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FIFA U-20 World Cup a Chance for Redemption

For several members of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup represents another chance. Many have been part of the U.S. Soccer national team programs for various cycles, but only three have ever been part of a youth World Cup, and only two have played in one. Nine others came close and are now getting their opportunity on the world stage.

Jeff Caldwell, Joel Sonora, Conor Donovan, Rubio Rubin, John Requejo and Shaq Moore were all on the 2013 team that was upset by Honduras at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and missed out of that U-17 World Cup. Bradford Jamieson IV was left off that roster altogether after spending four semesters in Residency.

“Obviously that was a tough moment, not only for me but the rest of the team who experienced that,” said Moore, who was captain of the 2013 U-17 World Cup qualifying team. “I think having another chance – not even here at the World Cup, but at Qualifying in January with this group - was a big hurdle that I crossed to finally qualify for a World Cup.”

It wasn’t easy qualifying this time around, either. After tying the first and losing the second match, the U-20s won the final four matches in Jamaica – all by shutout – in order to qualify for New Zealand. One player who had to sit out was Sonora, who was injured weeks before. Thankful that the group qualified, he’s now looking forward for his chance at redemption.

“It was a big disappointment at the time because we were all expecting to qualify,” said Sonora of the 2013 team. “We didn’t see it as too difficult, and maybe we let our guard down. It was a very hard hit to take because it was the first time a U-17 team didn’t qualify for a World Cup. We were crushed. So we’re excited that we’ve now given ourselves another chance to show what we can do and what this group of players and this team is about in New Zealand.”

Two years earlier, Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola were the youngest members of the 2011 U-17 FIFA World Cup team in Mexico that bowed out in the Round of 16 with a loss to Germany. Acosta played in all four matches and Arriola in three. During that cycle, Marky Delgado did not make the qualifying roster, and while Jordan Allen was on the team that qualified, he was left off the final World Cup squad.

“There was disappointment, but at the time I hadn’t been playing well, so it was kind of expected,” Allen said. “I made sure once that happened, that the next time I had a chance to make a World Cup team I would have been doing everything I could to be in good form and put myself in the right position. So I’m happy that I’ve been able to do that this time.”

Allen and Delgado were also returning from injuries in January and not fit to go to Jamaica. But Allen seemed to be a longer shot. He suffered a knee injury last year that kept him out the picture for months. The Real Salt Lake forward made his first appearance with the U-20s in a camp in Austria in April, and got the call that he made the World Cup team a few weeks later.

“This means a lot,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of work in - being out of close to 10 months with my knee injury. As soon as I got healthy I circled when the World Cup was going to be and I made sure that by that time I was getting close to my best form. I put a lot of work in, and luckily it worked out.”

Arriola doesn’t take the opportunity to play in a second youth World Cup for granted.

“I know it’s unique, and I know I’m very blessed to be able to do this again,” he said. “Obviously when I started the cycle, this was my goal – to have us qualify for the World Cup and to make the team. But you never know what can happen, so I’m thankful to be here and looking to do whatever I can to help us win.”

Zack Steffen is the other player on this roster to have been on a World Cup team. The Freiburg goalkeeper, along with Acosta, returns from the 2013 U-20 World Cup team, although neither played in the tournament.

It’s obviously not easy making it to a World Cup, and it’s with that in mind that this group relishes the experience in New Zealand.

“We’ve had a very sour taste in our mouth,” Moore said. “We’ve just wanted to work hard and give ourselves another shot. We wanted to get rid of that taste and we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re excited to be here now, but we also want to make the most of this opportunity.”

Russell Canouse Pulls Out of U-20 MNT World Cup Squad with Injury; Replaced by Conor Donovan

CHICAGO (May 25, 2015) – U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos has replaced midfielder Russell Canouse, who was injured in training earlier in the week, on the USA’s FIFA U-20 World Cup roster by Conor Donovan. Canouse sustained a right ankle injury while the team was training in Australia and will require additional time to recover. Donovan was named as an alternate and has been with the team since the pre-World Cup camp began on May 11 in Carson, California.

“Today was a very tough decision to make,” said Ramos. “Obviously Russell led our team to qualification in the last four matches in Jamaica, so I think that we lose a player that’s very important on the field, but also off the field. So it’s a big loss for us.

“At the same time, we were prepared by having Conor be here the whole time. Conor has been working hard with us, he’s adapted and he has been with the team for a while. So we were ready with a replacement and we’re excited to have Conor on board, who also brings a lot on the field and off the field.”

Canouse, who plays at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Germany, captained the USA in the final four matches of the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championship in January in Jamaica, helping the team post four consecutive shutouts en route to earning a berth at the World Cup in New Zealand.

Donovan was also a member of the U-20 World Cup qualifying team in January, appearing in two matches, including a start in the team’s 8-0 victory over Aruba. The 19-year-old was selected by Orlando City SC with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft after one season at North Carolina State.

Donovan joined the U.S. Residency Program in 2011 and was a member of the U-17 team that participated at the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. He played in the Development Academy in 2013-14, competing for Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL’s U-18 squad. He previously played for North Carolina Alliance.

Since the U-20 Championship, Donovan has appeared in friendlies against England, Qatar and Croatia. He scored the tying goal against Qatar on April 21 in Salzburg, Austria.

The U.S. arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday and will make its way to Whangarei on Tuesday. The team opens Group A 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.

U-20 MNT React to Win vs. Australia

Head Coach Tab Ramos, and players Joel Soñora, Maki Tall, and Tommy Thompson react to the USA's 2-1 win over Australia.

U-20 MNT Defeats Australia in World Cup Tuneup

GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA (May 19, 2015) - The Under-20 Men’s National Team defeated Australia’s Under-20 team 2-1 Tuesday evening at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, Australia. After conceding a goal just 15 minutes into the match, the USA used second-half goals from Joel Soñora and Maki Tall to defeat the hosts in a pre-World Cup tuneup.

Australia took the lead when right-winger Awer Mabil played a ball into the area that midfielder Stefan Mauk was able to re-direct to the near post.

U.S. forward Tommy Thompson came the closest to leveling, only to have two attempts hit woodwork, once in the first half when a 20-yard shot hit the left post, and then early in the second half when his header off a Shaq Moore cross hit the right post.

The USA’s tying goal came minutes after both teams subbed in a combined five players at the hour mark. Thompson set up Joel Soñora who looked up from 25 yards and curled a shot to the far right post for his first goal with this age group.

The tie lasted all of 45 seconds as U.S. forward Maki Tall picked a ball off an Australian defender and put it away to give the USA the 2-1 lead.

The U.S. will play Serbia next week in a closed door match that will serve as the final test before the start of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup 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.

-U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Australia U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: May 19, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, Australia
Kickoff: 6 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 600
Weather: 60 degrees, cloudy 

Scoring Summary:      1    2    F
USA                              0    2    2
AUS                              1    0    1 

AUS - Stefan Mauk (Awer Mabil)                     15th minute
USA – Joel Soñora (Tommy Thompson)           60
USA – Maki Tall (unassisted)                            61

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen, 2-Shaquell Moore (15-Kellyn Acosta, 59), 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga, 6-Desavio Payne (17-John Requejo, 74), 3-Marco Delgado, 7-Joel Soñora, 8-Emerson Hyndman (capt.), 11-Paul Arriola (18-Gedion Zelalem, 59), 9-Maki Tall, 10-Tommy Thompson,
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Jeff Caldwell, 22-Thomas Olsen
Head coach: Tab Ramos

AUS: 12-Jordan Holmes, 4-Scott Galloway (c) (3-Daniel Alessi, 83), 6-Liam Rose (9-George Blackwood, 73), 8-Liam Youlley (11-Alusine Fofanah, 59), 13-Brandon Borrello (17-Steve Kuzmanovski, 73), 14-Jaushua Sotirio (15-Adam Berry, 73), 16-Awer Mabil (7-Shannon Brady, 59), 19-Stefan Mauk, 20-Thomas Deng, 22-Riley Woodcock (21-Alex Gersbach, 59), 23-Jonathan Aspropotamitis
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Tom Glover, 2-Shayne D’Cunha, 12-Jordan Holmes, 18-Tom Heward-Belle,
Head coach: Paul Okon

Stats Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 13 / 7
Shots on Goal: 4 / 4
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher
Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal
Fourth Official: Trent Nash

U-20 MNT Readies for Pre-World Cup Test vs. Australia

The U.S. U-20 MNT take on Australia before heading to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

Ramos Names Emerson Hyndman U-20 World Cup Captain

Tab Ramos on why he chose Emerson Hyndman to captain the U.S. U-20 side for the World Cup.

Emerson Hyndman Named U-20 MNT Captain for World Cup

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos on Saturday evening announced to the team midfielder Emerson Hyndman will serve as captain at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

“We’ve been discussing with the staff trying to figure out who was going to be a good leader for us on the field and off the field,” Ramos said. “We’re very fortunate with this group that we definitely have three or four guys who could have taken that role, but we felt that Emerson was the right person to lead the way for the group. Obviously he’s a good player, and at the same time I think he’s very professional on the field and off the field and I think the type of person at U.S. Soccer we’d like to have as a leader.”

Hyndman is one of six players who appeared in all six matches for the U-20 MNT at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica in January, where he scored once and led the team with three assists.

“It’s obviously an honor to be captain of a World Cup team,” Hyndman said. “I’m looking to bring all the same qualities from qualifying and really just help everyone on the team.”

The 19-year-old has also earned a cap with the senior U.S. Men’s National Team, debuting on September 3, 2014 as a second-half sub in the USA’s 1-0 win against the Czech Republic. He also played a friendly with the U.S. U-23 MNT on October 14, 2014 when he started against Brazil in Brasilia.

“(Ramos) just told me that he doesn’t want to put too much pressure on me, and he wanted me to be more of a leader,” Hyndman said. “I feel like I can do that, so I’m up to the task.”

A former Development Academy player with the Dallas Texans and the FC Dallas Academy, Hyndman signed a professional contract with Fulham in April 2013. He made his professional debut for the Cottagers on Aug. 9, 2014, going the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Ipswich Town in Championship play and made 11 first-team appearances for Fulham during the 2014-2015 season.

U-20 MNT Continues World Cup Prep in Sydney

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team capped the California portion of their three-leg pre-World Cup camp on Thursday with a light regeneration session at StubHub Center in Carson. A few hours later, the group embarked on a 15-hour flight to Sydney, Australia, where it will train for six days before heading to New Zealand for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

“I think the guys have shown their excitement for what’s to come in New Zealand,” said forward Tommy Thompson of the camp. “Everyone’s been sharp, and everyone appears ready. Now we’re looking forward to our scrimmage against Australia and to continue to build on what we started in LA.”

Fifteen players participated in the first leg in Carson, including Cameron Carter-Vickers, who arrived from England in time for Thursday’s training. Kellyn Acosta, Eric Palmer-Brown, Rubio Rubin, Jordan Allen, Bradford Jamieson and Gedion Zelalem will join the group over the next few days in Australia.

“Although we don’t have those players, I think it’s for a good reason - it’s because they’re all playing, and they’re playing important roles within their clubs,” said U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos. “That’s a good thing. It’s a sign of our players getting better and our pool of players being more and more competitive.”

The team conducted five sessions in Los Angeles, including a scrimmage against a local club in which they didn’t keep score. As important as the trainings were, Ramos said the time also served another purpose.

“Team-building happens not just on the field and not just with tactics,” Ramos said. “Team-building is everything else that happens outside the field, too. Although we don’t have a full roster yet, I think what we did in the three days in LA has been very important for our team because we’re starting to build a camaraderie amongst the players which I think is going to be very important leading into the tough part of the competition.”

The team arrived in Sydney early Saturday morning, skipping over Friday with the 17-hour time change and had a light session in the afternoon to try to quickly acclimate. On Tuesday the U.S. plays a friendly against Australia at Central Coast Stadium, however the focus remains the World Cup opener on May 30.

“Right now although we’re going to play Australia and then follow that up with a game against Serbia in New Zealand. But our main focus continues to be Myanmar,” Ramos said. “That’s all we think about, that’s what the players will be watching over the next couple days.” 

It didn’t take long for the message to be accepted by the team. 

“It’s a World Cup, and we know we can’t take any game lightly,” said midfielder Emerson Hyndman. “But right now we’re only looking at the first game against Myanmar and we’re not looking past it.”

The team was given video of Myanmar matches to watch on the flight to Australia. 

“We’re putting more resources and time into Myanmar and learning about Myanmar than we did for playing Spain in the last World Cup,” Ramos said, who also coached the U-20 MNT at the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey. “Only because when you play a team like Spain or France or even Ghana, they play a style you’re somewhat familiar with, so you know their soccer culture, you know a lot more about them to begin with. In this case, we really had to learn from scratch. I think we’re putting a lot of time into that, and we feel comfortable that we’re moving in a good direction to be prepared for that game.” 

The preparation will continue picking up steam as the final six players join the squad, which Ramos says everyone is looking forward to.

“I think we’ve selected an excellent group of players but also an excellent group of people,” Ramos said. “They are all ready to go. They are all waiting for their teammates to come. And the guys who are not here can’t wait to get here. I think all around we have a good group of people and sometimes for a team that’s more important than anything else.”

 

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.

Tab Ramos Elaborates on U-20 MNT World Cup Roster Selection

Opening Remarks:
“So first of all, welcome to everyone on the call. Thank you for being on. Obviously this is a culmination of a very strong year-and-a-half cycle in which we were able to see many talented players. I believe this is a good age group. Obviously we’re right at the end of it here and it’s been very difficult to make the final selections. When you go into making the final selections you want to start with selecting the very best players you have and then end the selection process with players that fit in a number of different ways, not only by coming in in different positions but also by helping the team in every other way. I’m very happy with the selections that we’ve made. I think this is a strong group and a group in which more than ever before we have players who are playing first-division and are getting a lot of minutes and I think from a physical standpoint this is probably a group that will be able to handle this better than groups we have in the past. I’m very excited about this group and looking forward to the challenges that we have ahead of us, which will be difficult.”

On whether he thinks Gedion Zelalem will be cleared in time for the tournament and if not who he will use in the last spot:
“The answer to that is that we’re leaving a little window here over the next few days in case something can be worked out. I don’t know the specifics of the paperwork obviously. We’ve seen Gedion play a little bit and we believe that he can help the team, so if we have a few more days available I think we might as well leave that window open in case that happens. If it doesn’t happen, we have Zach Pfeffer ready to go. I’ve already spoken to him and told him the situation and this is kind of where we are, so we are prepared to make that call as well.”

On if he sees this roster as being inexperienced defensively:
“I really don’t actually. I think defensively we have a number of different combinations that we can use. Matt Miazga is playing 90 minutes every week for New York Red Bulls. Desevio Payne has already debuted in the first division with FC Gronigen. You have the option of John Requejo who’s playing every week, although he’s playing with the U-20s in Tijuana he has also played in the cup with Tijuana’s first team. Shaq Moore is unattached right now but he has been training in Spain and playing games in Spain, so I feel comfortable about that. There’s also the ability of using Kellyn Acosta as an outside back, who has been playing and starting for FC Dallas the last few games. Cameron Carter-Vickers is our youngest player and yet he plays like a veteran, so I have no concerns there at all. I think we’re in good shape. I don’t think we’re an inexperienced defense by any means.”

On the process of players going from the U-20s to the U-23s to the senior team and how that path of progression is beneficial to players:
“One of the things we’ve been talking about over these last few years since Jurgen Klinsmann has taken over our program is the fact that we know that the integration of our National Teams is very important to us. So I think that the participation of a player with the U-20s and at the U-20 World Cup and being in U-20 camps prepares them to go to the first team a little bit better, not just because of the international experience and the international games and being able to play against players all over the world, but I think that the way we train, the way we prepare teams, the way we scout, those are all things that are very similar to what our first team does. So I feel that when a player leaves our U-20s and steps into the first team that they’re pretty well prepared for what they’re going to find. I think that’s a big help for us.”

On how Marco Delgado worked his way into the group after missing the qualifying games:
“Well Marky got hurt right before the qualifiers. We’ve always considered him a very good player and one who can help us a lot. He has been in good form as of late. He played 90 minutes last night in a Canadian Cup game. He played 90 minutes in both games for us in our camp in Europe a few weeks back. He’s in good form right now and it’s a good moment for him.”

On what areas he is focusing on improving following the qualifying games and on how the selection of new players will fit into that:
“Yeah it’s a good question because in qualifying I have to say that I was very happy with the way that we played defensively. The team did very well in terms of limiting the opportunities of other teams. We were solid at the end of the tournament and I felt that we were probably the best team there. Defensively we didn’t give up much at all and we ended up with four shutouts in a row. I’m pretty confident that on that side of the field we’re going to do well. Where the changes have come that you see is going forward. Obviously we didn’t have Rubio Rubin there. We didn’t have the option to have Maki Tall there. Jordan Allen was injured and now he’s in great form. Bradford Jameison IV is in much better form now. He plays and starts for the LA Galaxy every game. There are a lot more options now and I feel confident in this team with what we can do on the other side of the ball because although at qualifiers we created chances and we had more shots that any team in qualifying we didn’t convert, and I think we need to be a lot more clinical and be able to put our chances away in the World Cup because certainly there’s not going to be as many chances as there were in qualifying.”

On if he has named a captain, and on Reading FC not releasing Andrija Novakovich:
“I have not named a captain yet. I’m going to do that with the team next week, so I’ll have to keep that to myself at this point until the team knows next week. As far as the release, I can tell you that Reading has done a great job with us over the years and in working with national teams and they’re very supportive of U.S. Soccer and our players coming up. An example is with Bobby Convey and the past and Danny Williams recently, so they do release their players. They just strongly felt that with Andrija this has been a very difficult year for him with the physicality of the Championship and being on their team. They consider him a very important part of next year’s group and their preseason which starts in June, and they felt like at this point he’s going to need the rest. I can’t argue with that. As the U-20 MNT head coach above and beyond anything else obviously results are very important - but also what’s important is that we advance players to our first team. So if that’s what’s best for Andrija at this point and that’s what everybody feels is best for him then I support that as well and hopefully we have Andrija ready, whether it’s for the Olympics or the senior team, down the road.”

On the strengths and weaknesses of Shaq Moore, where he’s been training, and what he’ll bring to the team:
“Shaq Moore is training with team Huracán, which is in the third division in Spain. I’ve spoken with their club director quite a few times because I wanted to make sure he was getting playing time. When Shaq comes with us he’s always physically in great shape. He brings a lot to the table for us in terms of covering space and getting up and down the line and making plays. He’s one that fits into the team really well. As far as strengths and weaknesses I can say he’s a player that’s very tactically knowledgeable, like I said he gets up and down the line well. I think in terms of weaknesses, he can obviously improve with the ball on his feet. He’s a young player and he has time for that. I’ve been a fan of Shaq. As you know he’s played most of our games, and I think he’ll bring a lot to the table here as well.”

On what formation he expects the team will bring to New Zealand and on whether an addition of Gedion Zelalem would change the game plan:
“The thought right now is to be playing in a 4-4-2, so whether that becomes a 4-4-2 in a diamond or it becomes two with two more advanced or if that becomes more of a 4-4-1-1 I think we’ll see over the next week and a half. I think the important part at this point is that we have our best guys on the field. I think we have a pretty well compensated roster with players that can make a difference from all kinds of positions, so that will be it. I think Gedion would certainly add to the group, but it won’t necessarily change the way we play. I think that he will fit right in with what we do if he is the player who comes, and if he’s not the player who comes we know that Zach Pfeffer can do that as well.”

On Matt Miazga:
“Matt has advanced and done really well. I was discussing before in a previous interview that in September and October of last year we started to have doubts about his play, and in December we brought him in. He had not been playing last year. Last year he wasn’t getting a lot of minutes with the Red Bulls. In December, we put him through a fitness camp with us in Florida for all the MLS players that were not playing and then we took him to Honduras to play two games, in which he did well. Then we took him to qualifying where as a starter he did well throughout. I thought as the tournament went on he got better and better, and I think that benefitted Matt going into the Red Bulls preseason. He had already played eight 90-minute games when he went into the preseason and I think that helped him a lot and it showed early in the preseason. Not to take anything away from Jesse and everything they do with the Red Bulls, they’re doing a great job, but I think Matt had a great base to start and I think now that he’s playing 90 minutes with the Red Bulls it shows how much improvement he’s making. As far as his confidence in play, it’s like any player: the more confidence the coach has in you, the more confidence you have in yourself, and I think Matt is reflecting that on the field now and continuing to get better and better. I’m very excited where Matt is right now, but more excited for down the road for our program.”

On if he’s confident that he’ll be able to retain the players that have been released, or if teams might change their minds:
“For the most part that never happens. When a team releases a player they rarely change their mind.The ones who could potentially change their minds at this point are MLS clubs, and MLS clubs are very supportive of what we do in our program so that’s not going to happen.

On how much Romain Gall’s knee injury factored into him being left off the roster:
“A lot actually, because we’ve been fortunate enough with the National Team now that as far as our attacking options we can select whatever players are in best form in that particular moment.  This is a message that we’ve given our youth players all along. Fortunately for us we’ve got a lot of players that are getting a lot of minutes and players who are doing well. Unfortunately Romain was out for a while and ame into our last camp and he’s not in great form. Although he scored a goal and we were happy with what we saw, it was just a matter of selecting one player or another and I think when we looked at our roster and what we needed with what we had, we had to go in another direction. This is not to say that Romain is not going to be in great form in another month or month in a half, and will hopefully break into the Crew’s first team and be great and make our Olympic team down the road. Hopefully that’s the case.  At the moment he was not in his best form and we had to make another selection.”

On Desevio Payne:
“So earlier when we were discussing all of the different ways we pick our teams and follow our players because it’s very difficult since we have players all over the world, our process begins with a depth chart that comes from the U-18 National Team of 60 to 70 players and that includes the best players in every position. We follow those. At the same time we follow players that are constantly moving to Europe and start to play, and then we follow some tips and leadsabout American players that are playing oversees and we track them as well. Desevio was one of those that just popped up a couple of months ago as someone that had broken into the lineup of a first team. I called him  to see what his interest would be in playing for the National Team and he was really excited about it, and that let us know that it would definitely be a player that we would follow through with. He came into the camp very excited to show what he could do, did very well to be honest, and I think he’s someone that we just happened to find at the end who’s doing very well and a good player who’s going to make our team better.”

On if this is the deepest team that there’s ever been for the U.S. U-20 level and on what the expectations should be going forward:
“The answer to your first question is I’m not sure because I don’t have all of the stats in front of me, but it’s probably the most professional team in the last two or three cycles. As far as the expectations, were always hoping that were getting better so we expect that. Our expectations for ourselves are always higher and higher so it’s normal that others people’s expectations are higher as well. In the end, you always depend on results,and sometimes results come your way and sometime they don’t. But I think there’s no reason not to have higher expectations higher that we’ve had in the past. We welcome that. Just like we welcomed going to qualifying, where I mentioned to the team we were going to the CONCACAF Tournament and our main goal is not to qualify for the World Cup but to be CONCACAF Champions because no other U-20 team had done that before. Unfortunately we didn’t accomplish our goal. In this case obviously we’re going to the World Cup and we hope to win every game, but in order to do that we have to win the first game and that’s a difficult challenge but we’ll get through it one at a time.”

On how Tommy Thompson fits in the 4-4-2 formation:
“Tommy Thompson can fit into a number of different positions. If you’ve seen him play in the midfield he finds space all over the field, so he can play wide on either side of a 4-4-2 and he could also play in front in either of the two forward positions as a more advanced or as a secondary forward.”

On if he sees Tommy Thompson coming on in the starting XI or off the bench?
“Over the next few weeks I think that will sort itself out. I’m hoping that every player that is coming in is thinking that they’re going to be in the starting XI and we want to keep it like that. We want to keep it competitive and keep the team as competitive as possible until then. Every player I’ve selected I’m hoping tcan compete for a spot at this point.”

On tactical formations:
“A 4-3-3 is a great system. If I had to select that would probably be my favorite one. But the system always depends on the players that you have. You need to have two very good wingers who are good one-on-one wide to be able to play a 4-3-3 system, and at the same time you need to have a No.  6 who can cover a lot of ground by himself in the middle of the field. It’s not an easy system to play; it depends on the players sometimes. By no means am I scratching that as something that we won’t do in this World Cup based on our opponents. There will be situations in which we will go into a 4-3-3 because that we will be better for us. In terms of development, I like to see the younger teams play in a 4-3-3 because it’s very position specific and it’s very easy to describe a position to a player and it’s very easy for a player to advance and get better in any one particular position. I like it. The 4-3-3 is a great system to play.”

On the reasons why Cristian Roldan did not make the squad:
“I think he was in a very competitive group of players that I had to select from. Roldan came into a group of Emerson Hyndman, Joel Sonora, Junior Flores, Zach Pfeffer and those types of guys who are a little bit more creative in the midfield and can hold possession.  I had a very tough choice. I think the selection process was very difficult in that particular position because we had a lot of options. Could Roldan potentially do the job for us in the World Cup? Absolutely yes. He’s a good player. So is Junior Flores. These are all good players, but in the end I couldn’t select too many players that play the same position. Those guys were left on the outside looking in, but it’s by a very small margin. These are all very good players we’re talking about.”

On Erik Palmer-Brown being one of the younger players on the team and what he did to earn his spot on the roster:
“He played really well in the last game we had against Croatia. We gave him the 90 minutes and he came in and really showed that defensively he can lock things up. I don’t want to take too much just from friendlies leading up, but I don’t think we gave a shot on goal to Croatia the whole game. That’s very positive, and that was Carter-Vickers and Palmer Brown playing central defense. They’re both 97-born players so they’re both next-cycle eligible. They did a pretty good job together. I liked what I saw. At this point that’s all I needed to see because I know the type of player that he is. I think at the same time this tournament will be a great experience for him leading into the next U-20 cycle.”

FIFA U-20 World Cup a Chance for Redemption

For several members of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup represents another chance. Many have been part of the U.S. Soccer national team programs for various cycles, but only three have ever been part of a youth World Cup, and only two have played in one. Nine others came close and are now getting their opportunity on the world stage.

Jeff Caldwell, Joel Sonora, Conor Donovan, Rubio Rubin, John Requejo and Shaq Moore were all on the 2013 team that was upset by Honduras at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and missed out of that U-17 World Cup. Bradford Jamieson IV was left off that roster altogether after spending four semesters in Residency.

“Obviously that was a tough moment, not only for me but the rest of the team who experienced that,” said Moore, who was captain of the 2013 U-17 World Cup qualifying team. “I think having another chance – not even here at the World Cup, but at Qualifying in January with this group - was a big hurdle that I crossed to finally qualify for a World Cup.”

It wasn’t easy qualifying this time around, either. After tying the first and losing the second match, the U-20s won the final four matches in Jamaica – all by shutout – in order to qualify for New Zealand. One player who had to sit out was Sonora, who was injured weeks before. Thankful that the group qualified, he’s now looking forward for his chance at redemption.

“It was a big disappointment at the time because we were all expecting to qualify,” said Sonora of the 2013 team. “We didn’t see it as too difficult, and maybe we let our guard down. It was a very hard hit to take because it was the first time a U-17 team didn’t qualify for a World Cup. We were crushed. So we’re excited that we’ve now given ourselves another chance to show what we can do and what this group of players and this team is about in New Zealand.”

Two years earlier, Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola were the youngest members of the 2011 U-17 FIFA World Cup team in Mexico that bowed out in the Round of 16 with a loss to Germany. Acosta played in all four matches and Arriola in three. During that cycle, Marky Delgado did not make the qualifying roster, and while Jordan Allen was on the team that qualified, he was left off the final World Cup squad.

“There was disappointment, but at the time I hadn’t been playing well, so it was kind of expected,” Allen said. “I made sure once that happened, that the next time I had a chance to make a World Cup team I would have been doing everything I could to be in good form and put myself in the right position. So I’m happy that I’ve been able to do that this time.”

Allen and Delgado were also returning from injuries in January and not fit to go to Jamaica. But Allen seemed to be a longer shot. He suffered a knee injury last year that kept him out the picture for months. The Real Salt Lake forward made his first appearance with the U-20s in a camp in Austria in April, and got the call that he made the World Cup team a few weeks later.

“This means a lot,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of work in - being out of close to 10 months with my knee injury. As soon as I got healthy I circled when the World Cup was going to be and I made sure that by that time I was getting close to my best form. I put a lot of work in, and luckily it worked out.”

Arriola doesn’t take the opportunity to play in a second youth World Cup for granted.

“I know it’s unique, and I know I’m very blessed to be able to do this again,” he said. “Obviously when I started the cycle, this was my goal – to have us qualify for the World Cup and to make the team. But you never know what can happen, so I’m thankful to be here and looking to do whatever I can to help us win.”

Zack Steffen is the other player on this roster to have been on a World Cup team. The Freiburg goalkeeper, along with Acosta, returns from the 2013 U-20 World Cup team, although neither played in the tournament.

It’s obviously not easy making it to a World Cup, and it’s with that in mind that this group relishes the experience in New Zealand.

“We’ve had a very sour taste in our mouth,” Moore said. “We’ve just wanted to work hard and give ourselves another shot. We wanted to get rid of that taste and we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re excited to be here now, but we also want to make the most of this opportunity.”

Tab Ramos: “Para Nosotros, la Meta en este Momento es Ganar el Primer Partido”

ussoccer.com: Comentarios generales acerca de la nómina elegida: 
Tab Ramos: "Bueno, creo que es un grupo bastante fuerte que creo tiene buenas posibilidades de hacer un buen papel, y una nómina que al final fue muy, muy difícil de elegir.”

ussoccer.com: ¿Cuáles fueron las dificultades de elegir a este grupo?:
TB: “Hay algunas posiciones en las cuales teníamos unos cuantos jugadores por las cuales podían competir. Eso me hizo las cosas muy difíciles. Creo que en particular, elegir los últimos cuatro a cinco jugadores fue muy difícil porque en realidad había seguramente 10 a 15 jugadores que estaban peleando por esas últimos lugares.”

ussoccer.com: ¿Cuáles fueron las diferencias en seleccionar ésta nómina comparada a la del 2013 (primer Mundial como DT):
TB: “Sí, la diferencia fue bastante grande. En el grupo del 2013 no había tantas opciones. Este es un grupo con bastantes opciones de elegir diferente tipos de jugadores; más competitivo y en el cual hay muchos más jugadores que están jugando en primera división.”

ussoccer.com: La meta de las próximas semanas en prepararse para el arranque del Mundial:
TB: “Para nosotros, la meta en este momento es ganar el primer partido. Tenemos a Myanmar, que en el mundo de fútbol es un país desconocido, pero sabemos que nos va poner las cosas muy difíciles. Entonces en este momento, la única meta es ganar el primer partido, agarrar los tres puntos y prepararnos para el segundo después.

ussoccer.com: ¿Crees que hay mas presión en este equipo masculino compitiendo en un escenario mundial, después del éxito de equipo mayor en Mundial de Brasil 2014?:
TB: “No creo que en particular tengamos mas presión. Creo que la presión es la que nos ponemos nosotros mismos. Nosotros queremos que nuestras selecciones cada vez tengan mejores resultados que la selección previa. Entonces a medida que vamos subiendo nuestras propias metas, creo que la presión viene internamente. Para mí no viene del exterior.”

ussoccer.com: ¿Qué es lo que quieres que los jugadores ganen ó aprendan con la experiencia de esta Copa Mundial Sub-20 de la FIFA?:
TB: “Para mí no cabe duda que lo más importante es la experiencia que los jugadores van a adquirir compitiendo contra equipos de alrededor del mundo. Esa es la experiencia que queremos que tengan para poder llegar al primer equipo.”

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.”

Quote Sheet: Tab Ramos, 'The Goal at this Point is to Win Our First Game'

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos spoke with ussoccer.com to discuss his thought process for selecting the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup Roster and what the team’s next steps are as it makes its way to New Zealand. 

Initial comments on the roster:
Tab Ramos: "I’m very excited about this particular group. 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.” 

On the challenges in determining the final roster:
TB: "I think the challenge was how many players we had to consider per position because the positions were very competitive. And although there are certainly standouts in positions, when it comes to rounding out the roster, it’s very difficult selecting the last four to five players because there’s literally probably 10-12 players considered for those final spots.” 

On the differences in selecting this roster compared to his first U-20 World Cup in 2013:
TB: “The difference was fairly big. 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 more players who are playing in the first division.” 

On the goal of the next two weeks in preparation for the start of the World Cup:
TB: “The goal at this point is to win our first game. We are completely committed to seeing what Myanmar is about and being completely prepared to win that game. We’ll prepare for the next one after.” 

On if this team has added pressure competing on the world stage (following the 2014 World Cup team):
TB: “I think the only pressure we have is the pressure we put on ourselves because we’re trying to improve the program.  When you’re trying to improve a program, things are not easy. Obviously, the expectations we put on ourselves become higher and higher. So yes, there’s probably a little bit more pressure but hopefully we can have a little bit more pressure with each World Cup that comes along for every age group.” 

On what he wants the players to gain or learn from participating in the U-20 World Cup:
TB: “I think it’s a great experience for them to compete against the best nations from around the world. It gives them great preparation for the future so that they will hopefully have it on the senior National Team.”

Gallery: U-20 MNT Final Training Camp before World Cup

Photos from the first two days of training for the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team in Linz, Austria, where the squad will play a pair of friendly matches against Qatar and Croatia during its final training camp ahead of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, which kicks of on May 30. The USA faces Myanmar (May 30), New Zealnd (June 2) and Ukraine (June 5) in Group A play at this summer's tournament. All three group matches will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and NBC Universo. 

U-20 MNT World Cup Journey Picking Up Speed as First Training Camp Concludes

The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team ended its weeklong camp in England on Monday, March 30, as players returned to their clubs in nine different countries. For U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos, the first training camp since qualifying for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in January had a number of benefits.

"I think it was a very positive camp for us," Ramos said. "We had an opportunity to train at great facilities at Tottenham, and for me, it was an opportunity to see some new players that I hadn't seen before. I thought what I saw was very positive."

The group trained at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur’s renowned facility for five days before playing England's U-21 MNT on March 29 in Plymouth.

Among the 20 players that made up the training camp, 10 were part of the group that participated in January's 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, while four others were part of their first camp with a U.S. team, including Desevio Payne, Maki Tall, Ethan Solis and Thomas Olsen. Payne and Tall started in the 2-1 loss to England, while Sonis entered in the second half.

"I think it's very important to always to bring in new players in the national team environment,” Ramos said. “Not only for those players but also for the players who are already on the team because they realize how competitive it is. Now going into the World Cup, it's a brand new stage and a team that everybody has to fight for."

Payne, who was born in Greenwood, South Carolina, but was raised in Amsterdam, started at center back alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers.

"It was unbelievable to stand there wearing a USA shirt," Payne said of his debut. " When I put it on, I thought about my career and why I came here. It's an honor to play in this shirt so I'm very happy."

Maki Tall had a similar experience. Tall was born in Washington D.C. but moved with his family to Senegal when he was seven years old, and then to his parents’ native Ivory Coast when he was 11. He went on to play in France, signed professionally, and even made nine appearances with France’s U-18 and U-19 teams combined.

"Hearing the (USA) national anthem, I don't even know how to say it,” Tall said. “It was unbelievable. I've watched (MNT) games before on TV, so to hear it for the first time, it was crazy.”

For Carter-Vickers, another dual-citizen, the match against England was the first time he lined up against the country where he was born and raised. Carter-Vickers’ father, Howard Carter, is American and still lives in Louisiana.

"A little bit when you hear the national anthem, a little bit,” Carter-Vickers admitted to the odd notion of going up against England. “But it's also just another game, and you just have to get on with it. You stay professional and play."

The loss to England was the lone negative from the trip.

"In general, I thought the first half was very disappointing for us in terms of our effort and what we brought to the game,” Ramos said. “I thought it took us a good 20-25 minutes to get into the game and definitely in international games you can't afford to do that.”

Forward Lynden Gooch shared similar thoughts.

"It was a tough game,” said the Sunderland forward. “We're all trying to get familiar still; there are new players, and we have to make sure we're right for the World Cup. Aside from that, everything else from the week was 100 percent."

For Ramos, the camp was the first of two this year before he decides on the 21-man roster that will represent the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer. The team will return to Europe from April 18-26 for its second training camp in Austria, with matches scheduled against Qatar and Croatia.

"Between this camp and the camp that we have in Austria, I think it's the last opportunity for us to make final conclusions on players," Ramos said. "I'm trying to see them in different positions and see how certain players may be able to help us. And then after that, we'll focus on trying to get the best group together. We don't have a lot of time for the World Cup but that's normally how this works."

Tall understands the process, and knows that despite scoring the USA’s lone goal against England, he needs to keep his form up.

"You always have to prove yourself,” Tall said. “Moving forward, we all want to play in a World Cup and we're all fighting for positions, like coach said. Everybody needs to impress him and work hard every day. If you're not doing well, you still need to work hard, and that's what's important on the team."

The message is also clear to Payne.

"Of course I'm happy and I'm thinking about the World Cup,” Payne added. “So it would be nice if I get the call to go, but I just need to do my best at my club and then we'll see."

Q&A: Tab Ramos Outlines Road to 2015 U-20 World Cup

ussoccer.com sat down with U.S. Under-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos to discuss the upcoming trip to England and the team’s overall preparation for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer.

On the team’s preparation and schedule leading into the U-20 World Cup:
"Right now we have our entire plan set leading up to the World Cup. 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.

"From there we are going to Austria from April 18-26, which will include a couple games against Qatar and another against Croatia. Those are two different types of teams, but I think are teams that will prepare us well for the World Cup. They are both high caliber teams, and I think they’re both gearing up as well.

"And then after that we head out to Australia in the middle of May for training in advance of going to New Zealand. So we have a pretty busy schedule.”

On his goals for the camps in England and Austria:
“Now that we’ve qualified to the World Cup, I obviously have a good gauge in terms of where our players are, and how most players respond because we had them in a very tough competition, in difficult fields, in must-win games. But also, it’s an opportunity to bring in one or two new players over the next couple months and see who’s doing well in their league.

"Desevio Payne has been doing well in Holland. He’s a player we’ve never seen before. He’s a starter now for Groningen in the first division. He’s going to be a new player on this roster. So as players pop up over the next couple months, we have to take a look because who is in good form is going to be really important for us.”

On if other new players apart from Desevio Payne may be brought in to the upcoming camps:
“There are some potential names that I’ve been following, but I would rather not give names because at this point they’re just prospects. I like following new guys because it keeps the group fresh and it keeps everybody on their toes. I’m excited about bringing Desevio along and seeing how he can do. I know he’s excited to come.”

On the status of midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Emerson Hyndman who were injured in Jamaica:
“Kellyn is not ready to come with us yet. He’s been running and starting to practice, but he’s not ready for us yet. Emerson is ready to come which is great, especially since he’s in England.”

On keeping track of everyone in the player pool:
“There are always challenges for us at the U-20 level in terms of keeping up with players because not all of them play on a consistent basis. It’s easy sometimes when all players are playing in a first division and you can track them on weekends and see how many minutes they played and see their highlights. When you have our players, and most of them do not play on their club's first team, you have to find them playing on second teams, reserve teams or under-20 teams, so it’s a little bit more difficult. But, I've been doing this now for quite a few years so I've figured out a way to keep track of the guys.”

On if there are differences in selecting a roster for the CONCACAF Championships compared to the FIFA U-20 World Cup:
“There are some differences in terms of picking the team, because for the World Cup you know that all of the players will be available. For qualifying, you have to build a team that you know 100 percent is going to be available because you can’t take a chance on preparing a team for months and then not being able to count on a player at the last minute. I thought as a staff we did a good job with that. It was a nice surprise for us to get Emerson Hyndman to come with us, which we didn’t expect. So if you get a surprise like that, that’s a good thing. You want to be surprised in a good way and not a bad way. So if anything, we went with a player that made a big difference for us that we didn’t expect; that made us even better. Going into the World Cup we expect everyone to be there, and so our preparation will gear towards that.”

On getting the players early in advance of the World Cup:
“With player releases, it depends on how much the club can allow their player to come on board with us for some of the preparation. As we know, we never have them for too long, so basically we’ll be going to the World Cup maybe with seven to ten days of having a full team together, which will be difficult. But overall we have a good relationship with the clubs and work with them to figure out the best situation.”

On his conversations with U.S. Soccer Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann about what players will be available for the U-20 World Cup:
“The plan is to mix and match players for the upcoming camps, but we do know that going into the summer, the U-20 World Cup becomes a priority. So going into June, the U-20 eligible players – even if they were to be called to the senior team – Jurgen has assured me that the U-20 World Cup is a priority until that’s over. From then on we’ll be moving players to the 23s and to the senior team.”

THREE'S CAMPANY

March 2015 is the curtain raiser on a busy cycle for the men’s side of the U.S. National Team program.

And USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will use the March friendlies at Denmark and Switzerland as prep for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, while also wearing his other hat as Technical Director as he helps oversee a busy time for the U.S. U-20 and U-23 MNT sides that will hold simultaneous European camps at the end of the month.

Beginning preparations for CONCACAF Olympic qualification in October, USMNT assistant coach Andi Herzog convenes his first camp in charge of the U-23 side ahead of games at Bosnia-Herzegovina (March 27) and Denmark (March 31). Meanwhile, having recently qualified for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, U-20 head coach Tab Ramos will bring his team to England for a pair of matches against the England U-21s and Tottenham Hotspur U-21s.

“For the youngsters to look towards the U-20 World Cup is huge,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “For the U-23s, we have to get them going in order to prepare for the qualifiers later this year towards the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Andi Herzog has his hands full with that group. For me and the Senior Team perspective, I’m looking at all these youngsters and thinking who can come through these periods and develop the fastest possible in order to make himself a strong competitor for the senior group. So this is a great time now, and we can’t wait to get these games going at the end of the month.”

BREAKING DOWN THE ROSTERS

 The balance has a telling diversity among the 62 players that have been summoned.

  • Twenty players representing 12 different MLS clubs have been called across the three rosters, while another 30 players from clubs in Germany (11), England (10) and Mexico (9) add to the bulk of the call-ups.
  • Nine of the 18 players called for U-23 camp were part of Tab Ramos’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup squad: Luis Gil, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Eric Miller, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Mario Rodriguez, Oscar Sorto, and Wil Trapp.
  • U-23 call-ups Luis Gil, Jordan Morris and Wil Trapp have also already played for the Senior National Team.
  • Five of the U-20 call-ups were part of the U.S. U-17 World Cup qualifying campaign in 2013: Jeff Caldwell, Conor Donovan, Junior Flores, Shaquell Moore and John Requejo.
 

With all three camps taking place at the same time, the understanding between the three coaches, all of whom worked together at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has been key as Klinsmann has continued to develop a structure that works not only for the senior team but helps develop players that will one day play for it.

“In terms of style of play, it’s the same approach that Jurgen has and what Tab Ramos has done with the U-20s,” Herzog said in regards to coaching the U-23s. “We all work together with the senior team. For this group, I want to have a team where there are a lot of variations. We want to be attack-minded, keep possession, and have the whole team proactively working to win the ball back as soon as possible.”

Though just beginning the U-23 cycle, with the previous team missing out on qualification for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Herzog said the task of getting the team to Rio next year begins with his new side understanding the playing philosophy being handed down this initial camp.

“It’s a big goal, and I think it will be really important to start from the first session to get the players into this philosophy.”

Beyond ensuring a similar playing style, the understanding has perhaps been most important when figuring out how to balance three different rosters with players that could go between two different teams.

 “It’s all very clear,” Ramos told ussoccer.com. “Jurgen and I have had a conversation to make sure that we put all things in the right places as we’re moving forward. Obviously having three National Teams go to camp at the same time is not easy.  We don’t all get the players we need at times, and it’s not easy on the clubs because MLS doesn’t stop for the FIFA dates and we’re at times asking for a bunch of players from the same team. We try not to deplete any one club at one time so the conversations between Jurgen, Andi and me as he passes down the information have to be very clear. We’ve done that, we’re all on the same page and I think it’s going to go smoothly.”

A past member of U.S. U-17 and U-20 World Championship squads as well as the 2008 Olympic team, U.S. senior international Jozy Altidore spoke to the value of these experiences for players who are beginning to develop international careers.

“It’s great to be involved at these levels because you get exposed to different types of teams,” said Altidore. “You see early how competitive it is, and how good the up and coming players are. Even getting used to things like travel is valuable. Dealing with all the elements of being an international player helps you get used to it and it becomes less of an issue as you progress, because it doesn’t get any easier. All these things prepare you for what’s to come.”

Altidore joins Beijing 2008 teammates Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco for USMNT camp this month, while another six of the senior players called in have represented the U.S. at various youth World Cups or in qualifying.

“These are important experiences,” continued Altidore. “A lot of the things you see at that level can prepare you for when you make the jump to the senior team, so these guys should take it seriously and get the most of out of it.”

England, Austria Trips Highlight U-20 MNT World Cup Preparation

With the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup Draw in the books, the entire focus of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is now on the preparation phase for the tournament.

The U-20 MNT reconvenes with a March 23-30 trip to London that will include matches against Tottenham’s U-21s and England’s U-20s. Following that camp, the U-20s travel to Austria for an April 18-26 session that will feature games against Qatar’s and Greece’s U-20 sides. Further game and roster details will be announced at later dates.

“Our preparation is going to be good,” U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos said. “It will be the right preparation for the teams we’re playing in the World Cup, so I’ve been very happy with our planning.”

Looking Ahead to U-20 World Cup Group Opponents:
On Tuesday, the USA was drawn into Group A against host New Zealand, Ukraine and first-time side Myanmar. The U.S. opens the tournament May 30 against Myanmar.

“I think the draw went very well, and it’s a draw where we can be successful if we play at the best level possible,” Ramos said. “These are teams who have eliminated other great teams to get here, and sometimes just reading the names doesn’t do fair justice.”

The June 2 game against host New Zealand certainly stands out as the All Whites look to make a strong run in front of their home base.

“New Zealand has been training together and should be very well prepared,” Ramos said. “They will want to do well at home since they will have the support of the home crowd. Soccer is an up-and-coming sport there, and they will have that weight on their shoulders to go along with the excitement of the tournament. All of that will make them a dangerous side.”

The USA caps off the group stage against Ukraine on June 5. Ukraine is the only side the USA has faced in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, tracing back to a 1-1 draw on June 23, 2001, on a goal by Bruce Arena’s son Kenny Arena in the first half.

“Ukraine consists of all professional players, and they’re similar to a Russia in terms of playing style,” Ramos said. “With the type of players they have, they are experienced in the world game in general.”

Myanmar is a different story as a virtual unknown at the moment but established its presence with a run to the semifinals of the 2014 Asian Football Confederation U-19 Championship to qualify for the World Cup. Myanmar clinched a spot with a 1-0 victory against United Arab Emirates on Oct. 17.

“I really don’t know much about Myanmar, and all you can really look at is the teams they have left behind,” Ramos said. “In the youth game, sometimes it only takes two or three really good players to make a difference in the team, which makes it different than senior teams. So we will focus and prepare for Myanmar in the same way we would prepare for a Germany.”

Reflecting on Qualifying Stage:
The USA is coming off a third-place performance at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. After a slow start with a draw against Guatemala and a 1-0 loss to Group A winner and fellow FIFA U-20 World Cup participant Panama, the U.S. mounted a strong run with four consecutive shutout victories, capped off by a 2-0 win against El Salvador to book a spot to New Zealand.

“I feel good about how we defend with this team,” Ramos said. “Our center backs were excellent, and I think we have good complementary players all over the field. I think that gives us some liberty to attack with a lot of players. We led the tournament in shots, so we feel secure in the back to be able to take more chances. I like taking chances, but we also have to improve on our finishing.”

That was Ramos’ main talking point following the tournament as the USA looks to have a balanced attack to coincide with the defensive play.

“I told them that it was important that we are good in front of the goal, because at the World Cup you won’t have as many chances as we did in qualifying,” Ramos said. “We have to get better, and I asked all of our players to go back to their clubs to focus on this. It’s important for their future.”

Touchline Tommy

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team forward Tommy Thompson has soccer in his DNA.

Along with their father, Gregg, who played for the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 1980s, brothers Tyler, Tanner and Tommy Thompson – all one year apart – could never get enough of the sport.

As youngsters, Dad didn’t just support the brothers from the sidelines – he was also on the field. The four would go early to practices and play 2-vs.-2 and then each of the boys would participate in the other team’s practices. Oftentimes, they’d train three times a day.

Now 19, Tommy is walking much the same path his father took some 30 years ago.

In 1982, Gregg co-captained Indiana University to its first NCAA title. He went on to have a seven-year professional career and also represent the United States at the 1984 Olympics and in a number of World Cup qualifiers.

Russell Canouse Pulls Out of U-20 MNT World Cup Squad with Injury; Replaced by Conor Donovan

CHICAGO (May 25, 2015) – U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos has replaced midfielder Russell Canouse, who was injured in training earlier in the week, on the USA’s FIFA U-20 World Cup roster by Conor Donovan. Canouse sustained a right ankle injury while the team was training in Australia and will require additional time to recover. Donovan was named as an alternate and has been with the team since the pre-World Cup camp began on May 11 in Carson, California.

“Today was a very tough decision to make,” said Ramos. “Obviously Russell led our team to qualification in the last four matches in Jamaica, so I think that we lose a player that’s very important on the field, but also off the field. So it’s a big loss for us.

“At the same time, we were prepared by having Conor be here the whole time. Conor has been working hard with us, he’s adapted and he has been with the team for a while. So we were ready with a replacement and we’re excited to have Conor on board, who also brings a lot on the field and off the field.”

Canouse, who plays at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Germany, captained the USA in the final four matches of the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championship in January in Jamaica, helping the team post four consecutive shutouts en route to earning a berth at the World Cup in New Zealand.

Donovan was also a member of the U-20 World Cup qualifying team in January, appearing in two matches, including a start in the team’s 8-0 victory over Aruba. The 19-year-old was selected by Orlando City SC with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft after one season at North Carolina State.

Donovan joined the U.S. Residency Program in 2011 and was a member of the U-17 team that participated at the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. He played in the Development Academy in 2013-14, competing for Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL’s U-18 squad. He previously played for North Carolina Alliance.

Since the U-20 Championship, Donovan has appeared in friendlies against England, Qatar and Croatia. He scored the tying goal against Qatar on April 21 in Salzburg, Austria.

The U.S. arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday and will make its way to Whangarei on Tuesday. The team opens Group A 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.

U-20 MNT Defeats Australia in World Cup Tuneup

GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA (May 19, 2015) - The Under-20 Men’s National Team defeated Australia’s Under-20 team 2-1 Tuesday evening at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, Australia. After conceding a goal just 15 minutes into the match, the USA used second-half goals from Joel Soñora and Maki Tall to defeat the hosts in a pre-World Cup tuneup.

Australia took the lead when right-winger Awer Mabil played a ball into the area that midfielder Stefan Mauk was able to re-direct to the near post.

U.S. forward Tommy Thompson came the closest to leveling, only to have two attempts hit woodwork, once in the first half when a 20-yard shot hit the left post, and then early in the second half when his header off a Shaq Moore cross hit the right post.

The USA’s tying goal came minutes after both teams subbed in a combined five players at the hour mark. Thompson set up Joel Soñora who looked up from 25 yards and curled a shot to the far right post for his first goal with this age group.

The tie lasted all of 45 seconds as U.S. forward Maki Tall picked a ball off an Australian defender and put it away to give the USA the 2-1 lead.

The U.S. will play Serbia next week in a closed door match that will serve as the final test before the start of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup 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.

-U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Australia U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: May 19, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, Australia
Kickoff: 6 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 600
Weather: 60 degrees, cloudy 

Scoring Summary:      1    2    F
USA                              0    2    2
AUS                              1    0    1 

AUS - Stefan Mauk (Awer Mabil)                     15th minute
USA – Joel Soñora (Tommy Thompson)           60
USA – Maki Tall (unassisted)                            61

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen, 2-Shaquell Moore (15-Kellyn Acosta, 59), 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga, 6-Desavio Payne (17-John Requejo, 74), 3-Marco Delgado, 7-Joel Soñora, 8-Emerson Hyndman (capt.), 11-Paul Arriola (18-Gedion Zelalem, 59), 9-Maki Tall, 10-Tommy Thompson,
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Jeff Caldwell, 22-Thomas Olsen
Head coach: Tab Ramos

AUS: 12-Jordan Holmes, 4-Scott Galloway (c) (3-Daniel Alessi, 83), 6-Liam Rose (9-George Blackwood, 73), 8-Liam Youlley (11-Alusine Fofanah, 59), 13-Brandon Borrello (17-Steve Kuzmanovski, 73), 14-Jaushua Sotirio (15-Adam Berry, 73), 16-Awer Mabil (7-Shannon Brady, 59), 19-Stefan Mauk, 20-Thomas Deng, 22-Riley Woodcock (21-Alex Gersbach, 59), 23-Jonathan Aspropotamitis
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Tom Glover, 2-Shayne D’Cunha, 12-Jordan Holmes, 18-Tom Heward-Belle,
Head coach: Paul Okon

Stats Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 13 / 7
Shots on Goal: 4 / 4
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Chris Young
Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher
Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal
Fourth Official: Trent Nash

Emerson Hyndman Named U-20 MNT Captain for World Cup

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos on Saturday evening announced to the team midfielder Emerson Hyndman will serve as captain at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

“We’ve been discussing with the staff trying to figure out who was going to be a good leader for us on the field and off the field,” Ramos said. “We’re very fortunate with this group that we definitely have three or four guys who could have taken that role, but we felt that Emerson was the right person to lead the way for the group. Obviously he’s a good player, and at the same time I think he’s very professional on the field and off the field and I think the type of person at U.S. Soccer we’d like to have as a leader.”

Hyndman is one of six players who appeared in all six matches for the U-20 MNT at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica in January, where he scored once and led the team with three assists.

“It’s obviously an honor to be captain of a World Cup team,” Hyndman said. “I’m looking to bring all the same qualities from qualifying and really just help everyone on the team.”

The 19-year-old has also earned a cap with the senior U.S. Men’s National Team, debuting on September 3, 2014 as a second-half sub in the USA’s 1-0 win against the Czech Republic. He also played a friendly with the U.S. U-23 MNT on October 14, 2014 when he started against Brazil in Brasilia.

“(Ramos) just told me that he doesn’t want to put too much pressure on me, and he wanted me to be more of a leader,” Hyndman said. “I feel like I can do that, so I’m up to the task.”

A former Development Academy player with the Dallas Texans and the FC Dallas Academy, Hyndman signed a professional contract with Fulham in April 2013. He made his professional debut for the Cottagers on Aug. 9, 2014, going the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Ipswich Town in Championship play and made 11 first-team appearances for Fulham during the 2014-2015 season.

U-20 MNT Continues World Cup Prep in Sydney

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team capped the California portion of their three-leg pre-World Cup camp on Thursday with a light regeneration session at StubHub Center in Carson. A few hours later, the group embarked on a 15-hour flight to Sydney, Australia, where it will train for six days before heading to New Zealand for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

“I think the guys have shown their excitement for what’s to come in New Zealand,” said forward Tommy Thompson of the camp. “Everyone’s been sharp, and everyone appears ready. Now we’re looking forward to our scrimmage against Australia and to continue to build on what we started in LA.”

Fifteen players participated in the first leg in Carson, including Cameron Carter-Vickers, who arrived from England in time for Thursday’s training. Kellyn Acosta, Eric Palmer-Brown, Rubio Rubin, Jordan Allen, Bradford Jamieson and Gedion Zelalem will join the group over the next few days in Australia.

“Although we don’t have those players, I think it’s for a good reason - it’s because they’re all playing, and they’re playing important roles within their clubs,” said U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos. “That’s a good thing. It’s a sign of our players getting better and our pool of players being more and more competitive.”

The team conducted five sessions in Los Angeles, including a scrimmage against a local club in which they didn’t keep score. As important as the trainings were, Ramos said the time also served another purpose.

“Team-building happens not just on the field and not just with tactics,” Ramos said. “Team-building is everything else that happens outside the field, too. Although we don’t have a full roster yet, I think what we did in the three days in LA has been very important for our team because we’re starting to build a camaraderie amongst the players which I think is going to be very important leading into the tough part of the competition.”

The team arrived in Sydney early Saturday morning, skipping over Friday with the 17-hour time change and had a light session in the afternoon to try to quickly acclimate. On Tuesday the U.S. plays a friendly against Australia at Central Coast Stadium, however the focus remains the World Cup opener on May 30.

“Right now although we’re going to play Australia and then follow that up with a game against Serbia in New Zealand. But our main focus continues to be Myanmar,” Ramos said. “That’s all we think about, that’s what the players will be watching over the next couple days.” 

It didn’t take long for the message to be accepted by the team. 

“It’s a World Cup, and we know we can’t take any game lightly,” said midfielder Emerson Hyndman. “But right now we’re only looking at the first game against Myanmar and we’re not looking past it.”

The team was given video of Myanmar matches to watch on the flight to Australia. 

“We’re putting more resources and time into Myanmar and learning about Myanmar than we did for playing Spain in the last World Cup,” Ramos said, who also coached the U-20 MNT at the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey. “Only because when you play a team like Spain or France or even Ghana, they play a style you’re somewhat familiar with, so you know their soccer culture, you know a lot more about them to begin with. In this case, we really had to learn from scratch. I think we’re putting a lot of time into that, and we feel comfortable that we’re moving in a good direction to be prepared for that game.” 

The preparation will continue picking up steam as the final six players join the squad, which Ramos says everyone is looking forward to.

“I think we’ve selected an excellent group of players but also an excellent group of people,” Ramos said. “They are all ready to go. They are all waiting for their teammates to come. And the guys who are not here can’t wait to get here. I think all around we have a good group of people and sometimes for a team that’s more important than anything else.”

 

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.

Tab Ramos Elaborates on U-20 MNT World Cup Roster Selection

Opening Remarks:
“So first of all, welcome to everyone on the call. Thank you for being on. Obviously this is a culmination of a very strong year-and-a-half cycle in which we were able to see many talented players. I believe this is a good age group. Obviously we’re right at the end of it here and it’s been very difficult to make the final selections. When you go into making the final selections you want to start with selecting the very best players you have and then end the selection process with players that fit in a number of different ways, not only by coming in in different positions but also by helping the team in every other way. I’m very happy with the selections that we’ve made. I think this is a strong group and a group in which more than ever before we have players who are playing first-division and are getting a lot of minutes and I think from a physical standpoint this is probably a group that will be able to handle this better than groups we have in the past. I’m very excited about this group and looking forward to the challenges that we have ahead of us, which will be difficult.”

On whether he thinks Gedion Zelalem will be cleared in time for the tournament and if not who he will use in the last spot:
“The answer to that is that we’re leaving a little window here over the next few days in case something can be worked out. I don’t know the specifics of the paperwork obviously. We’ve seen Gedion play a little bit and we believe that he can help the team, so if we have a few more days available I think we might as well leave that window open in case that happens. If it doesn’t happen, we have Zach Pfeffer ready to go. I’ve already spoken to him and told him the situation and this is kind of where we are, so we are prepared to make that call as well.”

On if he sees this roster as being inexperienced defensively:
“I really don’t actually. I think defensively we have a number of different combinations that we can use. Matt Miazga is playing 90 minutes every week for New York Red Bulls. Desevio Payne has already debuted in the first division with FC Gronigen. You have the option of John Requejo who’s playing every week, although he’s playing with the U-20s in Tijuana he has also played in the cup with Tijuana’s first team. Shaq Moore is unattached right now but he has been training in Spain and playing games in Spain, so I feel comfortable about that. There’s also the ability of using Kellyn Acosta as an outside back, who has been playing and starting for FC Dallas the last few games. Cameron Carter-Vickers is our youngest player and yet he plays like a veteran, so I have no concerns there at all. I think we’re in good shape. I don’t think we’re an inexperienced defense by any means.”

On the process of players going from the U-20s to the U-23s to the senior team and how that path of progression is beneficial to players:
“One of the things we’ve been talking about over these last few years since Jurgen Klinsmann has taken over our program is the fact that we know that the integration of our National Teams is very important to us. So I think that the participation of a player with the U-20s and at the U-20 World Cup and being in U-20 camps prepares them to go to the first team a little bit better, not just because of the international experience and the international games and being able to play against players all over the world, but I think that the way we train, the way we prepare teams, the way we scout, those are all things that are very similar to what our first team does. So I feel that when a player leaves our U-20s and steps into the first team that they’re pretty well prepared for what they’re going to find. I think that’s a big help for us.”

On how Marco Delgado worked his way into the group after missing the qualifying games:
“Well Marky got hurt right before the qualifiers. We’ve always considered him a very good player and one who can help us a lot. He has been in good form as of late. He played 90 minutes last night in a Canadian Cup game. He played 90 minutes in both games for us in our camp in Europe a few weeks back. He’s in good form right now and it’s a good moment for him.”

On what areas he is focusing on improving following the qualifying games and on how the selection of new players will fit into that:
“Yeah it’s a good question because in qualifying I have to say that I was very happy with the way that we played defensively. The team did very well in terms of limiting the opportunities of other teams. We were solid at the end of the tournament and I felt that we were probably the best team there. Defensively we didn’t give up much at all and we ended up with four shutouts in a row. I’m pretty confident that on that side of the field we’re going to do well. Where the changes have come that you see is going forward. Obviously we didn’t have Rubio Rubin there. We didn’t have the option to have Maki Tall there. Jordan Allen was injured and now he’s in great form. Bradford Jameison IV is in much better form now. He plays and starts for the LA Galaxy every game. There are a lot more options now and I feel confident in this team with what we can do on the other side of the ball because although at qualifiers we created chances and we had more shots that any team in qualifying we didn’t convert, and I think we need to be a lot more clinical and be able to put our chances away in the World Cup because certainly there’s not going to be as many chances as there were in qualifying.”

On if he has named a captain, and on Reading FC not releasing Andrija Novakovich:
“I have not named a captain yet. I’m going to do that with the team next week, so I’ll have to keep that to myself at this point until the team knows next week. As far as the release, I can tell you that Reading has done a great job with us over the years and in working with national teams and they’re very supportive of U.S. Soccer and our players coming up. An example is with Bobby Convey and the past and Danny Williams recently, so they do release their players. They just strongly felt that with Andrija this has been a very difficult year for him with the physicality of the Championship and being on their team. They consider him a very important part of next year’s group and their preseason which starts in June, and they felt like at this point he’s going to need the rest. I can’t argue with that. As the U-20 MNT head coach above and beyond anything else obviously results are very important - but also what’s important is that we advance players to our first team. So if that’s what’s best for Andrija at this point and that’s what everybody feels is best for him then I support that as well and hopefully we have Andrija ready, whether it’s for the Olympics or the senior team, down the road.”

On the strengths and weaknesses of Shaq Moore, where he’s been training, and what he’ll bring to the team:
“Shaq Moore is training with team Huracán, which is in the third division in Spain. I’ve spoken with their club director quite a few times because I wanted to make sure he was getting playing time. When Shaq comes with us he’s always physically in great shape. He brings a lot to the table for us in terms of covering space and getting up and down the line and making plays. He’s one that fits into the team really well. As far as strengths and weaknesses I can say he’s a player that’s very tactically knowledgeable, like I said he gets up and down the line well. I think in terms of weaknesses, he can obviously improve with the ball on his feet. He’s a young player and he has time for that. I’ve been a fan of Shaq. As you know he’s played most of our games, and I think he’ll bring a lot to the table here as well.”

On what formation he expects the team will bring to New Zealand and on whether an addition of Gedion Zelalem would change the game plan:
“The thought right now is to be playing in a 4-4-2, so whether that becomes a 4-4-2 in a diamond or it becomes two with two more advanced or if that becomes more of a 4-4-1-1 I think we’ll see over the next week and a half. I think the important part at this point is that we have our best guys on the field. I think we have a pretty well compensated roster with players that can make a difference from all kinds of positions, so that will be it. I think Gedion would certainly add to the group, but it won’t necessarily change the way we play. I think that he will fit right in with what we do if he is the player who comes, and if he’s not the player who comes we know that Zach Pfeffer can do that as well.”

On Matt Miazga:
“Matt has advanced and done really well. I was discussing before in a previous interview that in September and October of last year we started to have doubts about his play, and in December we brought him in. He had not been playing last year. Last year he wasn’t getting a lot of minutes with the Red Bulls. In December, we put him through a fitness camp with us in Florida for all the MLS players that were not playing and then we took him to Honduras to play two games, in which he did well. Then we took him to qualifying where as a starter he did well throughout. I thought as the tournament went on he got better and better, and I think that benefitted Matt going into the Red Bulls preseason. He had already played eight 90-minute games when he went into the preseason and I think that helped him a lot and it showed early in the preseason. Not to take anything away from Jesse and everything they do with the Red Bulls, they’re doing a great job, but I think Matt had a great base to start and I think now that he’s playing 90 minutes with the Red Bulls it shows how much improvement he’s making. As far as his confidence in play, it’s like any player: the more confidence the coach has in you, the more confidence you have in yourself, and I think Matt is reflecting that on the field now and continuing to get better and better. I’m very excited where Matt is right now, but more excited for down the road for our program.”

On if he’s confident that he’ll be able to retain the players that have been released, or if teams might change their minds:
“For the most part that never happens. When a team releases a player they rarely change their mind.The ones who could potentially change their minds at this point are MLS clubs, and MLS clubs are very supportive of what we do in our program so that’s not going to happen.

On how much Romain Gall’s knee injury factored into him being left off the roster:
“A lot actually, because we’ve been fortunate enough with the National Team now that as far as our attacking options we can select whatever players are in best form in that particular moment.  This is a message that we’ve given our youth players all along. Fortunately for us we’ve got a lot of players that are getting a lot of minutes and players who are doing well. Unfortunately Romain was out for a while and ame into our last camp and he’s not in great form. Although he scored a goal and we were happy with what we saw, it was just a matter of selecting one player or another and I think when we looked at our roster and what we needed with what we had, we had to go in another direction. This is not to say that Romain is not going to be in great form in another month or month in a half, and will hopefully break into the Crew’s first team and be great and make our Olympic team down the road. Hopefully that’s the case.  At the moment he was not in his best form and we had to make another selection.”

On Desevio Payne:
“So earlier when we were discussing all of the different ways we pick our teams and follow our players because it’s very difficult since we have players all over the world, our process begins with a depth chart that comes from the U-18 National Team of 60 to 70 players and that includes the best players in every position. We follow those. At the same time we follow players that are constantly moving to Europe and start to play, and then we follow some tips and leadsabout American players that are playing oversees and we track them as well. Desevio was one of those that just popped up a couple of months ago as someone that had broken into the lineup of a first team. I called him  to see what his interest would be in playing for the National Team and he was really excited about it, and that let us know that it would definitely be a player that we would follow through with. He came into the camp very excited to show what he could do, did very well to be honest, and I think he’s someone that we just happened to find at the end who’s doing very well and a good player who’s going to make our team better.”

On if this is the deepest team that there’s ever been for the U.S. U-20 level and on what the expectations should be going forward:
“The answer to your first question is I’m not sure because I don’t have all of the stats in front of me, but it’s probably the most professional team in the last two or three cycles. As far as the expectations, were always hoping that were getting better so we expect that. Our expectations for ourselves are always higher and higher so it’s normal that others people’s expectations are higher as well. In the end, you always depend on results,and sometimes results come your way and sometime they don’t. But I think there’s no reason not to have higher expectations higher that we’ve had in the past. We welcome that. Just like we welcomed going to qualifying, where I mentioned to the team we were going to the CONCACAF Tournament and our main goal is not to qualify for the World Cup but to be CONCACAF Champions because no other U-20 team had done that before. Unfortunately we didn’t accomplish our goal. In this case obviously we’re going to the World Cup and we hope to win every game, but in order to do that we have to win the first game and that’s a difficult challenge but we’ll get through it one at a time.”

On how Tommy Thompson fits in the 4-4-2 formation:
“Tommy Thompson can fit into a number of different positions. If you’ve seen him play in the midfield he finds space all over the field, so he can play wide on either side of a 4-4-2 and he could also play in front in either of the two forward positions as a more advanced or as a secondary forward.”

On if he sees Tommy Thompson coming on in the starting XI or off the bench?
“Over the next few weeks I think that will sort itself out. I’m hoping that every player that is coming in is thinking that they’re going to be in the starting XI and we want to keep it like that. We want to keep it competitive and keep the team as competitive as possible until then. Every player I’ve selected I’m hoping tcan compete for a spot at this point.”

On tactical formations:
“A 4-3-3 is a great system. If I had to select that would probably be my favorite one. But the system always depends on the players that you have. You need to have two very good wingers who are good one-on-one wide to be able to play a 4-3-3 system, and at the same time you need to have a No.  6 who can cover a lot of ground by himself in the middle of the field. It’s not an easy system to play; it depends on the players sometimes. By no means am I scratching that as something that we won’t do in this World Cup based on our opponents. There will be situations in which we will go into a 4-3-3 because that we will be better for us. In terms of development, I like to see the younger teams play in a 4-3-3 because it’s very position specific and it’s very easy to describe a position to a player and it’s very easy for a player to advance and get better in any one particular position. I like it. The 4-3-3 is a great system to play.”

On the reasons why Cristian Roldan did not make the squad:
“I think he was in a very competitive group of players that I had to select from. Roldan came into a group of Emerson Hyndman, Joel Sonora, Junior Flores, Zach Pfeffer and those types of guys who are a little bit more creative in the midfield and can hold possession.  I had a very tough choice. I think the selection process was very difficult in that particular position because we had a lot of options. Could Roldan potentially do the job for us in the World Cup? Absolutely yes. He’s a good player. So is Junior Flores. These are all good players, but in the end I couldn’t select too many players that play the same position. Those guys were left on the outside looking in, but it’s by a very small margin. These are all very good players we’re talking about.”

On Erik Palmer-Brown being one of the younger players on the team and what he did to earn his spot on the roster:
“He played really well in the last game we had against Croatia. We gave him the 90 minutes and he came in and really showed that defensively he can lock things up. I don’t want to take too much just from friendlies leading up, but I don’t think we gave a shot on goal to Croatia the whole game. That’s very positive, and that was Carter-Vickers and Palmer Brown playing central defense. They’re both 97-born players so they’re both next-cycle eligible. They did a pretty good job together. I liked what I saw. At this point that’s all I needed to see because I know the type of player that he is. I think at the same time this tournament will be a great experience for him leading into the next U-20 cycle.”

U-20 MNT Closes Out Camp with 1-0 Win over Croatia

SALZBURG, Austria (April 25, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team defeated Croatia’s Under-20’s 1-0 on Saturday behind a Romain Gall second-half goal at the Red Bull Salzburg Academy, in Salzburg, Austria. The matched capped off a weeklong camp as the U-20 MNT continues preparation for this summer’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.    

The game was physical from the start, with three cautions being issued in the first 20 minutes. When the whistle blew at halftime the score was even at 0-0.

In the second half things started to shift and the U.S. came out with intensity, pushing the ball forward. In the 64th minute U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos brought on a trio of subs and within two minutes, one of the subs, Gall, came through with a goal. Zach Pfeffer, who had brought the ball down the left side and played it in to Gall, was awarded the assist. Gall brought it in at the top of the box, took a turn and sidestepped a defender before sending home what proved to be the game-winning score.

The 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup will take place in New Zealand from May 30-June 20.

-U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-

 

Match: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Croatia U-20 MNT
Date: April 25, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Red Bull Salzburg Academy; Salzburg, Austria
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET
Attendance: Closed door
Weather: Cloudy, 64 degrees

Scoring Summary:             1      2      F

USA                                             0      1      1
CRO                                             0      0      0

USA – Romain Gall (Zach Pfeffer)                                   66 minute           

Lineups:

USA: Zack Steffen; Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown, Cameron Carter-Vickers, John Requejo; Cristian Roldan (Joel Sonora, 64), Marco Delgado, Tommy Thompson (Junior Flores, 64); Zach Pfeffer (Conor Donovan, 87), Jordan Allen (Amando Moreno, 81), Maki Tall (Romain Gall, 64).
Subs Not Used: Ethan Sonis, Jeff Caldwell

Head Coach: Tab Ramos 

CRO:  Ivusic Ivica (Miskic Dario, 85); Stolnik Marko (Grabovac Ivan, 77), Ikic Frane (Lovric Dragan, 85), Bagadur Ricardo, Muzek Matej; Faletar Filip (Mance Antonio, 85), Cvek Lovro (Slunjski Maks, 77), Klapan Jeronim (Ceraj Denis, 46); Dangubic Filip (Algahoul Muhamed, 42), Dzoni Jakov, Rebrenik Michael.
Subs Not Used: Rebrenik Michael

Head Coach: Danijel Saric

Stats Summary: USA / CRO
Shots: 19 / 6
Shots on Goal: 6 / 0
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3
Fouls: 16 / 24
Offside: 3 / 1

Misconduct Summary:

USA - Cameron Carter-Vickers (Caution) 15 minute
USA - Erik Palmer-Brown (Caution) 17
CRO - Cvek Lovro (Caution) 22
CRO - Klapan Jeronim (Caution) 74
USA - John Requejo (Caution) 90

                 

 

U-20 MNT Equalizes Late for 2-2 Draw against Qatar in Austria

SALZBURG, Austria (April 21, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team found the back of the net late in the second half to come out with a 2-2 draw against fellow World Cup side Qatar earlier today at Red Bull Arena, home of FC Red Bull Slazburg in Wals-Siezenheim, Austria.

Amando Moreno put the U.S. ahead early in the game with a tally in the 22nd minute after side stepping a defender and taking a hard shot right to the goal from the top of the box.

Qatar wasted no time coming from the half and converted on a penalty kick in the 46th minute to equalize the match. A second goal came in the 75th, giving the team a 2-1 lead over the USA.

Defender Conor Donovan saw an opportunity following a U.S. corner kick in the 84th minute and found the ball after it was put into play to send it to the back of the net for the 2-2 and the eventual final score.

Following this game, the U-20’s will resume training in Austria and then face Croatia on April 25, also at Red Bull Arena.

The camp is serving as the USA’s continued preparations for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will take place in New Zealand from May 30-June 20.

-U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-

 

Match: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Qatar U-20 MNT
Date: April 21, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Red Bull Salzburg Academy; Salzburg, Austria
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET
Attendance: Closed door
Weather: Sunny, 66 degrees

Scoring Summary:           1      2      F

USA                                       1      1      2
QAT                                       0      2      2

USA                       Amando Moreno                                             22nd minute                    
QAT                       Ahmad Al Saadi                                             46
QAT                       Tareq Sulaiman (Akram Afif)                       75
USA                       Conor Donovan (Maki Tall)                          84

Lineups:
USA: Zack Steffen; Shaq Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers (Conor Donovan, 75), Matt Miazga, John Requejo; Ethan Sonis (Marco Delgado, 46), Joel Sonora (Cristian Roldan, 76), Junior Flores (Romain Gall, 76); Amando Moreno (Jordan Allen, 46), Lynden Gooch (Tommy Thompson, 76), Maki Tall.
Subs Not Used: Zach Pfeffer, Jeff Caldwell, Erik Palmer-Brown
Head Coach: Tab Ramos

QAT: Mohammed Al Bakri; Abdulaziz Al-Khalosi, Tameem Al-Muhaza, Ahmad Doozandeh (capt.) (Ali Bojaloof, 63), Fahad Al Abdulrahman; Abdou Serigne (Tareq Sulaiman, 63), Abdulrahman Anad (Muaz Al Abdien, 46), Nasser Al Nasr (Ayoub Alleimon, 63); Said Sayeed (Akram Afif, 32), Ahmad Al Saadi (Sai Brahmi), Abdulrahman Fhami.
Head Coach: Felix Sanchez

Stats Summary: USA / QAT

Shots: 15 / 12
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1
Fouls: 18 / 17
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:

QAT       Husam Hassunin (caution)           63rd minute                       
USA       Cristian Roldan (caution)               77                                          


Ramos Names 20-Player Roster for Austria Camp Ahead of U-20 World Cup

CHICAGO (April 17, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has called in 20 players for the U-20’s second foreign training camp of the year to be held from April 18-26 in Linz, Austria.

During camp, the U-20 MNT will play friendly matches against fellow U-20 World Cup side Qatar on April 21, followed by a matchup against Croatia on April 25. Both games will be played at Red Bull Arena, home of FC Red Bull Slazburg in Wals-Siezenheim, Austria.

This will be the second camp of the year for Ramos’ group, who recently returned from a seven-day camp in England where it faced England’s U-21’s on March 29. This Austria camp will continue the USA’s preparation for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which takes place in New Zealand from May 30-June 20.

Eleven of the 20 players on the roster were part of the U.S. team that competed in the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and qualified the USA for the U-20 World Cup, while 12 players from the March camp in England return to be part of this squad.

All 20 players in the group have been previously called up to a camp or competed with the U-20 MNT since the 2014 cycle began.

Only three players will be joining the U-20’s for the first time in 2015: midfielders Jordan Allen and Cristian Roldan and forward Zach Pfeffer. Pfeffer has seen time with the U-23’s this year, and was called up to join the team during its training camp in Copenhagen on March 30.

Nine players represent clubs in Major League Soccer: defenders Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls) and Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City); midfielders Allen (Real Salt Lake), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew SC) and Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC); and forwards Pfeffer (Philadephia Union) and Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes).

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 (Detailed Roster):

GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (University of Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Zack Steffen (SC Freiburg; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC; Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), Matthew Miazga (Clifton, N.J.; New York Red Bulls), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake; Rochester, N.Y.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Junior Flores (Borussia Dortmund; Manassas Park, Va.), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew SC; Herndon, Va.), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland; Santa Cruz, Calif.), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; Pico Rivera, Calif.), Ethan Sonis (SC Freiburg; Coral Springs, Fla.), Joel Sonora (CA Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina)
FORWARDS (4): Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana; Morganville, N.J.), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union; Dresher, Pa.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.)

For more information about the U-20 MNT, find all the latest news on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

Additional Notes:

  • Midfielder Romain Gall is the lead goal scorer of the group with five tallies in 2015, all coming at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
  • Forward Maki Tall scored the U.S. goal in the 2-1 defeat against England. It was Tall’s first cap, start and career goal with the USA.
  • Defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and John Requejo are the only two players to have featured in all seven matches for the U-20’s this year, playing every minute.
  • Requejo, Gall and Tommy Thompson are the most capped players in the group, all with 14 apiece in their U-20 careers.
  • Requejo and Amando Moreno are teammates at Liga MX side Club Tijuana, while Ethan Sonis and Zack Steffen team up for SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga.
  • Eleven of the 20 players on the roster competed at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. They include: Gall, Steffen, Carter-Vickers, Conor Donovan, Matthew Miazga, Shaquell Moore,  Requejo, Junior Flores, Lynden Gooch, Moreno and Thompson
  • The 12 returning players from the March camp in England include: Jeff Caldwell, Carter-Vickers, Donovan, Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown, Requejo, Marco Delgado, Gooch, Sonis, Joel Sonora, Tall and Thompson.
  • Sixteen players on the roster have ties to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: Caldwell (NC Fusion), Steffen (Continental FC DELCO), Donovan (Capital Area RailHawks Academy- CASL), Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Moore (FC Dallas), Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City), Requejo (Real So Cal), Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake AZ and Empire Revolution), Delgado (Chivas USA and Cosmos Academy West), Flores (McLean Youth Soccer), Gall (D.C. United), Gooch (Santa Cruz Breakers Academy), Sonis (FC Dallas and Kendall SC), Moreno (New York Red Bulls), Pfeffer (Continental FC DELCO) and Thompson (California Development Academy)

U-20 MNT Defeated 2-1 in Plymouth by England

PLYMOUTH, England – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team fell to England’s Under-21s 2-1 Sunday afternoon in front of 11,406 fans at Home Park in Plymouth, England. The matched capped off a week-long camp as the U-20 MNT continues preparation for this summer’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.    

England built a two-goal lead behind goals from John Swift and Kwame Thomas before U.S. forward Maki Tall scored his first international goal for the USA late in the match that featured the U.S. debuts for defender Desevio Payne, midfielder Ethan Sonis, and Tall.

The game began under a driving rain with neither side threatening for the opening 20 minutes. The U.S. had the first chance when Paul Arriola was able to spring Maki Tall down the right side from near midfield. Tall advanced the ball into the box and let go of a shot toward the near post but was denied by a great save from England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 20th minute.

England responded immediately. Captain Matty Grimes ripped a low shot from just inside the box that U.S. goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell stretched out to his left to tip away. Minutes later, Grimes tested Caldwell from about 22 yards, but the U.S. ‘keeper did well to handle the curling, left-footed shot.

Forty-three minutes in, U.S. forwards Rubio Rubin and Bradford Jamieson combined near midfield to get out of pressure, sending Jamieson down the center only to be fouled outside the arc. Rubin took the freekick but could not get it to dip quick enough as it went just over the crossbar.

England took the lead right before the half. Winger Moses Odubajo took a ball down the right side and sent a cross in to the area where an unmarked John Swift collected and shot past Caldwell.

England doubled the lead in the 68th minute on a nice play from the left side as Harry Tofollo linked up with Swift who passed to Kwame Thomas at the top of the six. Thomas re-directed the ball past Caldwell as defenders attempted to block the shot.

The U.S. got one back five minutes later when Rubin beat his man on the left endline near the goal. His cross came back to the top of the six to Joel Sonora who mishit a shot. The ball went to the far post where Maki Tall slid down to shoot past the last defender for his first goal.

The U.S. U-20 MNT will next gather for an Austria-based camp in April that will feature friendlies against Qatar and Croatia. 

-U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. England U-21 Men’s National Team
Date: March 29, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Home Park; Plymouth, Devon, UK
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. Local)
Attendance: 11,406
Weather: 48 degrees; Rainy

Scoring Summary:   1      2      F
USA                           0      1      1
ENG                           1      1      2

ENG – John Swift (Moses Odubajo)         44th minute
ENG – Kwame Thomas (John Swift)        68
USA – Maki Tall (Joel Sonora)                  74

Lineups:
USA: 12-Jeff Caldwell, 2-Shaq Moore, 4- Desevio Payne (14-Conor Donovan, 75), 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 3-John Requejo; 6-Russell Canouse (15-Ethan Sonis, 78), 7-Paul Arriola (17-Joel Sonora, 61), 11-Marky Delgado; 10-Maki Tall (16-Boxi Yomba, 78), 9-Rubio Rubin (capt.; 23-Lynden Gooch, 75), 8-Bradford Jamieson IV (21-Tommy Thompson, 46)
Substitutions Not Used:  22-Thomas Olsen, 18-Andrija Novakovic.
Head coach: Tab Ramos

ENG: 13-Jordan Pickford, 4-Dominic Ball, 12-Harry Tofollo, 16-Jack Stephens, 17-Jordan Turnbull; 2-Moses Odubjo (10-Callum Robinson, 70), 7-Matty Grimes (capt.), 15-Harrison Reed, 19-John Swift (14-Jamie Hanson, 89), 20-Alex Mowatt (9-Chuba Akpom, 80), 18-Kwami Thomas
Substitutions Not Used:  1-Christian Walton, 3-Kortney Hause, 5-Dominic Iorfa, 6-Bailey Cargill, 8-Lewis Baker, 9-Chuba Akpom, 11-Jack Barmby.
Head coach: Aidy Boothroyd

Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 6 / 8
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 6 / 6
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
ENG – Jack Stephens (caution)                  81st minute
USA – Dembakwi Yomba (caution)           82

Officials:
Referee: Steve Martin (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Russell (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Antony Coggins (ENG)
Fourth Official: Adam Hopkins (ENG)

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