Thursday 01 June 2017, 16:32

Sargent comes of age in Korea Republic

  • Josh Sargent equals USA U-20 World Cup goals record

  • At 17-years-old, St. Louis native is youngest player in squad

  • Forward talks about record, transition into team and influences

Just under a month ago Josh Sargent was helping USA qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 at the CONCACAF Championship in Panama.

Today, thousands of miles away at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, he has tied his country’s goalscoring record in the competition's history, scoring four goals in four matches.

His record-tying goal against New Zealand in the Round of 16 was not vintage. Justen Glad’s volley took a slight deflection off Sargent and went in to set USA on their way to a rout. However, there was something poetic about matching the record that way; right place, right time.

Earlier in the tournament, Sargent became USA's youngest ever goalscorer in the competition, scoring three far more impressive goals than the one against New Zealand, showcasing his razor-sharp eye for goal and silky movement in front of goal.

“Obviously it’s a great feeling, but I’m not here to focus on myself, I’m here to help the team win games,” Sargent told after the match. “Everyone put their heart on the line and gave everything they had and you can see that in the result. It was a great win.”

With four goals, Sargent joined Jozy Altidore (2007), Eddie Johnson (2003) and fellow St. Louis native Taylor Twellman (1999) on USA’s all-time goals list at the U-20 World Cup.

“It’s definitely been very exhausting going from one place straight to another, but I love the game and it’s what I love to do, so I’m not going to stop,” Sargent said. “I just hope to keep getting better and better.

“I’ve been down in Florida with the U-17 residency programme for a couple of years now and I think the coaching staff, and even before that at my club in St. Louis, my coaches and my peers have done a great job giving me advice and guiding me.”

The ginger-haired, 17-year-old Sargent’s movement off the ball catches the eye, and he plays with a wisdom beyond his years, so it comes as no surprise as to who has influenced his game.

“I love (Robert) Lewandowski. He’s a great role model to me. I want to be like him one day. But growing up, my parents played in college. My older and younger sister play, so it runs in the family and we all just love it. It’s our passion.”

There has to be a maturity in a player to be able to make the quick jump up age levels like Sargent did.

“I definitely knew it was going to be a lot more physical, the players were going to be a lot bigger, stronger, faster, so I definitely have to be quick with my touches, but I’m ready for anything.”