CHICAGO (July 13, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will gather for a training camp from July 15-22 in Raleigh, N.C. for the program’s fourth activity this cycle that began with the first-ever U.S. Soccer Men’s YNT Summit in January. U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos has called 20 players to the camp.
“I am really looking forward to this camp and to the addition of some new players,” Ramos said. “It is important, at this time, to widen our player pool and provide new opportunities so that we can begin making decisions about who will be part of our core group in U-20 World Cup Qualifying in November”
With the recent news that the Concacaf Under-20 Championship will be played at IMG Academy from Nov. 1-21. Ramos and the Youth National Team coaching staff are continuing to adjust to the shortened cycle calendar. The tournament, which will qualify four nations for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, will feature all 34 Concacaf U-20 member association for the first time in the history of the competition.
Eight players are being called up to the U-20 MNT for the first time: goalkeepers Justin Garces (Atlanta United FC) and George Marks (Clemson University), defenders Chris Gloster (Hannover 96) and Lennard Maloney (FC Union Berlin), midfielders Taylor Booth (Unattached) and Sean Zawadzki (Crew SC Academy), and forwards George Acosta (Boca Juniors) and Sebastian Soto (Real Salt Lake).
Of the 20 players brought into camp, 19 have registered at least one season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Six of those players lead the way in Academy seasons, each having competed in the Academy program for five seasons: Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC), Justin Rennicks (Indiana University), Sam Rogers (Seattle Sounders FC), Aedan Stanley (St. Louis FC), Aristotle Zarris (LA Galaxy) and Zawadzki.
The roster also includes ten DA Best XI conference selections from the recently concluded 2017-18 Academy season, as well as from past seasons:
- Griffin Dorsey (Central, U-15/16, 2016*)
- Justin Garces (East, U-18/19, 2018*)
- Richie Ledezma (West, U-15/16, 2017; West, U-18/19, 2018*)
- Trey Muse (West, U-15/16, 2016; West, U-17/18, 2017*)
- Paxton Pomykal (Central, U-15/16, 2016)
- Justin Rennicks (East, U-15/16, 2016)
- Sam Rogers (West, U-17/18, 2017)
- Brandon Servania (Central, U-15/16, 2016; Central, U-17/18, 2017)
- Sebastian Soto (West, U-15/16, 2017; West, U-18/19, 2018)
- Aedan Stanley (Central, U-15/16, 2015; Central, U-15/16, 2016; Central, U-17/18, 2017; Central, U-18/19, 2018)
*Also named conference player of the year
Of the 20 players named, 12 were born in 1999, the age cut-off year for the 2019 U-20 World Cup. Seven were born in 2000 and the only 2001 birth year called up is Booth.
U.S. U-20 MNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Justin Garces (Atlanta United FC; Miami, Fla.), George Marks (Clemson University; Raleigh, N.C.), Trey Muse (Indiana University; Tukwila, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (5): Chris Gloster (Hannover 96; South Orange, N.J.), Lennard Maloney (FC Union Berlin; Berlin, Germany), Manny Perez (N.C. State University; Garner, N.C.), Sam Rogers (Seattle Sounds FC; Seattle, Wash.), Aedan Stanley (St. Louis FC, Columbia, Ill.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Taylor Booth (Unattached; Eden, Utah), Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC; Atlanta, Ga.), Richie Ledezma (Real Salt Lake; Casa Grande, Ariz.), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas, Highland Village, Texas), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas; Birmingham, Ala.), Aristotle Zarris (LA Galaxy; Sarasota, Fla.), Sean Zawadski (Crew SC Academy; Olmsted Falls, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): George Acosta (Boca Juniors; Miami, Fla.), Shaft Brewer Jr. (LAFC; Sacramento, Calif.), Griffin Dorsey (Indiana University; Evergreen, Colo.), Justin Rennicks (Indiana University; Hamilton, Mass.), Sebastian Soto (Real Salt Lake; Carlsbad, Calif.)Read more
With the announcement of the Concacaf Under-20 Championship coming to IMG Academy from Nov. 1-21, U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team head coach and Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos spoke with ussoccer.com about the announcement of the tournament and how the player pool will prepare for the FIFA U-20 World Cup qualification tournament.
ussoccer.com: The Concacaf U-20 Championship is returning to the United States for the first time since 2005, when the U.S. co-hosted with Honduras. How advantageous will it be to play on home soil, at a familiar site to the Youth National Teams?
Tab Ramos: “Playing on our home soil makes it much easier to not have to adapt to unpredictable weather, food, altitude or different types of surfaces.”
ussoccer.com: The 2018 tournament marks one of the fastest turn-arounds from the end of the previous cycle's U-20 World Cup. What are the biggest challenges to preparing a cycle of players in such a compact amount of time?
Tab Ramos: “It is a more difficult challenge as we started this cycle later than others in the past. This time our preparation will go from being 18 months and eight or nine camps to 10 months and five camps. Generally most players are only able to attend about half the camps, so there will not be much contact with the core players. There could potentially be players at the qualifying tournament who will be playing for us for the first time in this cycle.”
ussoccer.com: How many opportunities will there be to bring the U-20 group together between now and the start of the tournament?
Tab Ramos: “There will just be two camps between now and November. The calendar for our players is very full. Also, there is the added hurdle that the tournament falls in the middle of conference tournaments and NCAA playoffs for our college players.”
ussoccer.com: Despite having limited opportunities to bring the group together, what do you like about the group so far? Which players have done well to fit into the style of play and team characteristics you are building?
Tab Ramos: “We have very competitive, technical players in this country, players who are committed to playing hard for the National Team. This particular group is skillful and will represent us well. As always, we will be hoping that we are able to secure releases for a couple difference makers who can make us a stronger, deeper team. In a long tournament like this one, it will likely be important. Players who have lead the way so far include Brady Scott, Matthew Real, Mark McKenzie, Richie Ledezma, Andrew Carleton, Justin Rennicks, Jonathan Amon and Manny Perez, but all players have stepped up when given the opportunity.”
ussoccer.com: Heading into your fourth tournament as head coach, the 2018 rendition is also the fourth time you’ve faced a change to the tournament's structure. How does facing a 34-team field change the way you prepare?
Tab Ramos: “It will be something that all teams will have to adapt to. My only concern is our team and working with clubs between now and then to be able to get player releases. We will also be defending champions for the first time. I would like to think that being champions is not an accident. We always want to be champions.”
ussoccer.com: As the Men's National Team Transitions to a new generation of players, will the likes of Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah be a part of this qualifying group? Would their absence open opportunities for other players?
Tab Ramos: “This will depend on our philosophy as a federation moving forward. I always welcome the chance to give new players opportunities.”
ussoccer.com: When you reflect on all the qualifying tournaments you have been a part of as a player, assistant coach and head coach, what are you most looking forward to for this tournament?
Tab Ramos: “As a highly competitive former player and now as a highly competitive coach, I always look forward to the must-win games. The games that make all your sweat, suffering and preparation worth it.”Read more
CHICAGO (June 8, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will seek to defend its confederation title at the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship, which will be held at IMG Academy from Nov. 1-21 in Bradenton, Fla.
“These are the games that make all your sweat, suffering and preparation worth it,” U-20 Men’s National Team head coach and Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos said. “We will also be defending champions for the first time. We have very competitive, technical players in this country, players who are committed to playing hard for the National Team. This particular group is skillful and will represent us well.”
The event will qualify four teams to the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will be held in Poland from May 25 to June 16. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) announced that the event will be its largest Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament ever, with all 34 U-20 member associations participating.
The USA returns to the confederation tournament as defending champions after capturing its first title at the U-20 level in March of 2017, defeating Honduras via penalty kicks in the final following a 0-0 draw.
- READ: U-20 MNT Claims First Concacaf U-20 Title with Shootout Win vs. Honduras
- GALLERY: U-20 MNT Clenches First, History Making Concacaf U-20 Title
The 2018 edition will start with the entire field split into six groups, competing in round robin play. The six group winners will then advance to the qualification stage, comprised of two groups of three teams. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, and the qualification stage group winners will face off in the final to determine the regional champion.
The complete list of participating associations, as well as the first-round match schedule, will be announced at a later date.Read more
About this time last year, Cameron Carter Vickers didn’t know what to think about Josh Sargent upon his surprise addition to the Under-20 Men’s National Team. The 17-year-old forward arrived at the U-20 MNT’s pre-World Cup training camp in Korea Republic just a few days after leading the U-17 MNT to a runner-up finish at the Concacaf U-17 Championship.
Sargent went from captain to new kid on the block. From a veteran U-17 presence to interloper in a well-established U-20 squad. As a defender, Carter-Vickers went against the young striker every day in camp. He still had questions about the mop-topped redhead from St. Louis.
“I wasn’t too sure about him,” Carter-Vickers said. “I wasn’t too sure that he was that good of a player, or if he was going to be what we needed.”
Game day brought an end to any uncertainty. After suffering an early 2-0 deficit to open the
U-20 World Cup, the team desperately needed a goal in their opening match against Ecuador. Sargent delivered. His poised 36th-minute strike put the USA on the board. When the U-20s needed an equalizer, Sargent answered once again 18 minutes later. The performance cleared the air of any lingering doubt.
“As soon as that first game, I could see that he could strike a ball well,” Carter-Vickers said. “Obviously, he scored two goals and I thought, yeah, I can see why he’s here.”
Almost a year to the date of his debut with the U-20 MNT, Sargent earned his first appearance for the senior squad on May 28 against Bolivia in Philadelphia. Like his debut with the 20s, the now-18-year-old made an instant impression. In the 52nd minute, the 18-year-old swooped in on a poorly played ball by Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Lampe, took it out of the air, turned and stuffed home his first international goal. Aged 18 years, 102 days, the strike make Sargent the second-young MNT player to score in his debut.
“There’s a great generation coming through,” Sargent said after the game. “I think the fans have a lot to look forward to. It’s all gone by so fast. It’s really cool to be able to score at each level, and now proving that I can score at the professional level as well.”
One year after the U-20 MNT reached the quarterfinals at the U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic, a quintet of that team’s young talent has reached the senior MNT, the highest number yet in a single camp from last summer’s tournament roster. The U-20 alumni have begun to make an impact as part of the young MNT’s next generation.
“It's really nice to be here together now and look back on the Under-20 cycle. We've come pretty far,” said midfielder Tyler Adams. “When I got my first call-up, it was an exciting time period because there were a lot of young faces. It’s refreshing to see a lot of young talent that we have graduated and come through the Youth National Teams. For these guys now, you're going to see their faces a lot."
The five players now in camp from last year’s U-20 World Cup-- Adams, Carter-Vickers, Luca de la Torre, Erik Palmer-Brown and Sargent—all climbed up the Youth National Team ladder. All but Carter-Vickers spent time at the U-17 level before they made a jump to the next World Cup age group, while the England-based defender logged minutes with the U-18s. Sargent pulled double duty with the 17s and 20s last year as a key player in each team’s World Cup run. He made one appearance with the U-20 squad earlier this year before his current MNT call-up.
Carter-Vickers and Palmer-Brown got a head start on their YNT development when they made the 2015 U-20 World Cup roster as underage players. In New Zealand, Carter-Vickers established a partnership with fellow center back Matt Miazga, one which has already taken the field three times for the senior team since last November in Portugal.
“Having been part of a World Cup, going into the second one you kind of know what to expect.” Carter-Vickers said. “You can pass some bits and bobs to your teammates and just try to help the team do well. In both 2015 and 2017, everyone got on really well on and off the pitch. There was good team chemistry. I think we performed at both of them.”
That 2015 World Cup in New Zealand has provided a similar pipeline of talent for the current MNT. Several players from that squad have advanced to the full team since November, and have already begun to make an impression at the senior level. In the current camp, Miazga, Zack Steffen and Rubio Rubin have all made multiple MNT appearances, while Shaq Moore earned his debut on Saturday against Ireland.
Midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola played big roles for the MNT in the past year, while Marky Delgado and Emerson Hyndman have also picked up their first caps, meaning that a staggering half of the 2015 roster has enjoyed senior team debuts.
Erik Palmer-Brown played only 90 minutes in New Zealand, but the experiences he gleaned as a part of the World Cup roster proved invaluable. He entered the new U-20 cycle as the team’s captain, and last spring led the USA to its first-ever Concacaf U-20 Championship.
That run forged the team together, and while six new players joined the U-20 ranks for Korea Republic, Sargent stood as the biggest curveball. The O’Fallon, Mo., product had appeared in just one U-20 MNT camp before the forward was thrust into the mix. As the captain, Lee’s Summit native Palmer-Brown dealt with task to integrate him into the team. Their shared Missouri roots provided plenty of ammo for banter
“As a team, we were open. I think we trust in the coaches and the system that they're going to choose the best players to be at the camp,” Palmer-Brown said. “For us, I think it was very seamless for Josh to come to the group. He’s from Missouri so I had to pick on him quite a bit. When he came in the group we had a lot of fun. I think in general he did well and he only helped our team.”
Performance served as the prime proving ground. Sargent’s showing in the opener turned heads, and his tear continued the rest of the team’s time in Korea. He followed up his standout debut with the game-winner in a 1-0 win against Senegal and another in a 6-0 rout of New Zealand. His four goals earned him Silver Boot honors at the tournament and an eventual professional contract with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.
After another strong performance at last October’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, Sargent earned his first call-up to the senior team in Portugal a month later. U-20 teammates Tyler Adams and Cameron Carter-Vickers joined him. At the MNT’s annual January camp, U-20 MNT Real Salt Lake products Danny Acosta, Justen Glad and Brooks Lennon earned their first senior invites. Palmer-Brown made his MNT camp debut in March and his first appearance on May 28 against Bolivia.
The recent U-20 graduates sit near the center of the MNT’s refreshed roster. The squad’s average age came in just over 23 years, while 10 players stood age-eligible for last year’s competition. While they have represented the USA at the world’s highest level of youth competition, the senior level stage presents a new challenge.
Like the World Cup, moments like Sargent’s goal in Philadelphia will help to establish their place with the senior team, while defeats like the last-minute loss to Ireland will provide educational lumps to take. As they begin to forge the MNT’s future, the core of familiar faces has facilitated their jumps to the full international ranks.
“It's a lot more fun to grow up with all the guys that you started with and see how they've progressed over time and developed and able to make the next step together,” Adams said. “It's fairly easy to come into camp when you know you're going to have guys that you're really close with in camp with you. It makes it very seamless.
“You take those youth World Cup experiences and you’re ready to make the next step. When you recognize how important it is that you've really made it to the senior national team, it really keeps you hungry. You want more if you want to keep getting called in, you want to establish yourself and continue to represent the country.”Read more