On March 8, the Official Draw for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup set the stage for this summer’s tournament. The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team was drawn into Group C alongside Japan, Paraguay and Spain.
Prior to the draw, the USA was in France for two friendlies against the host nation, played in two of the four official World Cup venues. The first fixture took place at Stade de la Rabine in Vannes, venue for the semifinal and final rounds. As the U-20s move full force into World Cup prep, head coach Jitka Klimkova broke down the team’s outlook for the tournament.
ussoccer.com: You finally know what’s in store for the USA this summer in France. What are your initial thoughts on Group C?
Jitka Klimkova: Now we can really focus on our opposition. The first game against Japan will be very exciting, we can’t wait for that. The second game is against a Paraguay team that played some really good qualifiers in South America against challenging competition. The third game is against Spain, they won the European championship, so they’re clearly a quality team. There’s nothing but opportunities in front of us to play in Group C against such great opposition.
ussoccer.com: Now that you know your Group C foes, how does it impact your preparation for August?
JK: We already had our plan of camps, but we didn’t confirm our opposition for games. Now, knowing who we play, we will try to find teams to play with similar styles to our group stage opponents. We’ll hopefully play Brazil in June, and that should be a similar opponent to Paraguay. We’re looking to schedule teams that play a similar style to Japan and Spain. I think our preparation for the World Cup will be very efficient.
ussoccer.com: What experience do you have with your Group C opposition?
As a coaching staff, we went to Northern Ireland in August for the UEFA Championship, so we saw Spain play a couple of times, including the final and semifinal. We feel like we have a good idea of their style of play. We also sent a scout to the South American qualifiers who had a chance to see Paraguay play against quality competition.
ussoccer.com: What kind of style can we expect to see from your Group C opponents?
JK: Both Japan and Spain are very possession-oriented teams. For us, the preparation for both games will be bit similar, so it’s good that we won’t need to change much in our game plan against those opponents.
Paraguay is more physical and more direct. That’s the style of soccer that our players see more in the NCAA, so we will be prepared for it. Paraguay is more akin to the competition the players have seen in the college game or at the CONCACACAF Championship. It’s a style that we’re familiar with.
ussoccer.com: What else did you experience at the Official Draw?
JK: It’s great to be here. It’s been great to listen to the plan of what the tournament will actually look like. We spent a day in the Team Services Workshop that broke down all of the details for August. We had the chance to be more specific about our preparations - we’ll we went to the stadiums where we’ll play and the hotels, which is all very helpful.
We can’t wait for August: game one against Japan, game two against Paraguay, game three against Spain. Here we go!Read more
CHICAGO (18 de marzo, 2018) -- El director técnico de la Selección Masculina de Estados Unidos Dave Sarachan de nuevo pondra a prueba a la próxima generación de la U.S. MNT, convocando a 22 jugadores a Carolina del Norte antes del próximo partido amistoso contra Paraguay el 27 de marzo en Cary.
Con una edad promedio de 23 años, 197 días, y con 17 jugadores menores de 24 años, el potencial y los prospectos se mezclarán con la experiencia de los veteranos. Una cantidad limitada de boletos restan para USA-Paraguay, y el partido será transmitido en vivo desde Sahlen's Stadium en WakeMed Soccer Park empezando a las 7:30 p.m. ET en FS1 y UniMás. Sigue a U.S. Soccer en las cuentas oficiales de Facebook, Twitter (@ussoccer_esp) e Instagram (@ussoccer). [BOLETOS]
"Este partido vuele a representar una oportunidad para ver caras nuevas. La edad promedio de los jugadores es de menos de 24 años, así que es más o menos un grupo de jugadores jóvenes que pensamos tienen un futuro con la Selección junto con algunos nombres conocidos," dijo Sarachan. "El tiempo está perfecto para exponer a estos chicos al juego internacional, y seguramente estarán puestos a prueba contra un equipo paraguayo fuerte y experimentado."
NÓMINA POR POSICIÓN DE ESTADOS UNIDOS (Club; Partidos/Goles):
ARQUEROS (3): Alex Bono (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN; 5/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 1/0)
DEFENSAS (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Ipswich Town/ENG; 1/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 14/1), Matt Miazga (Vitesse/NED; 4/1), Shaq Moore (Levante/ESP; 0/0), Erik Palmer-Brown (Kortrijk/BEL; 0/0), Antonee Robinson (Bolton Wanderers/ENG; 0/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 15/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 49/0)
MEDIOCAMPISTAS (8): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 2/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 1/1), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United FC; 24/1), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 2/0), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 1/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 3/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 0/0)
DELANTEROS (3): Andrija Novakovich (Telstar/NED; 0/0), Rubio Rubín (Club Tijuana/MEX; 4/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 36/10)
SIGUIENDO EL CAMINO DEL DESARROLLO
El grupo esta mayormente compuesto por jugadores que están pasando por los caminos de desarrollo de U.S. soccer y clubes profesionales, empezando con experiencia en selecciones juveniles. Doce jugadores han formado parte de una nómina estadounidense en una Copa Mundial de la FIFA Juvenil, desde Tyler Adams a DeAndre Yedlin, y el ex capitán de la Copa Mundial Sub-20 Erik Palmer-Brown. Adicionalmente, 15 jugadores tienen lazos a la Academia de Desarrollo.
EMPACANDO LOS PASAPORTES
Utilizando su acceso al talento global disponible, el cuerpo técnico ha buscado y elegido a jugadores que militan en 10 países diferentes y 12 ligas diferentes en Europa y Norteamérica. Se incluyen las primeras convocatorias para jugadores en Bélgica (Erik Palmer-Brown), Inglaterra (Antonee Robinson), France (Tim Weah), Países Bajos (Andrija Novakovich), e España (Shaq Moore).
DE REGRESO A CARY
Una multitud completa se espera para el primer partido de la U.S. MNT en Cary desde el 2006, que resultó en un empate de 1-1 contra Jamaica. Los Tarheels de la Universidad de Carolina del Norte le dan la bienvenida a uno de los suyos, ya que el defensa Eric Lichaj estudió un año en Chapel Hill. El área es el hogar del equipo de la USL North Carolina FC y el North Carolina Courage de la NWSL.
NOTAS DE LA NÓMINA
- La edad promedio de la nómina es de 23 años, 84 días, mientras que 17 jugadores tienen 24 años o menos.
- Los 22 jugadores ejercen su oficio en 10 países diferentes: USA (5), Inglaterra (4), Bélgica (2), Alemania (2), Canadá (2), México (2), Países Bajos (2), Dinamarca (1), Francia (1), España (1). Un total de 15 jugadores juegan en Europa o México, mientras que siete representan clubes de la M.L.S.
- Con 49 partidos jugadores, DeAndre Yedlin es el jugador internacional con más experiencia, seguido por Bobby Wood (36) y Darlington Nagbe (24). Al jugar contra Paraguay, Yedlin se convertiría en el jugador No. 53 en la historia de la U.S. MNT en llegar a los 50 partidos.
- Un trío de jugadores en la lista ha ayudado a sus equipos de la M.L.S. avanzar a las semifinales de la Liga de Campeones Concacaf 2017-18. El mediocampista Tyler Adams anotó en la victoria de 3-1 de los New York Red Bulls contra Club Tijuana en su empate en el segundo partido de cuartos de final el 13 de marzo, mientras que el portero Alex Bono y el mediocampista Marky Delgado fueron titulares con Toronto FC en lo que también avanzaron contra los actuales campeones de la Liga MX Tigres el miércoles.
- Actualmente de préstamo con los gigantes de la liga belga Anderlecht, el volante Kenny Saief regresa a una concentración de la U.S. MNT desde debutar con la Selección el 1 de julio, 2017 vs. Ghana.
- Cinco jugadores fueron convocados por primera vez: los defensas Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown y Antonee Robinson, el mediocampista Tim Weah y el delantero Andrija Novakovich.
- Hijo del Jugador del Años de la FIFA 1995 y actual presidente de Liberia George Weah, el joven Weah de 18 años se una a su primera concentración con la U.S. MNT justo después de sus primeros dos partidos con el Paris Saint-Germain en una victoria de 2-0 en Troyes (3 de marzo) y una victoria de 5-0 vs. Metz (10 de marzo).
- El capitán de EE.UU. en la Copa Mundial Sub-20 de la FIFA 2017, Palmer-Brown recientmente firmó con Manchester City y está prestado al equipo belga Kortrijk, en donde debutó en una derrota de 2-1 contra Club Brugge el 3 de marzo.
- Al haber jugado con la Selección Masculina Sub-18 en el 2014, el defensa nacido en Inglaterra Antonee Robinson jugó en 29 partidos de competencia con el Bolton Wanderers de la segunda división inglesa esta temporada.
- El defensa del Levante Shaq Moore llega a su primera concentración con la U.S. luego de jugar en ocho partidos de competencia con el equipo español esta temporada.
- El delantero Andrija Novakovich llega a su primera concentración de forma contundente al haber anotado 18 goles en 29 partidos de liga con el equipo Telstar de la Eerste Divisie en Países Bajos, en donde ha pasado la temporada a préstamo de su club Reading de la segunda división inglesa.
- El defensa veterano Eric Lichaj regresa al "Research Triangle" de Carolina del Norte, en dónde jugó fútbol colegial con UNC en el 2006.
- El defensa Jorge Villafaña ha sido titular en los últimos nueve partidos de los líderes de la Liga MX, Santos Laguna.
- Un total de 12 jugadores han sido parte de una nómina estadounidense en una Copa Mundial Juvenil: Adams, Carter-Vickers, Delgado, Miazga, Moore, Palmer-Brown, Rubín, Steffen, Trapp, Villafaña, Weah and Yedlin.
- Quince jugadores son egresados de la Academia de Desarrollo de U.S. Soccer: Adams (New York Red Bulls), Bono (Empire United), Delgado (Chivas USA), Hamid (D.C. United), McKennie (FC Dallas), Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Moore (FC Dallas), Nagbe (Internationals SC), Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG), Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC), Rubín (Portland Timbers), Steffen (Philadelphia Union), Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Weah (New York Red Bulls/BW Gottschee), Yedlin (Crossfire Premier/Seattle Sounders FC)
On Sunday, March 18, MNT head coach Dave Sarachan named a 22-player roster for the team’s training camp leading up to USA-Paraguay on March 27 in Cary, N.C.
ussoccer.com caught up with the MNT head coach to get more insight into his roster selection.
ussoccer.com: Could you give some insight into how you put together the roster that will face Paraguay on March 27?
Dave Sarachan: “This roster once again represents an opportunity for some new faces for myself and our staff to get to know. The roster has an average age of just over 23 years old, so for the most part they’re younger players that we feel have a future with the National Team along with some familiar faces who were a part of January Camp that we felt did well and wanted to continue looking at those players. We’ve mixed that with a few who players offer some experience from the past relative to being part of the program, such as DeAndre Yedlin, Darlington Nagbe, Bobby Wood, Jorge Villafaña and Eric Lichaj – these are guys that come in with a voice of experience.”
ussoccer.com: Kenny Saief is back after making his debut last summer and returning from a lengthy injury absence. What led to his inclusion?
DS: “In the case of Kenny, when we had him last for the Gold Cup, he unfortunately had an injury and we didn’t really get to know him. He’s been on loan to Anderlecht in Belgium since January where he is seeing consistent minutes and is an integral part of their first 11. We feel he’s healthy, in good form and has a unique skillset that makes me excited to see him with us again, with the hopes he stays healthy and sees some minutes against Paraguay.
ussoccer.com: In continuing to give opportunities to younger players, you’ve elected to bring in Shaq Moore, Andrija Novakovich, Erik Palmer-Brown, Antonee Robinson and Tim Weah -- five that will experience their first MNT camp this month.
DS: “With the calendar being what it is in 2018, there’s no replacing minutes that you can get with the National Team in friendlies. The more times you can offer those opportunities to players that need those minutes, the better. Those players being a part of this roster represents a couple things. First, getting to know them, seeing them first hand in training and giving them a real taste of being part of the National Team from a day-to-day training perspective. Also, we hope there in an opportunity to get them minutes in the match that will help them further down the road.”
ussoccer.com: With Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga and Erik Palmer-Brown all coming to Cary, it seems like central defense is one area of the field you’re really focusing on giving younger players an opportunity.
DS: “It’s a huge position up the middle of the field, and watching both Matt and Cameron, each have been logging significant minutes and playing important roles for their clubs. Each made a good impression on me when we had them in our roster against Portugal last November, and I think this is just a continuation of giving these guys more minutes in a game in an important position for us. It’s a great opportunity for them.
“In Erik’s case, he’s had less time playing in a new situation playing on loan with Kortrijk in Belgium. He’s a player I don’t know as well, but someone who has a great pedigree, captaining our U-20 National Team at the World Cup last summer. I’m looking forward to getting to know him throughout the week as well, knowing that he’s a good young prospect at that position.”
ussoccer.com: Aside from his famous father, many people became familiar with Tim Weah thanks to his hat trick against Paraguay at last year’s U-17 World Cup. Could you talk about why you chose now as the time to call him up, while someone like Josh Sargent will be with the U-20 MNT at their camp in Spain?
DS: “Tim has obviously been very successful with our Youth National Teams. More recently with PSG, he’s playing for a high-profile club who has seen fit to give him first-team minutes, which is a great sign of his progression. He’s a versatile player that can fit in at a couple different positions, and when you have speed and technical ability combined as a young kid, I think he’s an interesting prospect to offer an opportunity to.”
“I’ve been in communication with Tab Ramos who is also leading a U-20 MNT camp during the same time in Spain. Since Josh isn’t able to play professional matches for Werder Bremen until next season, along with the fact that he’s still an important player for that age group, I felt because of the timing it made better sense for him to get full games with the U-20s for this particular friendly date. For our next set of games, the idea then would be that he’d have more of an opportunity to be a part of our senior team.”
ussoccer.com: There are a few less well-known names on the roster, including forward Andrija Novakovich, who is on loan from Reading FC to Telstar in the Netherlands. What type of striker is he and what has he done to earn the call-up?
DS: “The forward position is a very important one, and I’ve always felt in general – not just with our National Team, but in our country as a whole – that you can’t have enough depth there. Andrija is playing consistently and has scored 18 goals with Telstar this season. You always pay attention to players domestically and overseas who are scoring goals, regardless if it’s in the first or second division. Being 6’4”, he’s a different type of forward than some of our other players that we have in this camp and in the program. He’s an intriguing one and obviously he’s young, so for me it’s about getting him in and seeing what he’s like now when he’s put amongst the National Team players in training.”
ussoccer.com: Though he previously played for the U-18 MNT back in 2014, Antonee Robinson’s name is another some might not be familiar with. What has he shown with Bolton Wanderers this year to earn his first MNT call-up?
DS: “Antonee came to my attention not that long ago. He was born in England, but knowing that he could represent the U.S., I started watching some of his matches – right now he’s on loan to Bolton from Everton – and for the most part has been playing very consistently as a left back in a couple different systems. That is also a position over the years with our National Team where we’ve never had a great deal of depth. Antonee has a lot of quality – he’s comfortable on the ball, has good speed, decent size and is seeing regular minutes with Bolton in an environment where he’s learning all the time and there’s some pressure there. He’s an intriguing one that could add to the pool of players in a younger category for the future.”
ussoccer.com: What is the situation with Christian Pulisic at the moment?
DS: “I’ve had conversations with the Sporting Director at Dortmund and several with Christian personally about the timing of this friendly and where he is professionally at the moment with his club. He’s now feeling confident in playing an important role for Dortmund at a crucial time in their season where they’re trying to lock in qualification for the Champions League. They also have a huge match against Bayern Munich on the back end of our match against Paraguay, so when I factored all of those things together, as much as we wanted him here I felt it best suits the player to continue in the rhythm and form he’s currently in with his club.”