By IVES GALARCEP
Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil, Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Jose Villarreal headline the 18-player roster selected to represent the U.S. Under-20 national team in CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying.
Head coach Tab Ramos has selected a team with a good mix of MLS players, international -based players and college players. Among the other players on the list are recent Chivas Guadalajara loanee Juan Pablo Ocegueda and Sporting KC rookie Mikey Lopez.
Two more players will be added to the qualifying roster before the start of the tournament. Not all of the top players in the age group were available for selection. Centerback Walker Zimmerman is still recovering from an injury and won’t be available, while Liverpool’s Marc Pelosi was not released by his club, sources confirmed to SBI (Pelosi was added to Liverpool’s Europa League roster, which is likely a factor in the club’s decision to not release him).
Here is the full U.S. Under-20 National Team squad:
U.S. Under-20 National Team Qualifying Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3) – Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Zackary Steffen (FC DELCO Academy; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (5) - Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (C.D. Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5) - Brandon Allen (Georgetown; Old Bridge, N.J.), Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.) Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)
The CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament takes place from Feb. 18th to March 3rd in Mexico. The Americans are in a qualifying group with Costa Rica and Haiti.
What do you think of the team? Worried about the defense? See the midfield being strong enough to help the team qualify? Fearing a repeat of the last Under-20 cycle?
Share your thoughts below.