012114_gallromain_twitter_ub5tiq Romain Gall/Twitter
Sciaretta's Scouting Report

Meet Romain Gall, a Dual-National Teen on the Rise

A Paris native who spent a portion of his youth in Virginia, 18-year-old Gall is a central figure in Tab Ramos' U-20 team and in FC Lorient's youth system. ASN's Brian Sciaretta spoke to the midfielder.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
January 22, 2014
10:30 AM
THE UNITED STATES UNDER-20 team has roughly 13 months to go until World Cup qualifying, and 2014 will be an important time for players hoping to impress head coach Tab Ramos.

As the new cycle gets underway, Ramos has high expectations for certain players, and FC Lorient midfielder Romain Gall is certainly on that list.

Gall, 18, is a versatile attacker who can play on either wing or in an advanced central midfield role. He started with the United States at the U-18 level and shined in last May’s Annual International Juniors Tournament in Lisbon, where he logged three goals and notched an assist in a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic and a 1-1 draw against Portugal.

In last November's U.S. U-20 camp, the Americans defeated Atalanta Primavera 4-1, with Gall picking up a goal and an assist in the win.

“My first camp with the U.S. U-20s in November went pretty well,” Gall told American Soccer Now. “For me I feel like I adapted well to the group and was able to have good performances. As for the team I really feel like we have a very strong group and overall this was a good experience for the team.”

Gall will turn 19 at the end of this month and is entering into a formative period of his career. He joined FC Lorient in 2011 and believes he is progressing well. Last year Gall received a scholarship offer to play at the University of Maryland but elected to continue his career with Lorient because he considers it a higher level and a better place to develop. So far this season he is playing for the club’s U-19 and U-21 reserve teams.

Gall credits Ramos for helping him develop his game within the U.S. youth system, and the teenager is optimistic he will make steady improvement as he moves up to a higher level of play.

“The U-20s is different than the U-18s because of the speed of play,” Gall explained. “It is faster with the U-20s and the decision making on the field is critical. Working under Tab Ramos I was able to learn his philosophy and try to bring it to the pitch. I enjoy playing for him and I know I can learn a lot from him to improve my football.”

Over the weekend the U-20 team wrapped up its first camp of 2014 in Florida, and Ramos is expected to hold five more camps this year. Gall was invited by Ramos for the large 36-player camp but was forced to decline because of Lorient’s preparations for a cup match.

Ramos acknowledges that Gall is an important player for the U-20s and is quick to praise him. He does, however, remain cautious as to how often he will be able to have Gall with the team due to his development in Europe and his club commitment at Lorient.

“Romaine is a special player,” Ramos said. “He’s a player I like and a player we like as a staff. I think he can be an important piece of our team. Unfortunately he couldn’t make this camp—just like Kellyn Acosta, Russell Canouse, Junior Flores, Paul Arriola, and Emerson Hyndman. These are all guys I think that can be important for us but we’ll have to wait and see how much all these players will be available.”

In recent years U.S. Soccer has seen an influx of dual-national players at both the full national team as well as at the youth national team levels. Gall was born in Paris, France but moved to the United States when his father received a job offer in Herndon, Virginia. At the age of 15 Gall became an American citizen and received his first U.S. passport.

For much of his childhood Gall followed and supported the French national soccer team but over time he began to respect and admire the U.S. squad. It was an honor when he first began to play for the United States and now he is focused on leading the team to the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

“I love and support both countries and have respect for both teams,” Gall said. “My friends and family are all happy for me playing for the United States. Of course I am thinking about the U-20 World Cup. This is a huge tournament and I dream of playing in it and I hope that I will get my chance to be a part of this competition.”

Brian Sciaretta is an American Soccer Now columnist and an ASN 100 panelist. Follow him on Twitter.

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