Head coach Tab Ramos will take 21 players to Turkey later this month, with the Americans facing Spain, France and Ghana in group play.U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos has narrowed down his player pool to the group he thinks has the best chance at success in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Ramos cut his 35-man provisional roster down to a select 21 that will take on France, Spain and Ghana in group play later this month. SC Freiburg product Caleb Stanko will continue to captain the U-20s, according to U.S. Soccer, and the roster is headlined by the likes of LA Galaxy striker Jose Villarreal, Seattle Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin, RSL midfielder Luis Gil, Columbus Crew midfielder Wil Trapp and the Santos Laguna duo of Daniel Cuevas and Benji Joya.
“We’re very happy about the group we selected,” Ramos said in a U.S. Soccer release. “Obviously it’s always difficult. Wednesday night we were up till late selecting the final couple players. It’s always hard to let a player go who’s worked so hard to get here, and we know that we have 35 players who are deserving of going to the World Cup.”
The U.S. U-20s finished second to Mexico in the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 championship, and they are coming off a 1-3-0 showing at the Toulon Tournament in France. The Americans fell to host France, Colombia and South Korea and notched a victory over Congo.
Among the players who have had limited experience on the U-20's road to Turkey are dual-national Monterrey forward Alonso Hernandez and 17-year-old FC Dallas academy product Kellyn Acosta. The two joined Ramos' side for the Toulon Tournament for their first involvement with the U-20s.
"I think there were two finds in [the Toulon Tournament] in particular," Ramos said. "One, because we didn’t know him at all, was Alonso Hernandez. That was a great find for us. And then the other one that we’ve known really well and in U.S. Soccer is someone who has worn the crest for a long period of time, is Kellyn Acosta. Even though he’s a younger player, he proved to us that he can really help us."
Here is the USA's roster in full:
GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Zach Steffen (FC DELCO; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS: Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS: Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Danny Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)