US U-20 roster released for Toulon Tournament in France
By Kim Tate
Tab Ramos has named his 22-player roster for the Toulon Tournament, which will take place from May 28 - June 8 in France. Ramos will utilize the 10-Team, under-21 event as final prep or the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
This roster features 13 players who took part in the USA's second place finish at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in early March in Puebla, Mexico.
Says Ramos on the opportunity: "Obviously we're excited for the tournament and to have this last chance to evaluate our team heading into the U-20 World Cup. We'll have a couple players who have not been with us before and some others who we want to look at a little more as we finalize our 21-player roster. All of the players are being considered for Turkey."
The U.S. U-20 MNT roster includes defender Caleb Stanko and midfielder Benji Joya who split captain duties during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship - Stanko for the first three games, including the World Cup qualifying 4-2 victory against Canada on Feb. 26; and Joya for the semifinal and championship when Stanko returned to SC Freiburg.
The U-20 roster features 18 players with ties to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy - 15 former players and three current registered Academy players in forward Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy), midfielder Kellyn Acosta and defender Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy). Acosta signed a homegrown contract with FC Dallas in July of 2012 and Sorto signed a homegrown contract with the Galaxy in December of 2012.
Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (7): Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (C.D. Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Jeffrey Payeras (C.S.D. Municipal; Hawthorne, Calif.), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Marlon Hairston (Louisville; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), Collin Martin (Wake Forest; Chevy Chase, Md.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (6): Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), Alfred Koroma (Akron; Southlake, Texas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy; Mercer Island, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.)
2013 will mark the 41st year of the Toulon Tournament, and will feature 10 countries placed in two five-team groups. The U.S. is in Group A with Colombia, Congo DR, South Korea and host France. Group B includes Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and Portugal.
Team USA will open the tournament against France on Tuesday, May 28, at Stade Léo-Lagrange in Toulon. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. local (1:30 p.m. ET). The group stage features four games, after which the group winners face each other in the championship match and the group runners-up meet in the third-place game. Both matches take place on Saturday, June 8.
Following the Toulon Tournament, the USA kicks off the group stage of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup against Spain on June 21 at Türk Telekom Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The USA's U-20 World Cup games will be broadcast on ESPN Networks. Per a U.S. Soccer press release, fans can also follow the action on ussoccer.com's Match Tracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
The U-20s are 4-2-1 overall in international play this year and posted a 4-1-0 record in the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Before the U-20 World Cup qualifying, the U.S. played Panama twice to start the year, opening with a 2-2 draw on Jan. 19 and a 2-1 loss on Jan. 21.
Kellyn Acosta and Danny Garcia played on the FC Dallas U-17/18 Academy squad that won the 2011-12 Academy Finals Week title game against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Both players started and Garcia had a goal and assisted the game-winner.
Defender Javan Torre was a member of the 2010-11 Academy Finals Week champion Pateadores U-17/18 squad and defender Caleb Stanko played for the 2009-10 Academy champion Vardar U-17/18 side.
Defender Shane O'Neill, who is playing for Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, is scheduled to join the U.S. U-20 MNT after the club's June 1 league game against FC Dallas.
Midfielder Wil Trapp of MLS side Columbus Crew was named to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship All-Tournament Team this year.
Seven players on the roster are signed by MLS clubs: Acosta (FC Dallas), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City), O'Neill (Colorado Rapids), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy) and Trapp (Columbus Crew).
The 17-year-old Acosta is the youngest player on the U-20 MNT roster and is the only player among the group who was born in 1995.
Forwards Daniel Cuevas and Benji Joya are teammates at Santos Laguna.