Cade Cowell made Major League Soccer history this past week by becoming the youngest player to participate in an All-Star Game.
The 17-year-old Ceres native logged 46 minutes of playing time as the top talent from MLS edged the best of Mexico’s Liga MX 3-2 in a penalty-kick shootout on Aug. 25 at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angles. The match was tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation.
The contest was broadcast live on FS1, Univision, TSN and TVA Sports.
Cowell’s family, parents Debin and Amber, and siblings Cylee and Chance, attended the game.
“It’s definitely a big accomplishment,” Cowell said while talking about his all-star selection leading up to the first-ever meeting between MLS and Liga MX. “I’m very happy and excited. My family’s more excited than I was. They’re all going to go to the game. We’re all going to hang out before. It’s going to be a fun time.”
Cowell entered the MLS All-Star Game with 15 minutes to play in the first half as he replaced Seattle Sounders’ Raul Ruidiaz.
He exited the contest in the 76th minute as Orlando City SC’s Nani came on as a substitute.
Cowell contributed at right wing.
A third-year player with the San Jose Earthquakes, Cowell was named an MLS All-Star by League Commissioner Don Garber on Aug. 4.
Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda made the surprise announcement during practice at PayPal Park.
Cowell’s teammates erupted in cheers after Almeyda pulled his all-star jersey from a bag.
“You guys push me every day to be better,” Cowell said. “Always great competition.”
“Always have someone to look up to in scoring goals,” he added while pointing to San Jose forward /MLS all-time leading goalscorer Chris Wondolowski.
A total of 28 players were named to the MLS All-Star Team.
Cowell is currently enjoying his best season to date with San Jose.
“I’m doing well,” he said. “I’m not satisfied. I feel like I could do a lot more, have more goals and have more assists. I’m hoping to finish the season a lot better.”
“On the field, I’m a lot more confident,” he added. “There’s a lot of things I’ve learned by just playing.”
Cowell, a 5-foot-11 166-pound forward, became the first player in MLS this year to tally at least four goals and four assists.
He leads San Jose in assists (4) and ranks second in goals (4).
He became the third-youngest player to be named MLS Player of the Week following his Week 3 performance. He scored the winning goal and dished out two assists in a 4-1 victory over D.C. United on May 1.
Cowell joined the record books on April 24 when he became the sixth youngest player in MLS history to tally a goal and an assist in a single match during San Jose’s 3-1 win against visiting FC Dallas.
He accounted for what proved to be the game-winning assist in the 49th minute. Using the outside of his right foot, Cowell slotted a through pass to Earthquakes’ midfielder Cristian Espinoza.
He scored in the 59th minute as he fired a left-footed shot past FC Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.
Cowell’s outstanding play earned him a spot on the MLS Team of the Week for the first time. He also earned MLSsoccer.com Pass of the Week honors.
“It is nice to be named to things, but I’m really just focused on what I can control, and that is playing well,” he said.
Cowell and the Earthquakes edged LA Galaxy 2-1 on Aug. 20 to move to seventh place in the MLS standings (6-7-8).
He was on the pitch for 17 minutes as a substitute.
He attempted one shot.
The Earthquakes extended their league-best unbeaten streak to 10 matches as they’ve accumulated three wins and seven ties.
“My biggest goal is to work as hard as I can to stay on the field,” Cowell said while talking about his expectations for the remainder of the season. “Without being on the field, I can’t get goals or assists (for my team).”
Cowell totaled just one goal and one assist in 18 games a season ago.
He started four times.
He attempted 16 shots.
Cowell accomplished several firsts with San Jose in 2020.
He became the youngest player in Earthquakes’ history to make a postseason appearance. Cowell and eighth-seeded San Jose fell lost 3-1 in a penalty-kick shootout to top-seeded Sporting Kansas City in Round One of the MLS Cup Playoffs on Nov. 22 at Children’s Mercy Park.
Cowell became the youngest player to start and score in team history in San Jose’s narrow 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 29.
He also became the eighth-youngest goalscorer in league history.
He was just 16 at the time.
Cowell made his MLS debut against Minnesota United FC in March of 2020.
He didn’t make any appearances in MLS play as a rookie.
Cowell inked a five-year contract with San Jose at the age of 15 in January of 2019.
He was the youngest player signing in Earthquakes and Bay Area team sports history at that time.
Cowell attended San Jose games as a fan during his childhood.
Wondolowski was his favorite player.
“I’m literally in awe each day at just the specimen he is and just pure jealously of the attributes he has,” Wondolowski stated during an interview with MLSsoccer.com leading up to the 2021 season. “But his work ethic is what’s going to take him to that next level.”
“Wondo is a great friend and teammate,” Cowell said. “I learn from him daily.”
Cowell earned his first-ever call-up to the United States Men’s National senior team in July. He spent several days in Dallas training with the USMNT leading up to the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal game versus Jamaica before returning to San Jose.
“Cade keeps growing and yet is still very young,” Almeyda said. “When he improves on the things that I am looking for, he will become a very important player for his club and country. That requires time for him to play, make mistakes, play well or decently. That is the only way for young players to progress and grow.”
“Every single day, you have to prove something,” Cowell stated. “You have to take every practice and game serious. If you have a bad week of training, there’s a chance you might not get rostered. It’s super competitive. I just try to work as hard as possible.”