James Sands’ ever-increasing stock received another accolade on Wednesday when his club, New York City FC, announced that the 21-year-old defender has been selected to the 2021 Major League Soccer All-Star Team.
Becoming the first homegrown NYCFC player to be named to an MLS All-Star team, Sands started the first 10 matches of the 2021 season before he was called up to the United States’ Gold Cup squad. He made his national team debut in the group stages against Haiti before starting the remaining five matches in defense.
His presence on the backline helped anchor the United States’ run to the Gold Cup title where it defeated Mexico in the championship game.
This is the sixth straight season that an NYCFC player has been included in the All-Star Game, which will be played in Los Angeles on Aug. 25 (9 p.m. ET) against the Liga MX All-Stars — comprised of the top players participating in Mexico’s top-flight soccer league.
The full MLS All-Star team is as follows:
Goalkeepers (2): Pedro Gallese (Orlando City SC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
Defenders (9): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Jesus Murillo (Los Angeles FC), Nouhou Tolo (Seattle Sounders FC), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Alex Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), James Sands (New York City FC), Kai Wagner (Philadelphia Union), Yeimar Gomez Andrade (Seattle Sounders FC), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
Midfielders (7): Eduard Atuesta (Los Angeles FC), Carles Gil (New England Revolution), Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake), Joao Paulo (Seattle Sounders FC), Emanuel Reynoso (Minnesota United FC), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Lucas Zelarayan (Columbus Crew)
Forwards/Wingers (10): Gustavo Bou (New England Revolution), Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution), Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Javier Hernandez (LA Galaxy), Nani (Orlando City SC), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas), Diego Rossi (Los Angeles FC), Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders FC), Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC)