US SoccerUS Soccer
Tab Ramos

U-20 MNT April Camp Quote Sheet: Tab Ramos

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos named his 24-player roster for a weeklong camp (April 22-29) in preparation for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup later this year in Turkey. Ramos spoke with about the roster and getting back into the fold following a second-place showing at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Mexico:

On getting back into camp for the first time since the CONCACAF U-20 Championship:
Tab Ramos: “This is a very important camp for us and is a segue toward selecting our final group for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup,” Ramos said. “Because it is a domestic camp, we get to have 24 players on hand. We have some players who haven’t been seen and others who were part of the tournament, so we’re really looking forward to seeing how they perform.”

On previously injured players getting back into the U-20 MNT mix:
TR: “We had Victor Pineda, Omar Salgado and Alfred Koroma who we certainly would have counted on going into the qualifiers, but unfortunately they were injured and not available. The same is the case with Sean Cunningham. But all of these guys are here this week and we’re looking forward to seeing where they are in their recovery stage. We know they are all playing, but we want to see what level they’re at with this team and heading into the World Cup.”

On the leadership returning from qualifying:
TR: “In terms of the guys who played in that tournament and in that final against Mexico who were major contributors during the qualifying run, they are extremely important players for us. It’s great that they have that experience under their belt. For guys like Benji Joya, he was a quiet leader but someone who brought a lot to the table and continues to bring a lot to the table to make our team stronger.”

On selecting forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Marlon Hairston to their first Youth National Team camps:
TR: “Many of these players we have been following all along. We have somewhere between 75 and 90 on our depth chart, and we call around, speak with teams and keep track of how they are doing. In Jordan’s case, [Seattle Sounders head coach] Sigi Schmid thinks very highly of him, and we value his opinion and look at Jordan’s track record. When he’s scoring one or two goals in every Academy game, that is something you seriously have to look at. They both are showing good form at this time to try and compete for a World Cup spot. They’re both very good players.”

On the major goals of this weeklong camp:
TR: “We want to continue to build off of the qualifiers. We want to come into training playing hard, playing fast and continuing to do all of the things that made us grow as a team over the past few months. We are in a great place now. Obviously when you win, it validates the work that the team has been doing and gives them the confidence to continue putting in the hard work.”