Cameron Harper: Things to know about young USMNT star

Ross Jackson
Mar 6, 2021, 11:50 AM GMT
Cameron Harper of Celtic
Cameron Harper of Celtic | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It never rains but it pours.

As if poor old Celtic fans haven't had enough to deal with this season - what with their former boss Neil Lennon having a very public meltdown, Covid-19 controversy and city rivals Rangers set to steal their crown - they've now had to wave goodbye to their most talented youngster.

Cameron Harper has been making waves in the Bhoys academy for some time now and was even afforded his first team during the 2020/21 season.

However, he'd decided to swap Scotland for America, penning a three-year deal with New York Red Bulls and subsequently heaping further misery onto those poor Celtic fans. Only nine titles in ten years? Awful.

Anyway, here's everything you need to know about the exciting winger.

1. Born and raised in California

Both of his parents are originally from Glasgow, however, they moved to America 30 years ago and Harper was born in California.

Despite being born and raised in America, the youngster always followed Celtic and as a child he would watch their matches as well as visiting Scotland every couple of years.

That being said, if his Twitter account is anything to go by, he's also a keen follower of Premier League giants Liverpool.

2. Was a member of Pateadores development academy

Harper grew up playing football in southern California, and it wasn't long before his talent was recognised.

A large part of the youngster's development is owed to Pateadores, an American footballing academy whose alumni include the likes of former Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu, former USA international John Thorrington and current DC United centre-back Steve Birnbaum.

3. Capped for USA at Under-20 level

Harper has already been capped at numerous youth levels for the USA including the Under-20s.

The last time the youngster met up with his international colleagues, he was a standout performer in his side's clash with the Mexico Under-20s and was subsequently offered the opportunity to train with the senior side.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter was pictured in conversation with Harper following the session.

4. Started out as a striker

Harper began his footballing career as a striker, but upon joining the Celtic academy, youth team coaches decided he would be more effective in the wide areas and he subsequently dropped back into midfield.

The youngster is capable of operating on either flank and is noted for his ability to beat a man.

Harper is seen as something of a throwback to the wingers of old, with former Celtic boss Lennon said to have been impressed by his work rate in training.

In summary, New York Red Bulls have done well for themselves!

5. He was Celtic's most talented youngster

Given Harper's inclusion in the Celtic starting XI against Hibs, it probably won't come as much of a surprise to hear that those within the club were hugely excited about the winger's potential.

Teammate Karamoko Dembele was long talked of as the shining light in the Celtic academy, but the development of Harper in recent years saw him become the most talked about prospect in the Bhoys youth ranks.

No wonder they were so desperate to keep hold of him.

6. Was on the fringes of the Celtic squad for a while

While Harper's Celtic debut back in January may have propelled him into the limelight somewhat, he was actually mixing it with the Celtic first team for some time prior to his big moment.

The 19-year-old was an unused substitute in Celtic's Scottish Premiership clash with Dundee United, while he even made the bench in the Champions League qualifying rounds as Lennon's side were dumped out of the competition following a 2-1 defeat to Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros.

7. Decent FIFA 21 potential

While he starts out as a lowly 59 on FIFA 21, the game's developers clearly recognise Harper's potential too.

If you play your cards right, the young American will rise to a healthy 78 OVR.

As you might expect with a winger, his strongest in-game attributes are his acceleration, sprint speed, agility and balance.