U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos is well aware of the availability – or unavailability – of his players throughout each year and cycle. At any moment, a portion of the U-20 MNT pool could be absent due to their professional club schedules.
Over the past year, 37 players have earned an international cap and approximately 60 players have been called into a U-20 MNT camps during a 2014 schedule that featured only nine international matches. The necessity of calling in a large number of players has added some significant depth to the pool competing for spots on the World Cup qualifying roster and Ramos says that bodes well for tournament.
“This is a deep group, particularly in the midfield, so we will have some tough decisions to make,” said Ramos, who played in the U-20 World Cup in 1983. “There will be players left out who could certainly help the team, and players off of the 35-player provisional list who have pro potential. We also have the luxury of players who can play a number of different positions. We expect that every player on the qualifying roster will play a significant role in this tournament.”
Having been through a previous U-20 cycle with a team that took second at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and earned a trip to that year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup, Ramos says that this current cycle is ahead of the curve.
“No question – U.S. Soccer has been tremendous as far as providing the resources for us to prepare as much as we can for the U-20 qualifying in January,” Ramos said. “Everything that we’ve asked for has been laid out in front of me, and I’m very excited about that. Once January rolls around, our team will be as prepared as it can be.”
The 2013 qualifying tournament took place in Puebla, Mexico, using excellent facilities and was capped off by a 40,000-plus capacity crowd that watched the USA and Mexico in the final at Estadio Cuauhtémoc. Ramos says this year’s qualifying matches will not be played on such pristine pitches, which could pose a challenge for countries such as the U.S. and defending CONCACAF U-20 Championship title-winner Mexico.
“We are certainly ahead of the game compared to the last cycle as far as preparation,” Ramos said. “I think that the biggest challenge for us in this cycle is that the last qualifiers were played in Mexico and we were guaranteed of games on very good fields. That always benefits the good teams. This time around, because the facilities in Jamaica will be more difficult to play on, I think that evens out the competition a lot more. That’s something that we’ll have to adjust to.”
CHICAGO (Dec. 27, 2014) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has submitted its 35-player provisional roster for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and has gathered a group of players for one final camp before heading to Jamaica for the qualifying tournament.
The final camp will take place in Sunrise, Florida, located near Fort Lauderdale, and begins on Sunday, Dec. 28. Ramos will name the final 20-player roster on Friday, Jan. 2.
While there are 21 players in the final camp, all 35 players are available for selection to the final roster.
“I am looking forward to our last camp leading into U-20 World Cup qualifying, and there will be some very difficult selections in what we think is a very competitive, deep and united pool of players,” said Ramos. “They have performed well together over the past 18 months.”
The final camp, which will last until Monday, Jan. 5, when the U.S. leaves for Jamaica, will also set the groundwork for the team’s opening match for U-20 World Cup Qualifying against Guatemala on Friday, Jan. 9, at Independence Park in Kingston.
That match will be followed by Group A games against Panama (Jan. 11) and Aruba (Jan. 14) in Kingston, followed by games against host Jamaica (Jan. 18) and Trinidad & Tobago (Jan. 21) at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. The tournament will qualify four teams to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Here is the roster breakdown:
U.S. U-20 MNT’s 35-Player Provisional Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jeff Caldwell (Virginia), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK), Zack Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (12): Michael Amick (UCLA), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Conor Donovan (N.C. State), Chase Gasper (UCLA), Luis Martir (Chivas Guadalajara), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Shaquell Moore (Unattached), Chris Odoi-Atsem (Maryland), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City), Tommy Redding (Orlando City), John Requejo (Club Tijuana), Tyler Turner (Orlando City)
MIDFIELDERS (12): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Fernando Arce (Club Tijuana), Corey Baird (Stanford), Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC), Luis Felipe (Cruzeiro), Junior Flores (Borussia Dortmund), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union), Joel Soñora (CA Boca Juniors)
FORWARDS (8): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Alex Muyl (Georgetown), Andrija Novakovich (Reading), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht), Ben Spencer (Indy Eleven), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)
The following 21 players are currently set to join the USA in Sunrise, Florida:
Ethan Horvath (Molde FK), Zack Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (7): Conor Donovan (N.C. State), Chase Gasper (UCLA), Luis Martir (Chivas Guadalajara), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Shaquell Moore (Unattached), John Requejo (Club Tijuana), Tyler Turner (Orlando City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Fernando Arce (Club Tijuana), Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC), Junior Flores (Borussia Dortmund), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland)
FORWARDS (5): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Ben Spencer (Indy Eleven), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)
The CONCACAF U-20 Championship format has changed for 2015 with two groups of six teams. Previous tournaments had featured four groups of three teams. Under the new setup, the first-place teams in Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and advance to face each other in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Final. The second- and third-place teams in each group (four teams) will be reseeded based on group-stage results. In this playoff stage, the top seed will play the No. 4 seed and the second seed will face the No. 3 seed. The two winners from these respective games will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
This year marks the 25th occasion in which the U.S. U-20 MNT is competing in the CONCACAF Youth Tournament or Championship. The USA has earned second place in the qualification tournament six times (1980, 1982, 1986, 1992, 2009, 2013), but has yet to win a CONCACAF U-20 Championship title.
CHICAGO (Dec. 23, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach was named the 2014 CONCACAF Female Player of the Year. Wambach, who was the runner-up to Alex Morgan for the award in 2013, edged out Costa Rica’s Shirley Cruz for the top honor.
Wambach, a member of the National Women's Soccer League's WNY Flash, scored 14 goals and posted three assists in 20 games for the WNT. She is the team's all-time leading goal scorer with 177 in 232-career appearances.
U.S. Men’s National Team and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was the CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year for the second consecutive occasion, beating out Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa and Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas. Howard had a memorable 2014 FIFA World Cup highlighted by a 15-save performance against Belgium. Howard also was third in the CONCACAF Player of the Year voting.
USA referee Mark Geiger was named the 2014 CONCACAF Referee of the Year, finishing ahead of Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rodriguez and Costa Rica’s Walter Quesada. Geiger refereed three matches at the 2014 World Cup, including a Round of 16 match between France and Nigeria. He was the 2014 Major League Soccer Referee of the Year and manned the middle during the 2014 MLS Cup Final as the LA Galaxy won its fifth title.
2014 CONCACAF Awards
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Keylor Navas, Goalkeeper (Real Madrid/ESP & Costa Rica)
Second: Bryan Ruiz, Forward (Fulham FC/ENG & Costa Rica)
Third: Tim Howard, Goalkeeper (Everton/ENG & United States)
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Abby Wambach, Forward (Western New York Flash/USA & United States)
Second: Shirley Cruz, Midfielder (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA & Costa Rica)
Third: Veronica Charlyn Corral (Merilappi United/FIN & Mexico)
GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Tim Howard (Everton/ENG & United States)
Second: Guillermo Ochoa (Malaga/ESP & Mexico)
Third: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid/ESP & Costa Rica)
COACH OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jorge Luis Pinto (Costa Rica)
Second: Luis Fernando Suarez (Honduras)
Third: Oscar Ramirez (LD Alajuelense/CRC)
REFEREE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Mark Geiger (USA)
Second: Marco Antonio Rodriguez (Mexico)
Third: Walter Quesada (Costa Rica)
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Winner: Bryan Ruiz, Costa Rica v Italy, 44th minute (June 20, 2014)
Second: Esteban Ramirez, Herediano v Saprissa, 20th minute Nov. 2, 2014)
Third: Joel Campbell, Costa Rica v Uruguay, 54th minute (June 14, 2014)