With World Cup qualification on the line, United States U-20 coach Tab Ramos selected the 20 players who will travel to Jamaica and try to secure passage to the tournament in New Zealand.
John Godfrey and Brian Sciaretta
LAST MONTH TAB RAMOS NAMED 35
January 05, 2015
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players to his provisional roster for the upcoming CONCACAF U-20 Championship—and that was the easy part. Today he had to cut that roster
down to 20 players, and that task proved to be quite a challenge.
"Selecting the final 20 players was extremely difficult," said Ramos. "This is a group that has a lot of depth. It's a group that has gotten good results throughout the last 12 to 14 months, regardless of the players we've had in. A lot of players have made a good case for being on the team, but in the end, unfortunately, you can only take so many (players). I am very happy with the group we've selected.
"Overall, this is a group made up mostly with professional players, and that's a strength. These are players who are completely dedicated to the sport; players who 100 percent of the time prepare to do well, to get better, and be on the national team."
Here's the roster for the tournament, which will run from January 9-24 in Jamaica and determine whether the U.S. qualifies for this summer's U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. All five matches will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2.
Ethan Horvath (Molde FK), Zack Steffen (SC Freiburg)
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Conor Donovan (N.C. State), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Shaquell Moore (Unattached), John Requejo (Club Tijuana), Tyler Turner (Orlando City)
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Fernando Arce (Club Tijuana), Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Junior Flores (Borussia Dortmund), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham)
Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Ben Spencer (Molde FK), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)
Hyndman's inclusion on the team is an encouraging bit of news, as it suggests his club, English Championship side Fulham, will release him for at least part of the tournament. Utrecht's Rubio Rubin, on the other hand, did not make the roster.
Notable omissions include Zach Pfeffer, Andrija Novakovich, and Erik Palmer-Brown, who is recovering from an injury.
The tournament is also useful for the purposes of bringing dual nationals into the U.S. program. Should any dual-national player see action in the tournament, they could only leave U.S. Soccer if they file a one-time switch with FIFA.
Dual nationals affected by this include Matt Miazga (Poland), Romain Gall (France), Lynden Gooch (England and Ireland), Emerson Hyndman (Portugal), Paul Arriola (Mexico), Amando Moreno (Mexico and El Salvador), and Fernando Arce Jr. who is the son of Mexican international Fernando Arce Sr.
Junior Flores and Shaquell Moore are dual nationals but were already semi-tied to the U.S. program at the U-17 level.
The U.S. team was drawn into Group A for the tournament and will face Guatemala on Jan. 9, followed by Panama (Jan. 11), Aruba (Jan. 14), Jamaica (Jan. 18) and Trinidad & Tobago (Jan. 21). If it wins Group A, it will qualify automatically for this summer’s World Cup in New Zealand. If it finishes in second or third place, it will be forced into a one-game playoff with a corresponding team from Group B. If it finishes lower than third, it will be eliminated.
What do you think of the squad? Surprised by any of the names you see—or don't see—here? Think the U.S. will qualify? Share your take below and look for more coverage of this team in the days ahead.