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Primer Equipo   |   13 agosto, 2018

América fulfills Young Player Rule after just 4 matches

6 players born in 1997 or later credited with 967 minutes

Through four weeks of the Liga MX Apertura 2018 tournament, Club América has already fulfilled the league’s Young Player Rule, commonly known as the “20/11 rule.” This season’s rule is modified slightly from the original “20/11 rule,” so for some necessary background: In Apertura 2018, each club in Liga MX must play young players (born in 1997 or after) for 765 minutes during the tournament, or face a 3-point sanction at the end of the tournament. To avoid a team just putting out their U-20 squad for one match, no team can count more than 270 minutes per match. Teams can also count minutes for players that played with the Mexican National Team U-21 squad during the tournament.

In Matchday 4, Club América became the second of now three teams to fulfill the rule. América has also managed to find success while playing the kids, winning three of four league matches and sitting in third place in the league while the other two teams sit in 12th and 16th place. Naturally, playing your best young players on the first team would negatively affect the U-20 squad, but that’s not the case with América’s Fuerzas Básicas. The U-20 squad has four wins in four matches, leading the table with 12 points.

Let’s dig in to how we’ve already fulfilled the rule, and who these kids are:

Matchday 1

In Matchday 1 at Necaxa, Edson Álvarez and Antonio López were subbed on in the 83rd minute, each earning 7 minutes toward the rule. For Antonio López, it was his First Team debut, the first of many that young players would make this season.

However, those weren’t the only minutes for the club that week. Diego Lainez, Carlos Vargas, and Jorge Sánchez were on international duty with the Mexican U-21 squad at the Central American and Caribbean Games. By the end of the tournament, Lainez played 225 minutes, Vargas played 180, and Sánchez played 167. Each player would officially receive credit for 180 minutes toward the Young Player Rule. However, these minutes wouldn’t be officially counted until the players received 50 minutes of league action.

More on the young guns from this week:

Edson Álvarez

Birthdate: September 24, 1997

Acquired: Joined Club América Fuerzas Básicas

First Team Debut: Apertura 2016

Edson was called up to the Mexican National Team for the 2018 World Cup where he was the youngest player on the squad and became one of the youngest players to ever start a World Cup match.

Antonio López

Birthdate: October 4, 1997

Acquired: Joined Club América Fuerzas Básicas

First Team Debut: Apertura 2018

Diego Lainez

Birthdate: June 09, 2000

Acquired: Joined Club América Fuerzas Básicas

First Team Debut: Clausura 2017

Diego Lainez is the youngest player in Club América history to record a brace. At the 2018 Toulon Tournament, he was named player of the Tournament, joining a list of honorees including: Héctor Herrera, James Rodríguez, Javier Mascherano, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, and other legendary past and present players.

Carlos Vargas

Birthdate: February 14, 1999

Acquired: From Club Tijuana

Jorge Sánchez

Birthdate: December 10, 1997

Acquired: From Club Santos Laguna

Matchday 2

In Matchday 2, Diego and company had returned from the Mexican U-21 squad. Diego played 21 minutes as a substitute, and Edson played the full 90 minutes in the 3-0 win over Atlas. After Matchday 2 the official count (not yet including the minutes with the national team) stood at:

Edson Álvarez, 97 minutes

Diego Lainez, 21 minutes

Antonio López, 7 minutes

Total: 125 minutes

Matchday 3

In Matchday 3, another América Fuerzas Básicas product received his league debut. Jose Guillen was brought on in the 81st minute to replace Diego Lainez, who had scored two goals to become the youngest player in Club América history with a brace. With Diego eclipsing the 50-minute mark and Edson playing another 90 minutes, the total now stood at:

Edson Álvarez, 187 minutes

Diego Lainez, 282 minutes

Jose Guillen, 9 minutes

Antonio López, 7 minutes

Total: 530 minutes

Jose Guillen

Birthdate: September 05, 1998

Acquired: Joined Club América Fuerzas Básicas

First Team Debut: Apertura 2018

Matchday 4

Matchday 4 saw another 90 minutes for Edson, Diego’s first full 90 minutes for the club this tournament, 90 minutes for Jorge Sánchez in his league debut for América (which also bring his 180 minutes with the national team into play), and 32 minutes for Carlos Vargas as a substitute:

Edson Álvarez, 277 minutes

Diego Lainez, 372 minutes

Jorge Sánchez, 270 minutes

Carlos Vargas, 32 minutes

Jose Guillen, 9 minutes

Antonio López, 7 minutes

Total: 967 minutes

Of those 967 minutes, 665 come from players who have risen through América’s Fuerzas Básicas system. Of those players from the club’s youth ranks, this year one has made his World Cup debut with Mexico, becoming one of the youngest players to ever start a World Cup match, and another has won Player of the Tournament at the famed Toulon Tournament. While fulfilling the rule through just four weeks of the season, América has earned 9 points and sit in third place in the table while the U-20 squad hasn’t missed a beat, winning all four of its matches.

The kids are alright.