular in the following season, posting three goals and an assist in 24 MLS outings. Such consistency obviously caught the eye of the national set-up and in addition to earning three caps for the USA U17s, picking up a goal and an assist along the way, he was also called up to the senior USMNT roster for training camps in July and December 2021.
Upon accepting a call from an unknown number, Paredes ended up chatting to Berhalter: “We were just discussing positions and he said he could see me as our left back in the future for the national team. I was really surprised, being in his eyes part of the future was a dream come true. But he said left-back position and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m an attacker!’ But if that’s where I’m going to get minutes then no problem. I’ll play there.’ He’s been such a big help.”
Plays a bit like: Angelino
Left-footed, 5’10”, quick and attack-minded – the list of similarities between Paredes and the RB Leipzig wing-back could seemingly go on and on. Both like to get forward at every opportunity and are able to deliver teasing crosses into the box, or cause havoc with mazy dribbles of their own. They don’t neglect their defensive duties though, conscientiously tracking back so as not to leave the team exposed.
Did you know?
Paredes took inspiration for his game from watching one of Alphonso Davies’ final performances for the Vancouver Whitecaps prior to his move to Bayern in 2018. In a match against DC United in July 2018, Davies took on three players before curling a brilliant shot into the net to score a last-minute consolation in a 3-1 defeat.
If the goal was insignificant in terms of the scoreline, it nevertheless had a huge impact on Paredes. “Ever since then I was like, ‘OK, this is a really good player that maybe I can start shaping my play around,’” he told MLSsoccer.com in 2021.
“Then once he got put into that left-back role and moved to Bayern, I’ve been following him, following his tracks, how he plays, how he defends. “He was an attacking player at Vancouver and in the academy before that transition to left-back, sort of the same position I’m in currently right now in the process of going to that more defensive role.”
Catch him if you can: Paredes’ pace and agility make him a handful for any defender. – Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Icon SMI
What they’re saying
“I can hardly wait to get going at VfL. My first impressions of the facilities here are awesome. I’m very pleased to be here and I’m eager about taking on the new challenge and succeeding with VfL.” – Paredes upon signing for Wolfsburg
“The whole reason I wanted to play this beautiful sport is to play on the biggest stages. That will be my forever goal, and also playing for the country I’m born in. Those two are things I have in the back of my mind, what I’m chasing.” – Paredes in 2021
“We’re very happy that Kevin was quickly convinced by our philosophy and the path we’re on, and that he’s joining us. Despite his age he’s already gained some experience at first-team level, and as well as the left wing he can also play in the centre. In addition, he brings pace and dynamism, he’s very agile and nimble on the ball, covers a lot of ground on the pitch and has a really good mentality.” – Wolfsburg sporting director Marcel Schäfer
“We couldn’t be prouder and happier for Kevin to follow his dreams to compete in a great league like the German Bundesliga. Kevin’s rapid rise from our academy to a first team starter is a testament to his desire, talent, and commitment, as well as a lot of hard work and support from our great coaches and staff at the club. All of us at the club wish Kevin a very long and successful professional career.” – Dave Kasper, President of Soccer Operations for DC United