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Tab Ramos Finalizes 21-Player Roster for 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup

CHICAGO (May 13, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named the 21-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, which runs from May 30-June 20.

"I’m very excited about this particular group,” said Ramos. “It was very difficult making the final decision because there were quite a few players who deserved to go to the World Cup. Unfortunately, in the end I can only select a certain number, and I’m very happy with the selections that we made.”

The roster will be submitted by May 15 in accordance with FIFA rules.

The group departs May 14 for training in Australia, where the remaining players will join the camp prior to arrival in New Zealand.

The U.S. was drawn into Group A with host New Zealand, Ukraine and Myanmar. The team opens group play against Myanmar at 12 a.m. ET on May 30 in Whangarei, followed by matches with New Zealand on June 2 and Ukraine on June 5, both of which will be played in Auckland. All of the U.S.’s group matches will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 and NBC Universo.

Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jeff Caldwell (University of Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Thomas Olsen (University of San Diego; Las Vegas, Nev.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downingtown, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Shaquell Moore (Valencia Huracan; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Joel Soñora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina), Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal; Montgomery County, Md.)
FORWARDS (5): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake; Rochester, N.Y.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.)

The U-20 MNT capped off its World Cup Qualifying run at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship with four-straight wins. After opening the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Guatemala followed by a 1-0 loss to Panama, the team went on to defeat Aruba, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago to earn a playoff match with El Salvador. The U-20s were victorious against El Salvador and the 2-0 win secured the team a spot in the 2015 U-20 FIFA World Cup.

The U-20 MNT has played three international friendlies since the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. On March 29, the team fell 2-1 to England’s U-21s in England. A month later, the team drew 2-2 with Qatar’s U-20s on April 21 during a European training camp that concluded with a 1-0 win over Croatia on April 25 in Austria. Eleven players that were a part of the roster for the Austria camp appear on this roster.

The U-20 World Cup showcases some of the world’s best young talent. The USA’s roster at last summer’s 2014 FIFA World Cup featured nine players had previously played in a U-20 World Cup: Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Mix Diskerud, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando and DeAndre Yedlin.

The USA’s best finish at the U-20 World Cup came in Saudi Arabia in 1989, where the team finished in fourth place. In 2013, the USA was drawn into a group with Spain, eventual third-place finisher Ghana, and eventual 2013 U-20 World Cup champion France. While the U.S. played France to a draw, it was unable to advance past the group stage.

Roster Notes:

  • On this roster, nine players come from European clubs, seven players from MLS, two from Liga MX, one from Argentina and two are playing at the collegiate level in the United States.
  • Ten players from this roster were on the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship roster.
  • Eleven players from this roster were part of the U-20s most recent camp in Austria.
  • Fourteen players have ties to the Development Academy: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas Academy), Jordan Allen (Empire Revolution and Real Salt Lake AZ), Paul Arriola (Arsenal FC), Jeff Caldwell (NC Fusion), Russell Canouse (PA Classics and New York Red Bulls Academy), Marco Delgado (Chivas USA Academy), Emerson Hyndman (FC Dallas Academy), Bradford Jamieson IV (Chivas USA Academy and LA Galaxy Academy), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls Academy), Shaquell Moore (FC Dallas Academy and IMG Academy), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC Academy), John Requejo (Real So Cal), Zack Steffen (Continental FC DELCO), Tommy Thompson (California Development Academy).
  • Gedion Zelalem has been cleared by FIFA to represent U.S. Soccer in international competition and is included in the squad.
  • Tab Ramos becomes the third coach to lead a U-20 team in multiple World Cups (2013, 2015), following Sigi Schmid (1999, 2005) and Thomas Rongen (2003, 2007, 2009).
  • Kellyn Acosta and Zack Steffen were also on the roster for the U-20 World Cup in 2013, becoming the 8th and 9th player to appear on rosters for two U-20 World Cups/Youth Championships (Adu, Convey, Szetela, Keller, Sturgis, Arguez, Perk). 
  • John Requejo and Tommy Thompson are the most experienced players on the roster having both earned 16 career caps with the U-20 MNT.
  • Cameron Carter-Vickers was born on Dec. 31, 1997, making him the youngest player on the roster at 17 years old.
  • Requejo and Carter-Vickers are the only two players that started and played all 90 minutes of all six of the U.S.’s 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship matches.
  • Rubio Rubin earned a cap with the U.S. MNT this year during its match against Denmark. Rubin has three career caps with the senior team.
  • Emerson Hyndman is the roster’s leading assist man and has recorded three in six appearances in 2015.
  • Paul Arriola scored the second goal of the U.S.’s 2-0 victory over El Salvador in the CONCACAF playoff match that clinched the team’s spot in the World Cup.
  • Arriola and Requejo are teammates with Liga MX’s Club Tijuana.
  • Shaq Moore was named to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship All-Tournament Team.
  • Acosta and Hyndman played together in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons at FC Dallas Academy.

Experience to Play Pivotal Role for U.S. U-20 MNT at World Cup

They say experience is the teacher of all things, and that could prove to be a key factor for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team as it approaches the final weeks of preparation leading up to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. 

U.S. head coach Tab Ramos is at the forefront of that experience. Not only did he play in both a U-20 and senior team World Cup – three in fact – but Ramos is also entering his second World Cup as head coach of the U20s. 

“Having been in a World Cup before is a great experience,” Ramos said. “Going to my second World Cup (as a coach), it’s easier for me to focus on the team and not on everything that surrounds the team.” 

Ramos isn’t alone in experience with this group – and this tournament. Also returning from the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey are assistant coaches Javier Perez and Russell Payne, as well as goalkeeper Zack Steffen and midfielder Kellyn Acosta. While neither player played in Turkey, the experience they gained as being part of the group was invaluable. 

“Looking back at 2013, I didn’t get to play, but I was there learning, and taking it all in,” Acosta said. “I was able to look at how polished pros like Will Trapp and Luis Gil led and handled the group; how mature they were about what they did. 

“Going into this World Cup, with what I was able to observe two years ago, I think I can help the guys that maybe haven’t been in such a big stage before be more prepared so they can play and just be focused on the game and not be distracted by all the other things that come with the World Cup.” 

Acosta was the captain for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship team in Jamaica, however he injured his knee in the second game and was forced to miss the remainder of the tournament. 

“I was very disappointed, because I wanted to be able to help the team,” said Acosta. “But I was very proud of the team. They had four great games and they grinded it out and got us through. And I thought Russ (Canouse) did a great job in pulling the team together.” 

That the team could qualify without Acosta – who is now fully healthy and playing regularly with his team, FC Dallas - is another reminder of the depth that the U-20 age group has. 

“The difference from 2013 was fairly big,” Ramos said of selecting the final roster. “We didn’t have as many options for the 2013 roster. This is a roster with a number of options to select different types of players. It’s a very competitive group and one with many more players who are playing in the first division.” 

Acosta said the competition for positions is a good thing for the team. 

“No spot is guaranteed,” Acosta said. “I’ve been fortunate to get minutes with my team, but not going to those camps had me on my toes. Anyone can come in and play well. I feel like these last two camps mattered a lot.” 

And that they did. 

Desevio Payne and Maki Tall are two examples of players who had previously not been part of a U.S. Youth Team who impressed Ramos in camps in England and Austria and made the World Cup roster. 

Marco Delgado, Jordan Allen, Erik Palmer-Brown, and Joel Soñora are players with previous YNT experience who did not participate in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship but made the final roster through their play at the recent camps. 

The group will get together starting next week in Carson, California, leaving two weeks to prepare for the World Cup opener against Myanmar on May 30. 

“The goal at this point is to win our first game,” Ramos said. “So we are completely committed to seeing what Myanmar is about and being completely prepared to win that game. 

From California the team will travel to Australia for a few days before departing for New Zealand. 

 “We have to act like it’s game mode,” Acosta said of the team’s approach from here on out. “No opponent is going to be easy, so any game we play in the next few weeks we have to treat it like it’s a World Cup game.” 

Acosta has been a leader on the team for a while now, and while he accepts the role, he also stresses the importance of everyone being able to contribute. 

“I’ve taken the role over the past year, and I’m ready to take the role again. But I think every guy needs to be vocal for us to be a good team. As a group collectively, we need everyone pulling together.” 

Having been there before, and knowing this team, Acosta is anxious to get to New Zealand. 

“I can’t really express how excited I am to go out and show the world what we got and prove to everyone why we should be a force to be reckoned with.”

Tab Ramos Names U-20 MNT Roster for March Camp in England

CHICAGO (March 22, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named the roster for the USA’s first foreign training camp of the year from March 23-30 in England.

Twenty players are headed to the camp, which will include a closed door match against Tottenham Hotspur’s Under-21 team on Friday, March 27 in London, followed by a matchup against England’s Under-21 Men’s National Team on Sunday, March 29 at 11 a.m. ET at Home Park in Plymouth. Admission to the game on Sunday is open to the public. Neither game will be streamed or televised.

This will be the U-20’s first training camp of the year as the team continues its preparation for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, taking place this summer in New Zealand from May 30-June 20.

“Right now we have our entire plan set leading up to the World Cup,” said U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos. “We’ve got this trip to England first from March 23-30, which will include a game against England’s U-21s which will be a good measuring stick for us to see where we are. England always has good players, and to play them there will be a good competitive game for us.”

Ten of the 20 players on the roster were part of the team that competed in the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and qualified the USA for the U-20 World Cup. In addition, 17 of the 20 have been with the U-20 MNT in some capacity since the 2014 cycle began. Goalkeeper Thomas Olsen, midfielder Ethan Sonis and defender Desevio Payne are the exceptions as this will be their first call-up to a U.S. Soccer Youth National Team.

Midfielder Russell Canouse is the most capped player of the group with 14 appearances during his U-20 career; John Requejo and Tommy Thompson follow close behind with 13 apiece.

Four USA players making the trip overseas play on English clubs, including midfielders Emerson Hyndman (Fulham) and Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), forward Andrija Novakovich (Reading FC) and defender Cameron Carters-Vickers (Tottenham).

Five players represent clubs in Major League Soccer: defenders Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC) and Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City), midfielder Marco Delgado (Toronto FC), and forwards Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy) and Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes).

Following the trip to England, the USA will travel to Austria for a second foreign camp running from April 18-26, that will feature games against Qatar’s and Croatia’s U-20 sides.

The USA was drawn into Group A of the U-20 World Cup alongside host New Zealand, Ukraine and first-time participant Myanmar. The U.S. opens the tournament May 30 against Myanmar, continues play on June 2 against New Zealand, and wraps up the group stage against Ukraine on June 5.

Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Thomas Olsen (University of San Diego; Las Vegas, Nev.)
DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC; Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland; Santa Cruz, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Ethan Sonis (SC Freiburg; Coral Springs, Fla.), Joel Sonora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina).
FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Andrija Novakovich (Reading; Muskego, Wis.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.), Dembakwi Yomba (Atlético Madrid; Lithonia, Ga.).

Quote Sheet: U-20 MNT vs. El Salvador – 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship

2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship Quote Sheet
USA 1, SLV 0
Jan. 24, 2015

U-20 MNT head coach TAB RAMOS
On accomplishing the goal of qualifying for the World Cup:
“Obviously the Guatemala game changed our plan a little bit for the Panama game, which put us behind the 8-ball for the rest of the tournament. I’m really happy for the boys because it was really difficult in the last four games to have to eliminate an opponent, and they did it. We pushed them hard and they did a good job. Today’s game, we knew it was going to be very difficult. I thought we were well prepared because we’ve played in particular the last two games were very difficult for us as well. The boys did a good job. Defensively we’re playing really well, very organized. And when you limit other teams to very few opportunities to score, when you do that and you have the sort of firepower that we have up front, we always feel that at some point we’re going to get the game going in our direction. And today that’s just the way it went.”

On Zack Steffen’s penalty kick save and the defense posting four straight shutouts:
“Zack made a great save at the right time for us, although I felt El Salvador really was not dangerous throughout the game. They did have some possession on our side of the field, which is not really what we wanted. But these are difficult games.”

“In general, the defense played very well. We have Cameron [Carter-Vickers] and Matt [Miazga] in the middle and I think they’re a great pair of center backs. They play well together. And with Zack in goal – we’re very fortunate in that way. The U.S., we have very good goalkeepers and Zack is definitely one of the next ones to come up. And so between the two center backs and the goalkeeper I think they did a amazing job throughout the whole tournament.”

On how you compare this team to the 2013 team that also advanced to the World Cup:
“Well, this team is better. This team is just as technical as the last group, but they’re more dynamic and we have speed on this team. And also anxious going in to the World Cup, in getting guys like possibly Rubio Rubin back, and other guys that may come in to the fold at that point that may get released and that will help us up front as well.”

On how the second-half substitutes made a difference again:
“We feel fortunate with this particular group because I’ve been speaking about the depth of this group in general. I felt as if I really had 14 starters, and the other guys also play well. I felt like there were 14 guys that really could have started tonight’s game, and last game and the game before. And when I brought them off the bench, to have that type of attitude to come in and be willing to change the game, they did an amazing job. At the end of the day, they may be the guys that made the difference for us.”

On the character of the team to bounce back after a rocky start:
“It’s definitely not easy. I think you need good leadership in the group. I thought we had that. I thought we had humble players who were willing to work hard. It’s not easy because the expectations are so high for us. We came here with no other desire than to be champions of CONCACAF, and after two games that dream was already over. It was hard to regroup, but we regrouped and we got to this game. And as everybody knows, it’s always difficult to qualify to the World Cup. So for them to have won four straight games and to go to another World Cup, I think it’s just really an amazing job, considering where we were after two games.”

U.S. U-20 MNT forward BEN SPENCER
On his first-half goal:
“Emerson [Hyndman] put in a ball and I knew I had to get something on the end of it. I got on the end of the cross and it hit off the crossbar and sort of followed up and was able to put it in.”

On scoring in such an important game:
“It was a huge game for all of us, and we knew that coming into the game. So to be able to score in a game like this is definitely big. But the most important thing is that we won and we’re going to New Zealand.”

U.S. U-20 MNT midfielder RUSSELL CANOUSE
On not starting the first two games and then taking the captain’s responsibility to lead the team:
“In a couple of camps when Kellyn [Acosta] wasn’t in, I tried to take lead of the team the best I could. So when he went out injured, I just tried to step and lead the team, and try to get everyone to fight for what our goal was and it worked out well. We were able to win our last four games and made our dreams come true.”

On how all 20 players played in the tournament and were able to contribute:
“Tab said from the beginning that depth was important and we used all our guys. And offensively everyone was able to contribute. That was definitely one positive that we can take from this tournament.”

On how it feels to know the U-20 MNT is going to the World Cup:
“It’s a dream come true. That was one of my goals from the beginning of this cycle. You don’t want to think of it too far in advance, but it was definitely one of my goals and I’m glad we achieved it.”

U.S. U-20 MNT goalkeeper ZACK STEFFEN
On saving the penalty kick:
“I knew it was a PK, so I didn’t even try to argue it. I went back, got a sip of water and relax myself. We did a little bit of scouting on No. 11 on his previous PKs, that he went to my right side. So it was kind of a little mind game to see if he would switch it up and go to the left side. But I saw him look to the left side, and players usually try to trick the goalkeeper by looking one way and going the other. So I saw him look one way and I had a strong feeling he’d go right. And I was able to save it.”

On how he prepared for penalty kicks at training the day before:
“After he took it, I was thinking about yesterday and how we practiced them and how I was feeling good. The practice helped get me in the zone. If we didn’t practice I think I would have been a lot more nervous.”

On helping the team return to the World Cup:
“It’s awesome. To be the No. 1 and be able to carry the team with Russ [Canouse] and Kellyn [Acosta] to the World Cup, it’s very exciting.”

U.S. U-20 MNT defender MATT MIAZGA
On qualifying for the U-20 World Cup:
“Obviously it’s a good moment for us and U.S. Soccer. To be able to represent our country to the World Cup is a huge achievement. We’re going to work hard in the next few months and make that dream come true.”

On if there were any doubts after the first two games that the team would qualify:
“No. We’re a very confident group. We know we made our mistakes but we knew that we could correct them. And we knew that we had the chance to fix them in the upcoming games, and that’s what we did. We took each game one game at a time and we got the results. And it all came down to today against El Salvador and I thought we played a very good game and we got the result. All that matters now is that we booked our ticket to New Zealand.”

On the defense posting four straight shutouts:
“We’re a tight knit group of guys. We all get along really well, we all have each other’s backs, we all cover each other. If one guy makes a mistake, the other guy has his back. And I think we’re all very good players. So together we’ve played well and it showed in the results.”

U.S. U-20 MNT defender CAMERON CARTER-VICKERS
On qualifying for the U-20 World Cup:
“I think in the first games, we didn’t perform that well. But we improved. I think by the end, even though our performance may not have been the best, I always knew that we were going to win. I always knew that we had it in us to do what needed to be done.”

On Steffen’s PK save:
“It was excellent. I gave away the PK, so I was a bit nervous. And when he saved it I was relieved. I thought he was going to save it; I had a feeling he would and believed in his ability. We were practicing penalties yesterday in training and he saved quite a few, so I thought he had it in him.”

Zack Steffen Takes the Next Step

ussoccer.com hears from U-20 MNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen who discusses his development as a player and his path to signing a professional contract. Teammate Russell Canouse and goalkeeper coach Russell Payne also talk about working with Zack.

Soccer:

  • Joined U.S. Residency Program in the spring of 2010 and spent two semesters in Bradenton. Entered the program with the U-14 BNT.
  • Was part of two U.S. Soccer Development Academy programs, first with PA Classics in Pennsylvania and then with the New York Red Bulls Academy in 2009-2010.
  • In 2012, a 16-year-old Canouse signed with Bundesliga side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after spending the previous year with the club’s youth academy and earning academy Player of the Year honors for his play with Hoffenheim’s U-17s as the team’s captain. Canouse would captain the Hoffenheim U-19s during their run to an A-Junioren Bundesliga title in 2014.
  • Appeared in five of the six matches for the U.S. at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica, serving as captain and starting the final four matches – all shutouts – on the way to clinching a berth at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Misc:

  • Son of the late Stephanie Oster and Gregory Canouse; Has a younger brother, Riley, and older siblings Kyle and Chelsea.
  • Dad played soccer at Drexel University, and mom was a swimmer in high school.
  • Mom sadly passed away in 2012 after battling lung cancer.
  • Great grandparents were from Russia.
  • Began at Hempfield High School and then graduated from Heidelberg International English School in Germany, and is now taking online classes from Drexel University.
  • Played basketball growing up.
  • Used to sing in the chorus at Hempfield.
  • Was a big fan of DaMarcus Beasley and has his Chicago Fire jersey. Would attend numerous MLS games, including All-Star games. 

Under-20s: Canouse and Romain Gall tied for the team lead with nine international caps with the U-20 MNT in 2014. He logged 575 minutes, which ranked second on the team. Canouse wore the captain’s armband during the USA’s run to the National Training Center Invitational in July of 2014 … Under-17s: Canouse joined the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in the spring of 2010 and spent two semesters in Bradenton, Florida.

In 2012, a 16-year-old Canouse signed with Bundesliga side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after spending the previous year with the club’s youth academy, earning academy Player of the Year for his play with Hoffenheim’s U-17s as the team’s captain. Canouse would captain the Hoffenheim U-19s during their run to an A-Junioren Bundesliga title in 2014. Canouse spent a portion of the 2009-10 Development Academy season with the New York Red Bulls U-16s.

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