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The next step
• Cowell, 17, accomplishes another major goal during his soccer career
Ceres native Cade Cowell earned an invitation to the U-23 U.S. Men’s Soccer National Team Training Camp, which will be staged in Florida this month. - photo by Courtesy of ISI Photos

Cade Cowell has reached another milestone during his soccer career.

The 17-year-old Ceres native was added to the U-23 U.S. Men’s National Team Training Camp roster on Jan. 5.

“I was excited about the news but also nervous because it is a very big deal,” Cowell said. “The U-23s are in the final stages for Olympic qualifiers and that would be a dream to play in the Olympics.”

“He saw the roster this morning and was back to working out in the afternoon,” said Debin Cowell, Cade’s father. “It lit a fire underneath him. We knew for a month it was coming. We couldn’t tell anyone. He’s been grinding every day to get ready mentally and physically. Now, the stakes are higher.”

Cowell will train alongside the U.S. Men’s National Team in Florida this month.

“I just want to do well and prove that I belong and that the stage is not too big for me,” said Cade, who’s 15 months younger than anyone else on the U-23 roster. “I have been working twice daily lifting weights, running and doing a ton of technical work to be ready. Hopefully, God will allow me to shine.”

“When most people are relaxing, he’s grinding,” Debin said. “He’s been doing double days and sometimes triple days for the last month. He’s in the best shape I’ve seen him in. If you work hard, good things happen.”

Cowell was rewarded for making a difference during his second season of professional soccer with the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 5-foot-11 166-pound winger/forward didn’t expect to play in the majority of his team’s games.

“He had a good year,” Debin said.

Cowell made 18 appearances, including four as a starter.

He collected one goal and one assist. 

He attempted 16 shots. 

“Every single day, you have to prove something,” Cowell said. “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.”

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 short in their bid to upset top-seeded Sporting Kansas City in Round One of the Major League Soccer Cup Playoffs.

San Jose lost 3-0 in a penalty-kick shootout to Sporting KC after the two teams battled to a 3-3 tie through regulation and extra time on Nov. 22 at Children’s Mercy Park. 

“We were very confident going into the match,” Cowell said. “We had two weeks to prepare for them. We gave it our all from the very first minute until the very last.”

Cowell entered the match as a substitute late in the second half.

He had two scoring chances, including one during extra time.

He threatened from close-range in the 113th minute.  Cowell’s left-footed shot from the right side was saved by Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia.

“I thought I could have done a lot better,” Cowell said while talking about his overall performance against Sporting KC. “I’m going to focus on my finishing (during the offseason).”

The Earthquakes compiled an 8-10-6 overall record on the season.

Cowell helped the Earthquakes secure their first playoff berth since 2017 with a 3-2 win over Los Angeles FC on Oct. 4 in San Jose.

He almost scored his second goal of the season after entering the match in the 87th minute. Cowell used his speed to beat two defenders before having his left-footed shot on a breakaway deflected by Los Angeles goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer.

San Jose earned the Western Conference’s eighth-and-final playoff spot thanks to an impressive run late in the season. The Earthquakes collected four wins, one loss and one tie in a 22-day span.

Cowell entered the record books on Aug. 29 by becoming the youngest player to start and score in team history in San Jose’s narrow 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

He also became the eighth-youngest goalscorer in league history. Cowell was just 16 at the time.

Cowell made his MLS debut against Minnesota United FC on March 7.

He didn’t make any appearances in league play as a rookie.

Cowell inked a five-year contract with San Jose at the age of 15 in January of 2019.

He became the youngest player signing in Earthquakes and Bay Area team sports history.

Cowell graduated from Cesar Chavez Jr. High in 2018.