The Top 8 Young Australian Soccer Players in 2021 – Future Socceroos Stars

By Ben Morris in Soccer
| February 16, 2021 9:25 am PDT
Best Young Australian Soccer Players 2021

Who are the best young Australian soccer players in 2021? Well, that’s a very good question.

In the A-League and beyond, it feels like there is a host of Aussie youngsters breaking through at the moment.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Socceroos are on the cusp of a golden generation, but there are certainly plenty of promising prospects for Australian soccer fans to get excited about at the moment.

In this post, I share my top eight young Australian soccer players to watch in 2021. From Stoke City’s Harry Souttar to Brisbane Roar’s Dylan Wenzel-Halls, the future of the Socceroos appears to be in safe hands.

So, without further ado, let’s check out the best young Australian soccer players in 2021.

Harry Souttar

  • Age: 22
  • Club: Stoke City
  • Position: Center-Back

Australia has consistently produced solid center-backs over the years, with the likes of Lucas Neill, Tony Popovic, and Mark Milligan excelling both on home soil and overseas.

In my eyes, Harry Souttar has the potential to add his name to that list.

Born in Scotland, Souttar represented the country of his birth at various different youth levels. But since switching allegiances to Australia, the birthplace of his mother, the young center-back has scored four goals in two appearances for the Socceroos.

Pretty impressive for a defender, right?

Souttar started his career at Dundee United before moving to Stoke City in 2016. Following successful loan spells with Ross County and Fleetwood Town, the 22-year-old has become a key figure for the Potters.

The budding center-back looks set to play a pivotal role in Stoke’s backline for the foreseeable future, and with Michael O’Neill’s side pushing for promotion this year, he could soon find himself playing in the EPL.

Souttar is undoubtedly one of the best young Australian soccer players in 2021.

Alou Kuol

  • Age: 19
  • Club: Central Coast Mariners
  • Position: Forward

It is difficult to think of a youngster that has made a bigger instant impact on the A-League than Alou Koul.

The teenager made a handful of substitute appearances during the 2019/20 season, showing glimpses of what he is capable of. But throughout the opening stages of the 2020/21 campaign, Kuol has arguably been the A-League’s standout player.

The Central Coast prodigy netted five goals in his opening seven appearances this term, including a match-winning brace against Western United.

Naturally, Kuol’s performances have led to calls for the Sudanese-born striker to be handed his first international call-up. With attention already coming from overseas, the Mariners will be desperate to keep the striker in Australia for as long as possible.

After making a name for himself with semi-professional side Goulburn Valley Suns, Kuol was rejected by A-League clubs Melbourne Victory and Western United, following unsuccessful trials.

However, it’s safe to say that Central Coast made the correct decision in signing the prodigy.

If Kuol continues to score goals for the Mariners at a rapid rate, many believe that he will land himself a high-profile transfer to Europe.

Alou Kuol of Central Coast Mariners

Dylan Wenzel-Halls

  • Age: 23
  • Club: Brisbane Roar
  • Position: Forward

At 23, Dylan Wenzel-Halls is no longer a rising star. But when it comes to discussing the top young Australian soccer players in 2021, you simply cannot leave the Queenslander out of the equation.

Having shone for Brisbane Roar since 2018, Wenzel-Halls is already on the verge of surpassing a half-century of A-League appearances. If he carries on the way he’s going, he will almost certainly rack up a whole lot more.

Best known for his smart close control and neat footwork, the youngster has also started to add goals to his game this year. He only managed to score eight goals across his first two A-League seasons, but he bagged five goals and two assists in his opening seven outings in 2021.

If he can maintain those kinds of numbers, it is surely only a matter of time before Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold comes calling.

With Wenzel-Halls tearing up the A-League alongside Kuol this year, the future of Australian soccer looks bright, especially in the attacking department.

DYLAN WENZEL-HALLS (A-LEAGUE STATS)
Season Appearances Goals Assists
2020/21 7 5 2
2019/20 20 3
2018/19 20 5 2

Riley McGree

  • Age: 22
  • Club: Birmingham City
  • Position: Central Midfield

For someone so young, Riley McGree has already experienced more than his fair share of transfers and memorable moments as a professional soccer player.

The midfielder left Adelaide United to join Belgian side Club Brugge as a teenager before returning to Australia for loan stints with Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City. He then re-signed for Adelaide on a permanent basis, winning the club’s Player of the Year award in 2019/20.

However, it wasn’t long before McGree was on the move again.

The Australia U23 international was signed by Charlotte FC – a planned MLS expansion team – in October 2020, with a loan move to English Championship outfit Birmingham City following immediately after.

In England’s second tier, McGree has continued to cement his status as one of the best young Australian soccer players on the planet right now.

If you’re wondering why you might have heard Riley McGree’s name before, chances are that he first came to your attention after scoring a famous “scorpion-kick” goal back in 2018, which led to him being nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award.

Major League Soccer fans will be hoping to enjoy more moments like that when he arrives on American shores next year.

Joel King

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Sydney FC
  • Position: Left-Back

Joel King burst onto the A-League scene last year, replacing the injured Michael Zullo in Sydney FC’s starting line-up midway through the 2019/20 campaign.

It looked as though the young left-back would weaken Steve Corica’s team. Instead, King barely put a foot wrong as he helped the Sky Blues to clinch the Premiership and the Championship, ending the season with a heroic Grand Final display.

Zullo has since recovered from injury, yet King has retained his place in Sydney FC’s backline this year.

The youngster’s marauding runs make him a genuine threat going forward, although he never neglects his defensive commitments. Indeed, he boasts all the right attributes to become an excellent modern-day full-back.

I made King one of my A-League players to watch in the 2020/21 A-League season, and he certainly hasn’t disappointed so far.

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Angus Thurgate

  • Age: 21
  • Club: Newcastle Jets
  • Position: Central Midfield

In my opinion, Angus Thurgate should have represented Australia at the senior level by now.

The exciting midfielder was part of his country’s AFC U19 Championship squad back in 2018. But despite continuing to shine for Newcastle Jets, he has somehow been deprived of a Socceroos call-up.

Still, if Thurgate continues to light up the A-League, there is no reason why he can’t thrust himself into Graham Arnold’s plans.

With his contract running down in Newcastle, the 21-year-old was attracting the attention of some of Australia’s biggest clubs. But he recently committed his future to the Jets by signing a two-year extension with his boyhood team.

Over the past couple of years, Thurgate has established himself as one of the A-League’s most complete midfielders. His creativity sees him consistently chip in with goals and assists, but he also isn’t afraid to do the dirty work.

There is no denying that Thurgate is one of Australia’s best young soccer players at the moment.

ANGUS THURGATE (A-LEAGUE STATS)
Season Appearances Goals Assists
2020/21 8
2019/20 25 2 2
2018/19 9 1 1
2017/18 7

Lachlan Rose

  • Age: 21
  • Club: Macarthur FC
  • Position: Winger

Only a few months ago, you would have been forgiven for not knowing the first thing about Lachlan Rose.

I mean, up until last year, the youngster was playing for semi-pro club Blacktown Spartans in NPL2, so there isn’t really any reason why you would have heard of him.

But in 2021, Rose has suddenly become an important member of Macarthur’s inaugural A-League squad, and it feels like the unknown quantity still has plenty of talent to unlock.

The Bulls made a number of high-profile signings leading up to the 2020/21 season, with famous names such as Benat Etxebarria, Markel Susaeta, Tommy Oar, and Adam Federici joining the A-League newcomers.

However, it could be argued that Rose has made a bigger impact than most of his team-mates.

Not only is the winger comfortable with the ball at his feet, but he has also shown that he likes to run behind opposition defenses and create problems. Better still, his tireless work-rate has gained him plenty of admirers recently.

Macarthur’s smart recruitment policy has seen the club unearth a future Aussie star.

Lachlan Rose of Macarthur FC

Calem Nieuwenhof

  • Age: 19
  • Club: Sydney FC
  • Position: Defensive Midfield

Most young Aussies enjoy relatively quiet A-League debuts – but not Calem Nieuwenhof.

In fact, the Sydney FC prodigy announced himself on the scene in the best possible fashion back in January, netting a spectacular long-range strike in a 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix.

Unsurprisingly, the teenager’s name has been on everyone’s lips this year.

Not only is Nieuwenhof capable of scoring screamers, but he also plays with a maturity far beyond his years. The defensive midfielder is a confident passer, composed on the ball, and hard-working out of possession, too.

After shining in the Asian Champions League towards the end of last year, it was obvious that Nieuwenhof was ready for the A-League. But having kicked off the new campaign in style, he could outgrow Australia’s top division and secure a big move aboard in the future.

The Wrap-Up

Australian soccer is definitely on the rise.

Okay – the Socceroos probably won’t achieve anything out of the ordinary on the international stage anytime soon. But if the country continues to produce exciting young players, soccer fans Down Under could have something to cheer about at upcoming World Cups.

That’s it for my take on the best young Australian soccer players in 2021. If you enjoy tracking up-and-coming stars, why not check out some of my other recent posts on the same topic?

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