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Top scorer Martinez injured

Atlanta United FC
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Who might emerge -- as Messi once did -- at South America Under-20 Championships?

In 2005, South America's under-20 tournament proved a springboard for Lionel Messi to U20 Wrld Cup and global stardom.

Venezuela are the only South American nation never to have made it to a World Cup. But they are convinced that their time will come in 2022 -- and their optimism is based on much more than mere faith. Two years ago they went to the final of the Under-20 World Cup, where they missed a penalty before losing 1-0 to England.

In Venezuela, they believe this generation will carry them all the way to Qatar -- an illustration of the importance that South America attaches to its under-20 teams.

There is...

Atlanta United sign MLS MVP Josef Martinez to five-year contract extension through 2023

Atlanta United's Josef Martinez opens up about his future with Atlanta United and if a move back to Europe would be in the cards.

Josef Martinez agreed to a five-year contract extension that will keep with Atlanta United through 2023, with the MLS MVP calling the Five Stripes his Barcelona or Real Madrid.

The Venezuela international and MLS MVP has been one of the league's most productive players over the last two seasons, scoring 54 goals in 60 MLS games (including playoffs), including an MLS record 31 goals last campaign.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Martinez said the new deal was more about his comfort in Atlanta...

Late Tomas Rincon penalty clinches draw for Venezuela against Japan

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Venezuela captain Tomas Rincon's penalty nine minutes from full-time earned a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Japan in Oita on Friday after Hiroki Sakai scored his first international goal for the hosts.

Japan came into the match on the back of three wins from three under new coach Hajime Moriyasu but they could not maintain their perfect record as they continue preparations for the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, beginning Jan. 5.

In an entertaining first half in which both teams looked to...

 By Tim Vickery

Venezuela's club football on the verge of historic breakthrough

Australia's new coach Bert Van Marwijk was quick out of the blocks. A week ahead of Monday's deadline he named his provisional 32-man squad for the World Cup -- to be whittled down to 23 by the time the competition kicks off.

The members of his squad are strewn across Europe and Asia, with very few based at home. Just five players make their living in the country's A-League, the competition launched in 2005-06.

The then eight-team A-League got underway just as Australia ensured qualification for...

 By Tim Vickery

Venezuela, Uruguay show Chile the way to success through U-20 progression

Venezuela have shown success in blooding young players.

When Venezuela take on Uruguay in Thursday's World Cup qualifier, the importance of Under-20 football should be very clear.

The Venezuelans have no chance of making it to Russia. They are already building for the long term, hoping to make their senior World Cup debut in Qatar 2022. And they hope they have unearthed the generation that will get them there -- the squad that reached the final of this year's U-20 World Cup.

Nine members of that group have been called up for the upcoming matches against...