Koroma, Ocegueda among 18 on Ramos’ U.S. U-20 Milk Cup roster

Koroma (ISIphotos)

Photo by ISIphotos.com

A blend of professional, academy and collegiate talent accounts for the U.S. Under-20 men's national team Milk Cup roster, a squad aiming to capture the United States' second tournament title in three years and third since 2005.

Coach Tab Ramos will be taking 18 players to Northern Ireland, including 2011 U-17 World Cup participants Alfred Koroma, Mario Rodriguez, Kendall McIntosh and Dillon Serna, Mexican-American left back Juan Pablo Ocegueda and University of North Carolina standouts Mikey Lopez and Boyd Okwuonu.

The U-20s have games against defending champion Denmark on July 21 and Turkey on July 23 before a playoff match to determine order of finish on July 26. The other teams in the six-team field are Mexico, Chile and host Northern Ireland, meaning there is the potential for a U.S.-Mexico clash in the final match.

Here is Ramos' full 18-man roster:

U.S. U-20 MILK CUP ROSTER

GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Unattached; Athens, Ga.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Clara, Calif.)

DEFENDERS: AJ Cochran (Wisconsin; St. Louis, Mo.), Holden Fender (Concorde Fire; Marietta, Ga.), Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (UANL Tigres; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Walker Zimmerman (Furman; Lawrenceville, Ga.)

MIDFIELDERS: Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (North Carolina; Mission, Texas), Collin Martin (D.C. United Academy; Chevy Chase, Md.), Daniel Metzger (Maryland; Staten Island, N.Y.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids Academy; Brighton, Colo.), Wil Trapp (Akron; Gahanna, Ohio) 

FORWARDS: Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Alfred Koroma (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Texas), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.)

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Ramos addressed his roster and the Milk Cup challenge in a Q&A on USSoccer.com, saying the following (the full interview can be seen here):

"As a team we want to be able to develop that team chemistry which I think began in the last camp. I felt that by the end of the last camp, certainly the Chile game, I felt for the first time we looked like a team. Up until that point because of so many camps and so many players coming in and out, it was a bunch of guys just getting together and obviously they’re all good players, but there was no team chemistry at all. I felt by the third game of our South American tour we looked like a team. I think we made mistakes as a team and we went forward and did good things as a team. I think that was the beginning, I thought that was the first step for us and hopefully we can continue that going through the Milk Cup.

"I think the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the world is something that we can’t replace with domestic camps. Certainly, for us as a coaching staff and what we mention to our players, one of the things that is very important about these international games is how they perform under pressure. There are little moments in these games that I think become very important for the group because they are moments that we’ll remember as players performing at certain times under pressure. So, when we go into qualifiers we can remember certain players doing well at those difficult times."

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What do you think of the roster? Which players to you expect to break out on the international stage? Surprised by any omissions?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to Koroma, Ocegueda among 18 on Ramos’ U.S. U-20 Milk Cup roster

  1. marden08 says:

    Hope springs eternal. Good luck lads!!

  2. Mark says:

    Doesn’t look like a strong roster to me. I like a few of the players, but not a strong group overall.

  3. Eric says:

    I honestly don’t know any of the players well enough to comment. The only ones I really know are Cropper, Pineda and Rodriguez.

  4. KastroLee says:

    Isn’t Mario Rodriquez LA Galaxy U-20 team?

  5. Teez says:

    Where is Luis Gil?

  6. Juan from L.A. says:

    Weak roster…not Ramos fault but still, can’t expect miracles out of a weak player pool…Mexico will continue to dominate even with this level since their U-20 crop of players just came from winning the U-17 championship and some like Fierro are playing club level first team minutes…the only one of us playing club level first team minutes is Luis Gil

  7. Lampard in the End Zone says:

    Before we hem and haw about the weakness of the player pool, consider players seemingly not released by their clubs:

    -Marc Pelosi (18): playing with Liverpool reserves, was recently injured
    -Villyan Bijev (19): on loan from Liverpool to Duesseldorf in 2 Bundesliga
    -Esteban Rodriguez (18): On club Tijuana’s first team
    -Alejandro Guido (18): Has been used as a sub on Tijuana
    -Sebastian Lletget (19): On West Ham’s first team, may get playing time during preseason tour

    Let us not write off these players quite just yet.

  8. akrubbers says:

    FYI – Not saying this is a positive or a negative but Dillon Serna and Alfred Koroma are incoming Freshmen to U. of Akron.

  9. Benjamin C. says:

    I am not familiar with Serna, but I know Koroma is an attacking player, and I generally prefer that attacking players go pro as quickly as possible. Of course, Dempsey went to college, and he has turned out well.

    I just hope some of these guys pan out. It may be just a matter of perspective, but it seems like an inordinate amount of “hot” U.S. youth prospects never amount to the potential or hype or whatever you want to term it.

  10. USA says:

    At least we have Chevy chase.

  11. 2tone says:

    Missing the bigger players due to Pre-seasons right now i.e.:

    Lletget
    Pelosi
    Brooks
    Keisewetter
    Guido
    Dunn
    Fehr
    Bijev

    I would imagine RSL and Kreis told Ramos that Gil is needed right now. Not worried about him not on the roster.

    But this will give a chance for the first time players like Koroma, Rodriguez, Serna, and Martin to make names for themselves!

    Still I would have liked to have see Andrew Oliver on the roster! Especially since Oliver can play as a Winger, a second striker, or as a CAM.

    Good luck to the team!

  12. Zak1FCK says:

    Signed with Kaiserslautern’s U-19 team a couple days ago.

  13. fortunate only says:

    Rodriguez is training with Tijuana’s first team to fill out the numbers during pre-season, same with Lleget. Neither of them are officially part of the first teams for their respective clubs.

    With that said, there is absolutely no point in listing the players that aren’t going to be a part of the Milk Cup roster since they will likely not be released for WC Qualifying.

    Besides, every other team in CONCACAF will have the same problem and it won’t be an excuse once Qualifiers come around.

  14. luke says:

    i agree. many good players not available. however, lletget is a ’92 so is too old. you also left out omar salgado and sean cunningham