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Reed Baker-Whiting called into USA U19s as a right back

Sounders youngster has played exclusively as a midfielder at the club level.

Tacoma Defiance, Reed Baker-Whiting Charis Wilson / Tacoma Defiance

Reed Baker-Whiting has been called into the upcoming United States U19 training camp in preparation for the 2023 U20 men’s World Cup. The camp opened on Friday in Slovenia and will run through Sept. 28. They’ll compete in a tournament against national teams from Malta, Croatia and Scotland.

Notably, Baker-Whiting is listed as a defender. That’s a role he has never played with the Seattle Sounders or Tacoma Defiance, but he was used as a right back during his last youth national team call-up, even picking up an assist.

Defiance head coach Wade Webber said the Sounders never really thought of Baker-Whiting as anything other than a midfielder until relatively recently, but the organization now sees fullback as a possible way toward first-team minutes.

“In 1-v-1 defending he’s very good,” Webber said of Baker-Whiting. “It’s opened my eyes to extend the possibilities for Reed. He didn’t scream fullback to me.

“There has to be a clear plan for him. We have to be very intentional.”

While Alex Roldán is pretty locked in as the first-team right back, veteran Kelyn Rowe has effectively emerged as the backup at both fullback positions. A move to right back could open up some first-team opportunities for Baker-Whiting, who has six MLS appearances and is still just 17 but is competing with several other teens ahead of him on the midfield depth chart.

“Alex has exceeded my expectation as a right back,” Webber said. “But every player needs competition.”

Other youth national team call-ups

  • Stuart Hawkins was named to the USA U17 team for a tournament in Czechia. They’ll take on Slovakia, Germany and Czechia between Sept. 16-26. Hawkins signed a professional contract with Tacoma Defiance earlier this year.
  • Sounders Academy player Antonio Herrera was named to Mexico’s U17 team.

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