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Why San Jose’s 15-year-old Kaedren Spivey could be the next great USMNT midfielder

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Kaedren Spivey can shoot from a distance and dribble past defenders with tricky feints and precise footwork.

Combine that with a poise that his coach says is uncommon to most 15-year-olds, and it’s easy to see why the San Jose native was named the MLS NEXT U-15 most valuable player after he scored 14 goals in 24 games.

If you ask Spivey though, getting shots past the keeper is way down the list of things he enjoys about the game that has already taken him to places as far away as Portugal and Croatia.

The 5-foot-11 attacking midfielder who plays for the San Jose Earthquakes academy team and the US National U-15 team has grown up idolizing Paul Pogba.

The former Manchester United and Juventus superstar was a do-it-all talent, best known for making the kinds of long passes that Spivey likes to emulate.

“It’s a tool in my toolbox, for sure,” Spivey said. “And I feel like when I do use it, it creates good opportunities.”

If Spivey continues to develop at this rate – and racks up more appearances with the U.S. National Team at the younger age groups – it wouldn’t be a shock to see Spivey eventually earn a coveted spot with the senior USMNT in a few years.

And, perhaps, play in the World Cup one day.

“That’s something I’d dream about as a little kid, so to talk about it as an actual possibility, it’s shocking,” Kaedren said. “It’s crazy.”

Kaedren Spivey, who turned 15 last week, is the MVP of the Under-15 division among all MLS Academy clubs, at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

The second of three soccer-playing brothers, Kaedren’s parents Kelly and Jermaine Spivey didn’t have ambitions of seeing their son represent the stars and stripes when they signed their children up for soccer at a local rec center.

They just wanted the boys to get some exercise.

Even though Kaedren wanted to be a football star like his father, who was a defensive back at Bowling Green in the 1990s, the beautiful game eventually won him over.

After winning MVP honors for his age group, it’s clear Spivey made the right choice. His mother could barely contain her excitement when she found out that Kaedren was being honored with the award on his birthday, May 28.

“It’s just one of those moments that’s kind of surreal, because there’s so many excellent players at this level and everybody is good — everybody,” Kelly Spivey said. “So for him to be singled out like that is really, really special.”

In addition to his parents’ support, Kaedren credits his older brother Jermaine, who is 18 and plays for the Earthquakes’ second team,  for much of his success.

“Every time he would train to get better, he would bring me along with him,” Kaedren remembered.

Kaedren Spivey, who turned 15 last week, is the MVP of the Under-15 division among all MLS Academy clubs, at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
Kaedren Spivey, who turned 15 last week, is the MVP of the Under-15 division among all MLS Academy clubs, at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

Training takes up most of Kaedren’s life these days, and he had to move to online-only classes in March to fit with his busy schedule.

“He was missing so much school,” Kelly Spivey said. “He was missing a week to be in Southern California, and then in the fall he was away for almost three weeks between going to Portugal and playing a bunch of different international teams, and then coming back and going straight to a tournament in Phoenix.”

Even though he’s dedicated his life to pursuing a pro career, Kaedren’s parents still want their son to live like a regular teenager when he can.

“He’ll still text his friends and go hang out on the weekend when there’s not soccer, and just hang out and be a kid. Because he’s still just a young kid,” said Jermaine Spivey, who works in tech while his wife has a job with the YMCA.

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