The Top 12 Young Soccer Players And Their Rookie Cards To Look Out For (2021-2022)

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It’s always exciting to see the next soccer stars coming through – It’s even more exciting for soccer card and sticker investors, because there’s huge money to be made.

I often mention the sports card investing strategy of buying rookie cards of young prospects and holding onto them. If the player goes on to hit the big time, his rookie card values skyrocket.

So, with the 2021-22 season just starting, let’s take a look at the current best young outfield players in soccer – they have to be under 23 years old before the start of the season to make this list.

Some of these players will already be well-known and established in soccer, and therefore their rookie cards will command high prices already. However, some on the list aren’t as well-known just yet, and their cards are potential bargains right now.

12. Dušan Vlahović

What Is Dušan Vlahović’s True Rookie Card?

2016-17 Panini Fifa 365 Dušan Vlahović

2016-17 Panini Fifa 365 Dušan Vlahović Soccer Sticker

Dušan Vlahović made a name for himself in soccer last season (2020-21), where he scored 21 goals in the Italian Serie A for Fiorentina. Regular goal-scoring strikers are priceless in soccer, and Vlahović, who’s 21, is already in-demand with some of the best teams in the world. If he can continue scoring goals, at the same rate, in the next couple of seasons, he will no doubt be one of soccer’s top players. 

His rookie sticker is from his second season with Partizan in the Serbian SuperLiga, and is hard to come by in good condition.

11. Alphonso Davies

What Is Alphonso Davies’ True Rookie Card?

2017-18 Chevron Vancouver Whitecaps Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Davies has already established himself as one of the best wing-backs in world soccer. He gained a lot of hype during the 2019-20 season, which is the year he made his breakthrough with Bayern Munich in Germany. It was his performances in the Champions League, which Bayern Munich went on to win that season, that got the attention of soccer fans. 

There’s no doubt that the Canadian 20 year old will be a big part of the Bayern team in the next 10 years. His rookie card is pretty rare, so it’s already quite highly valued.

10. Dejan Kulusevski

What Is Dejan Kulusevski’s True Rookie Card?

2019-20 Panini Calciatori Dejan Kulusevski

2019-20 Panini Calciatori Dejan Kulusevski Soccer Sticker

Dejan Kulusevski is still relatively under-hyped in soccer, in my opinion. The 21 year old winger is part of an exciting group of young players at Juventus, and has impressed in his time playing senior soccer in Serie A so far. Juventus paid Atalanta just under $50m for Kulusevski, after a number of Europe’s big teams showed interest. I think 2021-22 could be a big season for him, and I think that’ll increase his reputation a bit across soccer. 

His rookie sticker can be picked up very cheaply right now, I would expect it to rise a lot in the future.

9. Bukayo Saka

What Is Bukayo Saka’s True Rookie Card?

2019-20 Panini Tabloid Special Edition English Premier League Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka is one of a number of promising young players establishing themselves at Arsenal right now, but he is the stand-out youngster for them. Saka impressed in the Premier League last season. He also recently played a big part in England’s Euro 2020 (played in 2021), where they made it to the final. 

His willingness to dribble and take on defenders makes him exciting to watch, and at just 19 years old, his best years in soccer are still ahead of him.

8. Kai Havertz

What Is Kai Havertz’s True Rookie Card?

2016-17 Topps Bundesliga Match Attax Extra Kai Havertz

2016-17 Topps Bundesliga Match Attax Extra Kai Havertz Soccer Card

Before the start of the 2020-21 season, Chelsea brought Kai Havertz for just under $100m. He’s been considered one of the best young players in soccer over the last couple of years, but he did endure a tough first season in the Premier League. Havertz did, however, score the winning goal in the Champions League final for Chelsea, and now that he’s had a year to adapt to the Premier League, I think he’ll have a big season in 2021-22.

7. Mason Greenwood

What Is Mason Greenwood’s True Rookie Card?

2019-20 Panini Fifa 365 Juan Mata / Mason Greenwood

2019-20 Panini Fifa 365 Juan Mata / Mason Greenwood Soccer Sticker

Manchester United are famous for developing young players into stars, and Mason Greenwood is the next in-line. Greenwood has become a big part of the Manchester United team at just 19 years old. He can play anywhere in attack and is a very good finisher who is good using both feet. He’s already scored 30 senior goals and, if he continues to develop, will be a future star of soccer. 

His rookie sticker was released in the 2019-20 Panini Fifa 365 set, and is still quite undervalued.

6. Matthijs De Ligt

What Is Matthijs De Ligt’s True Rookie Card?

2017-18 Panini Fifa 365 Matthijs De Ligt

2017-18 Panini Fifa 365 Matthijs De Ligt Soccer Sticker

Matthijs De Ligt gained a big reputation in soccer after being a big part of the young Ajax team that played so well and reached the semi-final of the Champions League in the 2018-19 season. De Ligt became the first defender ever to win the European Golden Boy award in 2018 and became Ajax’s youngest ever captain, when he was just 18. Juventus signed him, following that big season with Ajax, after most of Europe’s top teams tried, and he’s already established himself there.

Defenders’ rookie cards don’t tend to hold much value, so you can pick up his rookie sticker quite easily – I wouldn’t expect it to skyrocket in the future, as I would with some of the others, because of his position.

5. João Félix

What Is João Félix’s True Rookie Card?

2015-16 S.L. Benfica PrePhoto Sports João Félix

2015-16 S.L. Benfica PrePhoto Sports João Félix Soccer Card

João Félix is another player on this list who has previously won the European Golden Boy award, which he won in 2019 after breaking through with Benfica. Félix is known for his creativity and technical ability, which are vital to his role as an attacking midfielder. In 2019, Atlético Madrid paid a huge transfer fee of around $150m for him, which, at the time, was the 4th highest transfer fee paid for a player ever – He was also shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or that season.

Félix’s rookie card is one that should be valuable in the future, but it is rare and hard to come by because he was still just an academy player when it was released.

4. Phil Foden

What Is Phil Foden’s True Rookie Card?

2017-18 Topps Match Attax Premier League Extra Phil Foden

2017-18 Topps Match Attax Premier League Extra Phil Foden Soccer Card

Phil Foden has been playing senior soccer for Manchester City in the Premier League since 2017, despite the fact he’s still only 21 years old now. His current manager, Pep Guardiola, described Foden as the most talented youngster he’s ever seen, even though Guardiola, who’s one of the most successful soccer managers ever, managed a young Lionel Messi at Barcelona. 

It’s clear that Foden has everything to become one of soccer’s best players, and last season was a very good one for him, so the future is bright for the attacking midfielder. His rookie card is definitely a buy at current value, in my opinion – It’s almost risk free for what you’ll be paying right now.

3. Jadon Sancho

What Is Jadon Sancho’s True Rookie Card?

2017-18 Panini WCCF Jadon Sancho

2017-18 Panini WCCF Jadon Sancho Soccer Card

Jadon Sancho has recently earned a transfer to Manchester United for just under $100m, after a few very successful seasons at Borussia Dortmund. The 21 year old winger is technical, quick and very skillful, and that makes him very exciting to watch. Despite being so young, Sancho has had over 30 goal contributions in each of his last 3 seasons, and now that he’s playing for one of soccer’s top teams, Manchester United, who regularly develop young players, his reputation is only going to get bigger. Many in soccer believe Sancho will be one of the top 5 players in the world.

His rookie card is still very reasonably priced, in my opinion. Right now you can buy it for less than $100, which I think is hugely undervalued – I don’t think it’ll be long before it rises significantly.

2. Erling Haaland

What Is Erling Haaland’s True Rookie Card?

2019-20 Panini Austrian Fussball Erling Haaland

2019-20 Panini Austrian Fussball Erling Haaland Soccer Sticker

Erling Haaland became a global name in soccer out of almost nowhere in the 2019-20 season for RB Salzburg. The current Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who managed Haaland at Molde in 2017, gave him his first senior appearance, and could see his potential early on – But for many in Soccer, it was his breakthrough season at RB Salzburg that grabbed their attention, earned him the European Golden Boy award, and ultimately led to his transfer to Borussia Dortmund, who are known for developing young talent. He scored 28 goals in 22 games for Salzburg that season, and became the first teenager to score in 5 consecutive Champions League games. 

He’s already one of the best strikers in the world at just 21, with his rare mix of height, strength and lots of pace, and his rookie sticker is already very popular among soccer card collectors.

1. Kylian Mbappe

What Is Kylian Mbappe’s True Rookie Card?

2016-17 Panini Foot Corentin Jean / Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe is already one of soccer’s top players (and a current world champion with France), some argue the next best after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. For me, I think there’s a couple still ahead of him, like Robert Lewandowski, but very few would argue he makes the top 6 or 7 players in the world right now. At just 22 years old, it seems highly likely that Mbappe will go on to win the Ballon d’Or at least once during his career.

His pace and technical ability make him a very exciting player to watch and his soccer cards are in demand – Therefore, his rookie sticker is already highly valued.

What Is The Best Young Soccer Player Rookie Card Investment In 2021-22?

Jadon Sancho’s rookie card, at current value, is a good investment. He’s one of the top young players in the world, who has just moved to the most popular and supported soccer team in the world, Manchester United.

There are others on the list that are a good investment, but after weighing up all factors, Sancho is the best investment based on the current value of his rookie card.

I do also believe Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden’s rookie cards are a good buy at their current value as well.

Mbappe and Haaland will be worth huge amounts in the future, but their cards are already valued highly. I do think there’s room to run on them yet, but some of the others on this list are hugely undervalued right now, especially when you consider that soccer cards in general are becoming more popular and valuable.

Picture of Tom Flint

Tom Flint

A long-time collector of sports cards, Tom mainly collects soccer World Cup Prizm cards these days. As a kid, he enjoyed collecting baseball cards. He's a huge sports fan, with lots experience and passion for sports card collecting.
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