Under-20 World Cup

Schalke 'surprised' by Ramos criticism

Following the release of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team roster for the upcoming World Cup, many were left surprised by the absence of Weston McKennie and Nick Taitague. The two Schalke stars figured to be key members of the squad, but neither was on the roster.

On Tuesday, head coach Tab Ramos let his feelings be known, revealing that Schalke refused to let the two join their national team. Now, Schalke has issued a response of its own.

According to ESPN, Schalke media director Thomas Spiegel says the club was “surprised” by Ramos’ criticism. The U.S. U-20 boss hit out on the club on Tuesday, saying the U.S. Soccer program “didn’t get any cooperation from Schalke at all”.

“Schalke was pretty straight-forward with, ‘Our U-19s are more important than your national team, so they’re going to stay here until we’re done playing’,” Ramos said. “That’s something for our young players to look at. When they go to Europe, sometimes you sign for a club that thinks your national team is not important at the youth level, so you have to deal with that.”

According to Spiegel, the club told Ramos they would release McKennie for international duty “at the earliest possible moment” as the club is currently competing in the U-19 Bundesliga playoffs.

“The comments leave us surprised,” Spiegel told ESPN. “It would have been similar with players of all other nationalities. But U.S. Soccer said that in this case they would not call him up.”

McKennie and Taitague were both in the lineup alongside fellow American Haji Wright on Wednesday as Schalke defeated Bayern Munich’s U-19s, 3-1, in the first leg of their playoff match.

The U.S. is set to kick off the U-20 World Cup on May 22 against Ecuador before facing Senegal and Saudi Arabia to round out the group stage.

  • don Lamb

    As a fan, I’m completely fine with them staying and playing two playoff games against Bayern’s 19s in a tournament atmosphere. Hopefully the trend of us having to leave lots of players with their club during youth tournaments only grows.


  • I scored three goals in one game

    On the bright side it shows that even with a few players not getting released the the US can still send a fairly strong squad. I’m sure there are plenty other countries not able to bring all the players they wanted to as well. Shows an improvement with depth at this age group


  • johnnyrazor

    I posted this last night, but its probably buried twenty stories down.

    Is it better for US Soccer development that three Americans start for the German Junior A Champions or that US makes a run in the U20 WC. Not a WC title perhaps, but a quarterfinal or semifinal.

    I posted highlights of the Schalke match on the Thursday kickoff comments if anyone is interested.


  • Lost in Space

    As a US National Team fan I’m disappointed that we won’t have a chance to see how we’d do with all of our best players. Would be great to see all the best players and how they’d perform together in order to get a feel for what the future may hold.

    However, I can understand Schalke’s point. They are the ones who are who are paying the players salaries, and investing in their development. The club is in the midst of a tournament does bring prestige and revenue to the club. They have every right to hold onto their players so long as they are in these types of competition. Especially if the players are significant contributors as Weston McKennie, Nick Taitague, and even Wright appear to be.

    If the statement made by the PR Director is true/accurate than the comments made by Ramos were completely uncalled for, and could have a negative impact that the USNTs will have to deal with for years to come.


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