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Q & A With U-20 MNT Head Coach Tab Ramos

U-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos recently concluded a training camp in Duisburg, Germany, the first of the U-20 cycle building up to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Along with U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna, Ramos brought in more than 35 players to give them an experience in a national team camp as they look to build into 2012 and beyond. Following the conclusion of the camp, caught up with Ramos to get his thoughts on the 10 days in Duisburg. How was the U-20 camp?
Tab Ramos: “The camp was great. It’s been excellent work by the players, by the staff, everybody working together. We realize on the U-20 side of things that we were there more as support to the Under-23 program at this point, but I think we did some great work, and it’s definitely something that we can take back as progress.” What do you hope the U-20s got out of this in preparation for the next World Cup cycle?
TR: “For me as the U-20 coach, it’s been a great opportunity to see some guys currently playing in Europe, to see the level they’re at, to talk to them a little bit about how much playing time they’re getting, what their future looks like, and how committed they would be to take all the trips that we need to be taking next year to prepare for World Cup qualifying.”
How important are opportunities like camp?
TR: “An opportunity like that is incredibly important because it gives us a chance to see players sort of in their environment. We were in Germany at a great facility in Duisburg, we had a lot of our U-20 core base playing in Germany, so we got to see them without having to deal with the jetlag of travel and everything else. In terms of preparation moving forward, it has really been a good tool and hopefully something that over the next 12-14 months, we can take advantage of a couple more times.”
Heading into 2012, what will you say made this camp a success?
TR: “From this particular camp, I think the important thing was getting to know the players. This is the beginning for all of us; this is the beginning of a new cycle. As always, a new cycle is always exciting. There’s opportunity for a lot of players, and I think they all feel part of that, in particular the players who have gotten to be here feel sort of like they’re given the first shot to be looked at, and I think that’s a good opportunity for them, and it’s a great chance for me.” What are your thoughts on the camp in Germany now that it’s concluded?
TR: “I think it’s been a tremendous camp, in particular for the younger guys, which obviously were very few of them. But for them, it’s been a great experience of at least getting a peek of where we need to be moving forward. I think they made good progress, and I’m happy with that.”