CHICAGO (Oct. 1, 2012) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named a 19-player roster for the team’s upcoming international friendlies against Canada, Scotland and Azerbaijan from Oct. 6-17 at the 2012 Marbella Cup in Marbella, Spain.
The roster includes a variety of domestically based players along with several playing professionally in Mexico and Europe. In total, 10 of the 19 players on the roster are based in the U.S., while three come from club teams in Mexico and six players will make the short trek from their European clubs to the competition in Spain.
Two players earned their first call ups to the U.S. U-20 MNT – goalkeeper Zackary Steffen of the FC DELCO Academy in Pennsylvania and defender Shane O’Neill, who recently signed a professional contract with the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer in June and made his professional debut in a 3-0 win on Sept. 5 against the Portland Timbers.
Previously, Steffen started for the U.S. U-18 MNT in a 4-2 win against the Netherlands on Sept. 11. O’Neill has never been a part of the U.S. Youth National Team program at any level, but he did log time with the Rapids Academy team in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Midfielder Marc Pelosi will make his first appearance for the U-20s since participating with the U.S. U-17 MNT in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Pelosi was called into camp with the U-20s earlier this year, but was unable to join the team.
Just eight players on the current roster participated in the 2012 Northern Ireland Milk Cup from July 21-26, where the U.S. earned a 1-2 record and a fourth-place finish in the prestigious annual tournament.
Steffen is the lone player on the roster born in 1995, while Pelosi, Mario Rodriguez and Kendall McIntosh were all born in 1994. The remaining players on the roster were born in 1993.
A handful of players are rejoining the team after a period of absence. Defender William Packwood is back with the team for the first time since three friendlies in South America during the month of June. Packwood has worked his way into the first team rotation with Birmingham City FC of England’s Football League Championship in recent weeks, most recently starting and playing 81 minutes in a 1-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sept. 29.
Two German-based players – forward Jerome Kiesewetter and defender Anthony Brooks – are making their first appearance with the team since a 0-0 friendly against Azerbaijan in Duisburg, Germany in November of 2011.
The U.S. U-20 MNT is scheduled to face Canada at 5:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET) on Wednesday, Oct. 10 in the team’s first match. On Friday, Oct. 12, the U.S. squares off against Scotland at 3:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) and finally takes on Azerbaijan at 5 p.m. (11 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
U.S. Under-20 MNT Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Zackary Steffen (FC Delco Academy; Downington, Pa.).
DEFENDERS (7): Anthony Brooks (Hertha BSC; Berlin, Germany), Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (UANL Tigres; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Birmingham City FC; Concord, Mass.), Walker Zimmerman (Furman; Lawrenceville, Ga.).
MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (North Carolina; Mission, Tex.), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool FC; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.).
FORWARDS (5): Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.), Jonathan Top (FC Dallas; Fort Worth, Tex.), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)
- Goalkeeper Zackary Steffen and defender Shane O’Neill are both first-time selections for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, while midfielder Marc Pelosi will make his first appearance, despite previously earning a call up.
- O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Top (FC Dallas) and Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy) all represent clubs from Major League Soccer.
- Midfielder Benji Joya and forward Daniel Cuevas are teammates with defending Liga MX (Mexico) champion Santos Laguna – where current Men’s National Team forward Herculez Gomez also plays.
- Anthony Brooks and Jerome Kiesewetter are both rejoining the team for the first time since a November 2011 friendly against Azerbaijan in Germany.