U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has called in 25 players to take part in a 12-day international training camp from March 17-28 in Spain, highlighted by two games against France in Alicante on March 21 and 23. After seven days in Alicante, the team will travel to Madrid, where it will face off against Atletico Madrid’s U-21 squad.
“As we look towards qualifying possibly being earlier than ever before we want to give as many opportunities as possible in this particular camp,” Ramos said. “We are including many younger players with great potential who understand the demands of the international game and how high the expectation is here. Our objective will once again be to set the bar as high as possible at this level.”
The U-20 age group, consisting of players born on or after Jan. 1, 1999, is taking part in its second National Team camp of the 2018-19 cycle after the player pool took part in the first ever Men’s Youth National Team Summit at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of a two-year cycle, the U-20 MNT is focused building a squad capable of qualifying for the 2019 U-20 World Cup.
Of the 25 players brought into camp, 20 have registered at least one season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Defenders Jake Morris, Matthew Real, Sam Rogers and Aedan Stanley, and midfielders Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin collectively lead the roster in that regard, each having played five seasons. Five from the roster are MLS Homegrown players in Carleton, Goslin, Mark McKenzie, Paxton Pomykal and Matthew Real, while seven garnered Best XI conference selections while playing in the Academy:
Richie Ledezma (2017, West, U-15/16)
Mark McKenzie (2017, East, U-17/18)
Jake Morris (2016, East, U-15/16)
Paxton Pomykal (2016, Central, U-15/16)
Justin Rennicks (2016, East, U-15/16)
Sam Rogers (2017, West, U-17/18)
Aedan Stanley (2015, 2016, 2017; Central; U-15/16, U-15/16, U-17/18)
Carleton and Zyen Jones helped lead Atlanta United FC’s U-15/16 squad to its first Development Academy national title in 2017, while Pomykal is the other Academy champion on the roster, winning the U-17/18 Development Academy final with FC Dallas in 2016.
Of the four major youth tournaments at the U-17 and U-20 levels in 2017, seven players participated in either a CONCACAF Championship or FIFA World Cup. Carleton, Goslin and CJ Dos Santos played in both U-17 tournaments, Jones was called into the qualifying team, while Sergiño Dest made the trip to India for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
2017 Male Player of the year Josh Sargent is the only player on the roster to have participated in both U-17 tournaments as well as the U-20 World Cup, where he played with goalkeeper Brady Scott. Sargent makes his return to the U-20 MNT after recently receiving his first Senior Men’s National Team call-up in November 2017. The call-up to Portugal made Sargent the first U.S. player to appear in a U-17, U-20, and full MNT camp during the same calendar year.
As the youngest player on the roster, born in 2001, LA Galaxy product Ulysses Llanez is also age-eligible for the 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The forward did not make the final roster for last year’s U-17 World Cup in India but traveled as an alternate with the team leading up to the tournament.
Ten players joining the camp currently play for international clubs: goalkeepers Dos Santos (S.L. Benfica), Phillip Ejimadu (Nacional Atlético Clube) and Scott (FC Köln), defenders Dest (AFC Ajax) and Angel Uribe (Club Tijuana), midfielders Andres Jimenez (Envigado FC) and Juan Pablo Torres (K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen) and forwards Jones (FC Schalke 04), Nebiyou Perry (FC Köln) and Sargent (SV Werder Bremen).
Four players are making their debuts with the U-20 MNT for the 2018-19 cycle: Frankie Amaya (Pateadores), Dest, Dos Santos, Ejimadu, Jimenez, Jones, Ledezma (Real Salt Lake), Llanez, Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy), Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Rogers (Seattle Sounders FC) and Sargent.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): CJ Dos Santos (S.L. Benfica; Philadelphia, Pa.), Phillip Ejimadu (Nacional Atlético Clube; Minneapolis, Minn.), Brady Scott (FC Köln; Petaluma, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): Sergino Dest (AFC Ajax; Almere-Stad, Netherlands), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.), Jake Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Manny Perez (N.C. State University; Garner, N.C.), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union; Drexel Hill, Pa.), Sam Rogers (Seattle Sounds FC; Seattle, Wash.), Aedan Stanley (St. Louis FC; Columbia, Ill.), Angel Uribe (Club Tijuana; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Frankie Amaya (Pateadores; Santa Ana, Calif.), Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC; Atlanta, Ga.), Andres Jimenez (Envigado FC; Miami, Fla.), Richie Ledezma (Real Salt Lake; Casa Grande, Ariz.), Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Texas), Juan Pablo Torres (K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen; Lilbirn, Ga.)
FORWARDS (6): Shaft Brewer (Unattached; Sacramento, Calif.), Zyen Jones (FC Schalke 04; Clarkston, Ga.), Ulysses Llanez Jr. (LA Galaxy; Lynwood, Calif.), Nebiyou Perry (FC Köln; New York, N.Y.), Justin Rennicks (Indiana University; Hamilton, Mass.), Josh Sargent (SV Werder Bremen; O’Fallon, Mo.)