In 2011, Ben Lederman became the savior of American soccer. No, he wasn't the first to carry that moniker; the name of Freddy Adu (among others) still conjures up a detestable stench. But Lederman was different: he was the first American to sign with probably the best club in the world, Barcelona. At the age of 11!
Lederman's entire family moved to Spain to support his potential. American soccer circles were abuzz. A thorough New York Times profile followed. At the age of 13!
It didn't exactly pan out. Unfortunately, international soccer laws started to frown at cross-national switches for youth players. Lederman was sidelined; by the time he was allowed to rejoin the Barca academy, it was too little, too late. Ben's biggest achievement of his stay in Spain? Arguably, his bar mitzvah.
Lederman left Barca in 2018, joining a club in Belgium before a short stint in Israel. He signed with a Polish team last year, and is finally getting playing time at the senior level. At the age of 20.
There's still a lot of time for Lederman to have a good soccer career... but he is probably not the savior of American soccer.