U.S. Under-20s begin Toulon Tournament against France

USAU20 vs Canada

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Head coach Tab Ramos and the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team begin the Toulon Tournament on Tuesday afternoon with a match against France (1:30pm, BeIN Sport).

The annual summer tournament is being used as a final test for the coaching staff to finalize their squad ahead of the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey that starts on June 21. Major League Soccer players who get regular minutes for their clubs haven’t been included in the Toulon squad, meaning that there will be a number of players all fighting for the last few spots open on the 21-man roster for the World Cup.

“We want to give all the players an opportunity to play,” Ramos told USSoccer.com. “At no time are we going to have what we think the best starting eleven would be at any particular game. We’re going to be rotating guys. We’re going to be giving players opportunities to play, some of them in different positions they’re not accustomed to.”

Ramos made clear that versatility is important, and players that can play multiple positions will have a better shot at making the final squad in Turkey.

One of the things that’s really important about this tournament for us is when we select our final roster, we have to select the top 13 or 14 players that we have,” Ramos said. “And then there’s a group of about five or six players that we have to select according to how many positions they can play.

“Obviously we’re not going to have two players per position at the World Cup, so we’re going to need guys who are going to be pretty versatile in terms of being able to change and play different positions.”

Though there are players absent, there are still a number of regulars that will feature plenty in the two-week tournament in southern France, including Caleb Stanko, Benji Joya, Shane O’Neill, and Dillon Serna. At the same time, there are also a few new faces in the camp, including Alonso Hernandez of Monterrey and former Galaxy academy product Jeffrey Payeras, currently at Municipal of Guatemala.

“Guys are buying into what we do, and at the same time they’re confident with their abilities,” Ramos said. “We have given them all that confidence for the past year and a half, but I think for them it’s difficult to trust themselves until they get results. But I think now we have players with a lot of confidence and I think that’s very important for us.”

Following the match against France, the U.S. plays Colombia on Thursday, DR Congo on Saturday, and South Korea on June 5 to round out the matches in Group A.

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65 Responses to U.S. Under-20s begin Toulon Tournament against France

  1. Alex says:

    good opportunity for these players to impress European scouts as well.

  2. Mike R says:

    Good opportunity for the US U-20′s to get our hope up before letting us down and crashing out of their next real tournament

    • Dinho says:

      good morning to you too, debbie downer.

      • Mike R says:

        Your right…..after watching the France game we don’t have to worry about this team getting our hopes up. First world country Third world soccer development …I take that back most third world country’s have

        The only question is which former coach/US player/MLS player from the Arena tree will fail and with which US team

    • 2tone says:

      Would you like some cheese with that whine?

      No need to get all suicidal here.

    • TomG says:

      These are U-20s, Mike. It’s not really about winning tournaments as much as it is developing players.

      • Darwin says:

        Typical US soccer fan perspective. No other sport fan would accept such a defeatist attitude for their team.

    • Chris says:

      This is a very talented team, give them a chance, good test starting off today against france

    • Darwin says:

      This US team definitely does not get my hopes up.

      • 2tone says:

        A. This is not the the full US team playing right now. B. France is playing U-21 players.

        • Darwin says:

          and…?

          I said THIS US team, so I’m talking about this team playing France’s U-21.

          and their performance was unimpressive. Maybe a 20 year old and a 19 year old are light years apart in your view, but that doesn’t stop any great player from breaking into their club’s starting 11 at a young age.

  3. Reboot says:

    I hear that Mikey Lopez of SKC has yet to report to Toulon and will likely feature in the USOC match tonight v Des Moines Menace.

  4. Mike E. says:

    If I was US Soccer I am contacting FIFA to verify the birth certificates of half the African players on France. They are far too physically mature to be legitimately 16.

  5. Jon says:

    France with all of the posession so far.

    Would like to see what Alonso Hernandez can do, but he’s playing that very lonely striker role and has been swarmed on the rare occasion he’s touched the ball.

  6. John Lowe says:

    Thanks for the update. I am at work and therefore cannot watch the game, any update are much appreciated.

  7. Jon says:

    US better late in the half, but France’s captain just scored an absurd backheel off a set piece. 1-0 France.

  8. Chupacabra says:

    Blunder by US keeper. 2-0 France

    • Darwin says:

      Unfortunate for him. Everyone else is allowed to make mistakes. I hope Ramos starts Kendall McIntosh next game, we haven’t seen much of him.

  9. Alex says:

    france has an older squad

  10. 2tone says:

    Ramos’s game plan was not very good. Cuevas being used basically as an auxiliary LB instead of a FWD. Way to timid from Ramos and the US in the first half.

    2-0 the game is over because the US has nothing going forward.

    Changes: Morris for Cuevas.

    • Darwin says:

      No possession, and hacking at every ball desperately but France doesn’t cough up the ball.

  11. Alex says:

    @BrianSciaretta: Toulon is not a U20 tournament so the US team will be going against older players. Great test to prepare for the World Cup

    • fortunate only says:

      Not necessarily.

      France almost always uses an U21 squad.

      At least half of the teams in the tournament brought U20 squads, especially those competing in the U20 WC.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Brazil and Mexico showed up with teams our age or younger but we are relatively young if you compare the roster lists.

        Teams seem to be treating this as a U21 type age group tournament — although certain qualified teams are showing up with U20s — but I’d swear we showed up with the U23s in 2008 and some teams were even older than that. Toulon is just generally weird, they play 40 minute halves like we did in HS (at the same time we were playing 45 in club). Is there any set age group or does it just vary depending on what the imminent youth tournaments are each year?

    • Darwin says:

      I don’t see this team winning a world cup, but we aren’t even trying right? We should just be happy that they are having fun and developing.

  12. Nick4235 says:

    Anyone get a first row sports link to work?

    • Darwin says:

      Try PSN, and don’t mind the ads…it is likely that France will still have possession.

      • Edwin in LA says:

        PSN? Should I just google them? I think I’ve gotten a stream off of ‘Roja Directa’ that was showing a PSN header on the top of the page streaming

  13. The Imperative Voice says:

    It would be nice if it would actually beIN my cable sports package…..

    • Andy in Atlanta says:

      get DirecTV and stop whining… it is not much more than cable (if at all) and $10 per montn on the sport package is worth it for every real soccer fan… $10 a month… skip a meal..

  14. 2tone says:

    At least there is three more games for the US to get some positive results. This tournament is about evaluating and creating the U-20 roster.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Last time we played in this tournament we got our tails soundly kicked and I expect it again. This is being used by us kind of like Camp Cupcake or Gold Cup to evaluate borderline U20 talent, while other teams are showing up with their serious sides. Sink or swim IMO.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        We’re a younger team playing up a year in this tournament, also. Many teams are U21s.

        • 2tone says:

          Mexico, Colombia, South Korea, Brazil, Portugal, Cong DR, Nigeria all brought U-20 teams. France is about the only Country that brought U-21 players.

          Yes we brought fringe U-20 players, and I really don’t have any problems with that.

  15. Darwin says:

    I swear, Cropper is spilling everything! His best skill is putting magic on the ball with his “AWAY!” spell.

  16. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Age this, size that, terrible weather conditions… blah blah blah… The fact is US Soccer is not headed in a positive direction… that was some atrocious football played in the first half.. Surely we have better players who understand positional tactics to go along with skill and some level of athleticism…

    JK… you better get your house in order because your youth level experiments are failing.. at least Porter’s squad showed some attacking flair when they missed out on the Olympics… these kids look no better than my club team from the mid to late 90s…

    • Francois says:

      Shut up, you’re just using a ton of hypebole to beat a dead horse. This is our B team, playing against a older, tournament host that has there full side. Take it easy,

      • Andy in Atlanta says:

        B team or not… if that is what we have as reserves… we are poor… 18 and 19 year old players can compete against 21 year olds with no issues… it is the same in the college game here in the US… if you watched them play.. did you see anything remotely encouraging looking?

        • Francois says:

          And they are competing, what game are you watching? The difference is a ridiculous backheel flick, and a goalkeeping blunder.

          • fortunate only says:

            The difference was quite obvious.

            If you choose to ignore it that’s fine but don’t pretend like people are crazy for noticing how dominant France was for the majority of the game.

            • Darwin says:

              I’m not sure why so many SBI/US fans are so spineless as to make excuses for their team, wear their blinders, and not expect the W.

          • bryan says:

            seriously dude? the entire first half was french dominance. they did lack the finishing touch until the great goal, but they were running us around. second half was better, no doubt, but we still weren’t the better team then.

      • fortunate only says:

        Wait, B team?

        Seriously?

    • 2tone says:

      Hyperbole at it’s finest. The U-20 team is talented. Ramos is evaluating a lot of fringe U-20 players for this tournament.

      This French team isn’t even the U-20 France team the US will see in the U-20 WC. This is mainly a U-21 French team. 13 players are 21 years of age on this current French team.

      • Darwin says:

        I saw most of the “fringe players” on the bench. Most of the starting 11 had games in the WCQ’s.

        • 2tone says:

          Koroma, Hernandez, Martin, Payeras. 4 players that started that had zero WCQ experience, and Miller at RB who started 1 game in WCQ. So that’s 5 starters that played France today that really had zero WCQ experience.

          • Andy in Atlanta says:

            Looked to me like the all the players out there for the Us regarded Karoma is its best players since all the did was continually tried to get the ball at his feet… he was not so special against players of his own size and strength…

  17. fifawitz1313 says:

    We look like idiots out there.

    • Darwin says:

      Naw, it’s all good. Their players were way older than ours. Like 1 or 2 years older, so at least they’re out there having fun.

  18. Jon says:

    2-1 now with 10 minutes left. Joya’s free kick goes through the wall and in the net.

  19. Francois says:

    these commentators on the English Bein feed are really, really bad. They have no knowledge of the game, i’m convinced.

  20. Jon says:

    3-1 France. Smashed in a volley off a short corner.

  21. bryan says:

    well, it was a good lesson for them. they got thoroughly out played. france looked so good. incredibly quick players.

  22. bryan says:

    lol 4-1

  23. 2tone says:

    I don’t think people realize that this France team is a U-21 team, and is not the French team the US U-20′s will face in the U-20 WC.

    But I will say this the US needs to stop with the long ball.

    • bryan says:

      i think most people do. that’s why i’m not really too upset about getting dominated. most of their players are professionals.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      no they will face Spain from what I remember who is even MORE Stacked with talent SMH

      • 2tone says:

        I think most people realize that the top European teams are more stacked than the US is at most age levels. That’s nothing new.

  24. 2tone says:

    Bright spots: Trapp, Koroma, Ocegueda, and Morris.

    Wasn’t really impressed with: Alonso Hernandez or Cuevas. Both seemed a step off, and really not on the same page with the rest of the team.

    The long balls were way to much.

    I would like to see Koroma on the left and Morris on the right to start against Colombia. Need some physical presences out there.

    • Darwin says:

      At this point, I’m not sure what your opinion is worth.

      …but expert analysis young man. They should pay you.