Meet The USA’s Under-20 World Cup Team


After an exhilarating come-from-behind victory over tournament favorite France, the USA is one of eight teams remaining at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The U-20 World Cup is FIFA’s oldest youth world championship and serves as a biennial showcase of top talents around the globe aged 20 and younger.

An exciting 21-player team is representing the red, white and blue in Poland. Nineteen of the players came up through the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and a number are now signed to some of the world’s biggest clubs such as Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, or have become some of MLS’ most promising young stars. The players, ranging from 17- to 20-years-old, are some of the USA’s best and brightest prospects. Here’s what you need to know about the young Americans making noise on the global soccer stage.


A dangerous arsenal of attacking talent leads the charge for the USA on the front line. Striker Sebastian Soto has netted two doubles in Poland, powering the red, white and blue’s 2-0 victory vs. Nigeria in the group stage and netting the first two goals in the upset win over France. His four tallies tie him for second place in scoring at the U-20 World Cup. After moving to German side Hannover 96 last fall, Soto didn’t miss a beat, continuing his torrid goal-scoring pace with the club’s U-19 team before making his first team debut this spring. He’s continued to find the back of the net in Poland.

The high-flying Tim Weah earned eight senior MNT caps in 2018 and has served as a key contributor at the World Cup. Dangerous with and without the ball, Weah scored the USA’s lone goal in a gritty win over Qatar and has picked up two assists, including this nifty pass to draw the U.S. even with France. Weah joined the team after wrapping up a successful spell with Scottish giants Celtic FC where he was on loan from French power Paris Saint-Germain.

Justin Rennicks has been one of the U-20s most consistent players over the last two years and completed the USA’s thrilling comeback against France when he pounced on a rebound and drove it home in the 83rd minute. A Homegrown player, Rennicks made his MLS debut earlier this season for the New England Revolution.

Winger Konrad de la Fuente serves as a crafty, creative option on the flank and made his debut with FC Barcelona’s reserve team earlier this year. De La Fuente has started every game for the USA in Poland as a constant danger on the right wing. 

Ulyssess Llanez has made the most of his two World Cup appearances, serving as a game-changing super-sub in the USA’s last two matches. The USA’s lone goal against Qatar came shortly after his entrance, and he helped spark the equalizer for the U.S. vs. France. Llanez completed a move to Bundesliga club Wolfsburg this spring.


The USA boasts a creative, dynamic crew of midfielders that serve as the team’s engine in Poland. FC Dallas’ Paxton Pomykal has turned heads as one of the most talented young players in MLS this season and has continued to impress with the U-20s, captaining the squad in three games.

Alex Mendez
took home 2018 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year honors on the back of a stellar showing at the USA’s World Cup qualifying tournament last fall, winning the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. Always a weapon on corners and free kicks, Mendez has notched two assists in Poland- one on a laser of a corner kick and one on an opportunistic defensive play. Mendez moved to Bundesliga side Freiburg last fall and found success with the club’s U-19 team this spring.

After a standout showing at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Chris Durkin broke through with D.C. United last season and he’s served as the anchor of the U-20 midfield in three of the team’s four games. Brandon Servania is a versatile midfielder who scored the USA’s first goal of the World Cup against Ukraine. He’s currently a mainstay with FC Dallas’ reserve squad North Texas SC.

Richard Ledezma
turned heads in his first World Cup start against France, creating a number of dangerous opportunities through the midfield and crafting the team’s opening goal. He recovered from injury this spring just in time to start seeing the field with Dutch giant PSV Eindhoven’s U-19 team before making the World Cup roster.

Edwin Cerillo
made a late push to earn his spot in Poland. The World Cup is his first call-up to represent the USA after he impressed in the first few months of the MLS season with FC Dallas.


A steely group of defenders locks down the U.S. back line in Poland. At 6-3, center back Chris Richards stands as the roster’s tallest field player and just wrapped up his first season playing with German super-club Bayern Munich’s U-19 squad. Aboubacar Keita has paired with Richards at center back in every game and his line-breaking passes from the back have sparked a number of U.S. attacking chances.

After breaking out for the USA at the 2017 U-17 World Cup, the speedy Sergino Dest has been rising through the ranks at Dutch power Ajax in the right back spot. His long-range shot late in the game against France created the rebound for Rennicks’ game-winning goal.

On the opposite side, left back Chris Gloster enjoyed a smooth transition in his first full season with Hannover 96 in Germany, installing himself as a regular for the club’s reserve team. He’s been a key contributor on both ends of the field for the USA, complementing solid defensive play with dangerous attacking runs – like this one that sprung Soto for the USA’s second goal vs. Nigeria.

Mark McKenzie
became a regular for the Philadelphia Union during the club’s run to the U.S. Open Cup Final and MLS Cup Playoffs last season. He has served as the U-20s’ captain in Poland, filling in at central defense and right back. His Union teammate Matthew Real provides another versatile option in the defense. A late addition to the roster as an injury replacement, right back Julian Araujo has begun to work himself into a talented LA Galaxy line-up after shining with the U-23 MNT in March.


The USA has a number of quality options between the sticks in Poland. Brady Scott is the lone returnee from the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup roster. The FC Köln goalkeeper took home the Golden Glove as the best netminder at the USA’s World Cup qualifying tournament last fall.

At just 18 years old, David Ochoa has become the first choice ‘keeper for Real Salt Lake’s reserve squad, Real Monarchs in the USL Championship. He made a number of highlight-reel saves to keep a clean sheet in the USA’s gritty 1-0 win against Qatar in the group stage.

CJ Dos Santos has been climbing the ranks at Portuguese power Benfica and is representing the USA in his second youth World Cup tournament.