Toulon Tournament to serve as final tune-up for U.S. with Under-20 World Cup approaching

TabRamosUSU20-2 (Mexsport)

By DAN KARELL

The FIFA Under-20 World Cup begins on June 21, but United States U-20 coach Tab Ramos and his staff are already hard at work finding the 23 players they believe will bring home the title.

Ramos and the U-20′s recently wrapped up a training camp on April 28, culminating with a 6-2 friendly match victory over Cal FC, but now the side turns their focus to the Toulon Tournament in France, which runs from May 28-June 8. It’s the first time since 2008 that the U.S. has taken part in the tournament, and they’ll play against France on the opening day of the competition.

“We’ll be playing against many competitive teams, most of which are going to the U-20 World Cup afterward, so it’s a great opportunity to get some games under our belt, particularly for those who have not been playing as much,” Ramos said to USSoccer.com “We will be giving all of the players a lot of time on the field against international competition.”

At the April training camp, the coaching staff was able to call in some players who had spent time recently on the injury table as well as guys who had been on the fringes of the player pool.

“This was our first chance to have players like Victor Pineda and Alfred Koroma here after they had been injured for a period of time to see how far they’ve come along, which was great,” Ramos said. “We discovered players like Jordan Morris and Marlon Hairston, who were new to the camp.”

One of the differences between this cycle’s group of players and past cycles is the amount of players who are currently playing professional soccer either in Major League Soccer or abroad. Players like Jose Villarreal, Luis Gil, DeAndre Yedlin, and Shane O’Neill are all getting minutes for their MLS clubs, while Caleb Stanko, Jerome Kiesewetter, and Mario Rodriguez are all getting reserve team minutes with their clubs in Germany.

No question, we are more confident now as the players are getting more opportunities with their club teams and are growing overall,” Ramos stated. “The key challenge for us is to keep reminding them that they are just at the beginning of their careers. They need to continue to push themselves.”

A 22-player squad will be chosen for the Toulon Tournament in the next few days.

What do you make of these quotes? Who would you like to see in the squad for the Toulon Tournament? Do you see Ramos calling in a full squad to France or saving some guys for the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

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21 Responses to Toulon Tournament to serve as final tune-up for U.S. with Under-20 World Cup approaching

  1. Dan M says:

    Rooting for a quick surrender from the French!

  2. 2tone says:

    Should be a good tournament. Looking forward to the U-20′s showing well.

  3. Rory says:

    I’m glad guys like O’Neil and Yeildling are getting minutes for their teams. As a Rapids fan I hope O’Neil becomes a stud, even if he’s had some shaky moment early on.

  4. orions belt says:

    Jack MacInerney to the rescue

    • Eric says:

      He’s too old to play for the U20 team if I’m not mistaken. He barely missed the cut-off I believe.

  5. Erik says:

    Did anybody ask Ramos about John Anthony Brooks, or is the USSF thinking he’s a lost cause at this juncture?

    • louis z says:

      good question, wasn’t he suppose to decide a couple of weeks ago for whom he was going to play this summer?

  6. Beto says:

    Odd that they are playing France before facing them in the group stage of the wc.

    Looks like they also play columbia, congo and south korea. Should be a good summer for them

  7. Lost in Space says:

    Players I’d like to see involved in this tournament would be….
    GK – Cropper, McIntosh
    Defense – Brooks, Ocegueda, O’Neill, Yedlin, Zimmerman, Okwuonu
    Midfield: Gil, Joya, Stanko, Lopez, Trapp, Pineda, Villarreal
    Forwards: Guevas, Rodriguez, Kiesewetter, Top
    I think this would be a good chance to see how these players interact with one-another prior to the WC. While leaving a couple wild card slots open for others. Performers stay on for the WC, those who aren’t at the level or can’t seem to play with the others (attitude issues) are replaced.

    • divers suck says:

      I agree Lost, I believe it’s more important to get as many players together in Toulon as possible to build up some sort of chemistry if possible. “Saving some guys for the World Cup” is unnecessary for U-20′s. They can easily run all day long, every day if necessary.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      I don’t see the MLS guys getting released from their clubs for this one. It will be a good chance for a few guys on the fringe to make a late push for the last few roster spots though

  8. Zak1FCK says:

    Rodriguez has 2 league games and the cup final for Kaiserslautern during the Toulon tournament. I doubt he is with the team.

  9. PD says:

    This would be a dream soccer trip for anyone with time and $ on their hands. This squad is well worth watching and I bet tickets would be a steal. Plus, Toulon is not far from Marseille, Nice and St. Tropez. As if that weren’t enough you’re about 2 hours from Italy (Genoa, Milan, Como) and about 3 hours from Barcelona in Spain. The weather there this time of year will be quite nice and most folks speak English. It’s a part of Europe most US travelers don’t get to, but a few days here will completely change your opinion of what France (and Europe) is like.

    If you can go, go!

    • divers suck says:

      Toulon itself is not so bad either, situated right on the Mediterranean in the south of France!

      • PD says:

        +1. the proximity of the naval base makes it a little more industrial, but totally agree it’s a nice town, too!

  10. Socom 2 says:

    Call them UP !

    *Bryan Salazar – Houston dynamo academy
    *Duane Holmes
    *Joaquin Alonso Hernandez

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Salazar I think is only an academician because we agreed to let him finish HS before he reported to the first team.

  11. Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

    Where to watch? FSC?