Kevin Paredes: America’s next sensation in Europe by Joshua Nkan
In today’s report, we analyze VfL Wolfsburg’s Kevin Paredes. We highlight his strengths, weaknesses, current ability, and future potential.
Kevin Paredes is the latest talent from the USA relishing the often-trotted path from MLS to Bundesliga.
Name: Kevin Alexander Paredes
Nationality: United States
D.O.B: 5/7/2003 (19 years old)
Strong Foot: Left
Current Club: VFL Wolfsburg
Position: left wing-back, left winger
Value: £5.00m (via Transfermarkt)
Kevin Paredes is a young American winger who plays for VfL Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga. He was born on May 7, 2003, in South Riding, Virginia, United States to Dominican parents. Paredes is considered one of the top young prospects for the USMNT and his performances for Wolfsburg have been praised. He is known for his speed, technical abilities, and tendency to take on players.
Paredes, long touted as the jewel of D.C. United’s infamously inconsistent academy, signed with the first team in 2020. He made his professional debut for D.C. United during a match against the New England Revolution on July 18, 2021; though he would only enter as an 88th-minute substitute, his role would soon grow. Then Head Coach Hernan Losada embraced and trusted in the young winger making more than half of his 17 appearances in his debut MLS season first 11 starts. Though he would eventually lose the locker room over his intense tactical philosophy, Paredes took to Argentinian manager’s demands, seamlessness demonstrating an unprecedented physical dominance for a teenager standing at only 5’6. Paredes, left-footed, featured as a traditional left winger, targeting deliveries to the aerial poachers DC play with. Soon however, Losada would exploit the winger’s gift at running into space, moving him farther back as a Joao Cancelo-esque Left-Back. In fact, it was not uncommon for Paredes to inherit a central midfield role in possession not dissimilar to Dortmund’s Raphaël Guerreiro, as he demonstrated a relentless level of pressing unmatched not only among his fellow youth teammates, (Nyeman & Yow) but the rest of the squad. Kevin Paredes soon became a growing sensation in MLS. The Bielsa-inspired tactical requirements of Argentinian Coach Losada gave Paredes the opportunity to develop a footballing IQ far beyond his years. It is no wonder that City Football group began inquiring about his services at this time in a move that would have likely seen him sign for one of the sister clubs of the Manchester giants such as Girona or France’s ES Troyes similarly to his international teammate Erick Palmer-Brown. The versatile teenager would gather 6 goal involvements for the floundering DC outfit before European teams had seen enough to demand his signature.
In January 2021, it was announced that Paredes had signed with VfL Wolfsburg, for just over $7 million. He initially joined the club’s U-19 team, as the club’s manager merry-go-round made for a difficult time breaking into the team. A lifeline for minutes was handed to Paredes in the form of Senior National training camps in July and December 2021. He was unfortunately unable to make this his senior national debut due to an injury sustained in training. However, Paredes was part of the US U-17 that qualified to the U-17 World Cup in 2019.
This season under manager Niko Kovac the player has become a regular fixture in the first- team squad. The Croatian coach has unlocked Paredes’ explosive ball carrying capacity in a ‘super-sub’ role for the left-wing position in which he competes with young winger Jakub Kamiński. The aforementioned 20 year old Kaminski profiles similarly to Paredes, though winning the lions-share of minutes between the two so far; however, where Paredes has him beat is in Shot Creating actions. This perhaps is why Kovac has insisted on keeping Paredes listed as a winger despite the limited minutes currently available, rather than at fullback or in midfield as he has done before, and players like Baku have deputized as.
Style of Play:
All signs indicate that Paredes will continue as a left-side winger, now profiling similarly to Chelsea’s 100 million pound Mykhailo Mudryk. He also seems to have grown a significant amount physically, last measured at 5 foot 6 inches tall, the American may have gained an inch or two since the season began. The powerful, yet cerebral driving of the ball, married with an eye for a cross means that the American winger can see himself increase in role should Wolfsburg play in Europe next year; and his performances suggest he is a shoe-in for at least one of US Soccer’s squads in the upcoming Olympics and U-20 World Cup.