USMNT U-20 World Cup Roster Announced


In just three weeks the United States under-20 Men’s National Team will have the chance to prove they belong. The journey to the World Cup is a long and arduous one, with many players and coaches contributing to the same goal. On Thursday, US Soccer revealed the 20 man roster that will go to New Zealand and play in the 2015 U-20 World Cup.

Much like the entire run through qualification, the USMNT U-20 roster features a mix of European (11,) Major League Soccer  (9,) and college/unattached players (2). USMNT coach Tab Ramos will be bringing a roster of players who feature prominently for their club teams  (like forward Rubio Rubin and midfielder Kellyn Acosta) and players almost ready to break out for their senior club teams  (defender Cameron-Carter Vickers and forward Tommy Thompson).

Perhaps their greatest strength heading into New Zealand will be their defense. With Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga , Erick Palmer- Brown, and Shaquell Moore Ramos’ side will have a distinct advantage in terms of size and strength. Although Carter-Vicker is a bit green (he is just 17 years old) he has proven himself for both the USMNT and the Tottenham Youth Academy to be someone who can make a professional challenge and watch the right flank.

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Carter-Vickers may have the raw skills but Palmer-Brown and Miazga will be asked to keep goalkeeper Zach Steffen’s box clean. But Palmer-Brown and Miazga are both excellent at 50-50 challenges in the air and possess the understanding to slow down the pace of the match when necessary.

In the midfielder all eyes will be on Emerson Hyndman. Hyndman came out of nowhere late in 2014 after having breaking into Fulham’s starting eleven. Beyond a few appearances though he has largely been stuck on the bench for a team that is staring down relegation in the English League Championship. Hyndman is at his best when he can control the tempo of the match with little passes into pockets of space. His lock and key approach should help against an opponent like the Ukraine.

Up front the big question will be if Ramos chooses to go with a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. During qualification, the USMNT found their greatest success with Thompson and Bradford Jamieson IV together. But Rubin is arguably their most versatile player. Maki Tall has also come on strong in recent friendlies.

Of course there is still one spot open in this team which according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Qahl,  rumored to be for Gedion Zelalem. Zelalem, an Arsenal Youth Academy Product, is currently finishing his paperwork to file his one-time switch to play for the USMNT. If Zelalem is not picked, it is expected that Philadelphia Union’s Zach Pfeffer will be selected.

The United States will face Myanmar, New Zealand, and Ukraine during group play in this year’s U-20 World Cup.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jeff Caldwell (University of Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downingtown, Pa.)

DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England),Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Joel Soñora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina)

FORWARDS (5): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake; Rochester, N.Y.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.)

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