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U.S. Under-20 national team heading to Spain


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The 2009 Under-20 World Cup is still almost a year away but it isn’t too early to start thinking about the U.S. Under-20 team that will look to improve on the 2007 tournament performance that saw Michael Bradley, Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore lead the Americans to the quarterfinals.

U.S. Under-20 national team coach Thomas Rongen selected an 18-player roster for a training camp in Madrid in November. The list is chock full of many of the best prospects in the U.S. pipeline.

Here is the group:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Earl Edwards (San Diego, Calif.), Josh Lambo (FC Dallas)

DEFENDERS (5): Gale Agbossoumonde (Syracuse, N.Y.), Anthony Arena (Kenmore, Wash.), Kyle Davies (Southampton FC), Zarek Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA), Gregory Garza (Sporting Lisbon), Josh Hernandez (Dallas, Texas), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Giuseppe Nazzani (Reggio Emilia, Italy)

FORWARDS (4): Vincenzo Bernardo (SSC Napoli), Tristan Bowen (Los Angeles Galaxy), Abdusalam Ibrahim (Toronto FC), Jose Torres (Loros de Colima)

The group includes several intriguing prospects, including Bernardo, who is flourishing in Napoli’s youth system, and Arguez, who has been in uniform for some matches for Hertha Berlin this year. There are some less familiar names that will become very familiar in the coming years, such as Gregory Garza, Jared Jeffrey and Alfredo Morales.

The 18-player group will convene in Madrid from Nov. 15-23 and will play against area clubs. A schedule of matches is still being finalized.

What do you think of the group? Share your thoughts on the roster in the comments section below.


  1. That’s a ton of players everyone is talking about. Very encouraging.

    What the concern might be at this point is that you can only give so many the time on the pitch that they will be seeking so you might lose some of them (dual citizenship guys) because, like most athletes, they all have egos and want to play NOW.

    We will see what happens BUT it is still leaps and bounds better than even five years ago.

    If the US can’t put 11 players on the pitch in WC 2014 that can hold their own on the world stage then those overeseeing the progression of talent should be held accountable.

  2. With Nazzani maybe we have established a Giuseppe exchange program with the Italian Football Federation.

    “Let me make you an offer you can’t refuse. Yous guys give us the Giuseppe from Jersey and we gives yous guys this here Giuseppe from Reggio Emilia. Trust me I know his ma, he’s a good kid”

  3. Is Jose Torres at Palermos Loros de Colima basically a college kid in a Mexican college that has a soccer team playing in the Mexican 2nd division?

    Is he the Mexican college equivalent of our US college players?

  4. Interesting that Bologna has Nazzani listed as a defender and USSoccer as a midfielder. Defensive midfielder perhaps? An outside back? Anyone know?

  5. Jose Torres is also a guy who Rongen pulled from out of the blue. Absolutely no info out there on him, other than what’s on that USsoccer release. And, NO, this isn’t the same Jose Torres who just got capped by Bradley. This one is two years younger and apparently at least 6 inches taller.

  6. All the way at the bottom of his bio (was previously a news item):

    “He recently signed a professional contract that extends his stay with Napoli till 2011. VB is currently on Napoli’s reserve team…”

  7. It seems he is not taking any college players because they are still in season correct? From what I see/hear Perk, Kassel, Williams are having great seasons in college and will likely get another call once season is over.

  8. Rongen is a hell of a coach. Whoever can’t see that haven’t seen his teams play.

    If not for the Subotic issue, fans would be clamoring for his promotion up the U.S. Soccer ladder.

  9. K, for all of those asking:

    Greg Garza signed a contract with sporting lisbon this year. He is on their youth team for now, not their first team, so that would explain why he doesn’t get mentioned by ives in americans abroad.

    Giuseppe Nazzani is unknown. He plays for Bologna F.C.’s youth team as well (Primavera), see greg garza. Not sure what his ties are to america though. I do know that there are two U.S. Bases within 2 hours of where his hometown is listed though. People are guessing his mother is american, I would guess the same. This callup is probably the most interesting, considering that Tutto Mercato Web has him listed as #5 of the top youth prospects to break out in serie A. If this means anything, Mario Balotelli of Inter Milan is #3. So the question that is rising from most soccer forums is why a dual-citizen top italian prospect is choosing the U.S. over italy, and is he really dedicated to playing for our team? Or is he just trying to put himself out there so the italian nats can have a look at him? We’ll see how this unfolds.

    Vicenzo plays for Napoli in the primavera.

    Brek shea is injured.

  10. Calm down. This is not the “definitive” list of top U-20 candidates. Rongen always rotates players. He actually does a good job of seeing new kids. He’s probably had 90-100 kids in the mix already in through the first 10 months of 2008. Ne wkids this time are Torres, Nazzani, and Hernandez. Edwards is new on this level but was a U-17 GK and is in Bradenton now with the 92s.

    Kids that have gotten a decent amount of looks from Rongen this year are probably still in consideration, even if not on the limited Madrid list. This would include:

    GK: Perk, Hamid, MacMath

    D: Balchan, Opara, Williams

    M: Manzonelli, Cruz, Punyed, Shea, Altimirano, Bimbaum, Okugo

    F: Marosevic, Garcia, McLaughlin, Nimo, Rodney

    One thing TR cannot be faulted for is his exhaustive player search.

  11. I know it’s probably because of their soccer seasons and their importance to their respective NCAA teams right now, but hopefully Ike Opara and Peri Marosevic get worked into the rotation before the U-20 tournament

  12. Ant Esquire III – for the same reason you dont play your MLS starters in the reserves game (unless they are recovering an injury)… in the end, these youth tourny’s mean nothing… of course they are nice to win, but they are merely there to showcase your talent and gain intl’ exp…

    anyhow, both players are also getting looks on the actual USMN’s…

  13. Matthew Maier –

    A lot of the kids you see listed are typically in the youth system of the club they’re associated with. I guess a handful like Agbossoumonde and Valentin aren’t with a pro team or a university, so they listed by hometown. Actually, aren’t all of the “hometown” listings actually kids that are in Bradenton?

  14. Ives,

    What are the criteria for following Yanks Abroad? I’m assuming these kids aren’t actually PLAYING for Sporting Lisbon, otherwise you’d be covering them right?

    Otherwise it seems like you just added a few people to your list of folks to track every week. I’m certainly interested in hearing how these kids are doing.

    Maybe you can have a monthly feature (written by Dylan or you) covering some prospect in the pipeline. Rather than just cover the Stefan Jerome’s of the world, you could find and profile some of these kids.

    Lot of work, I know, but you’re readers are out there and we’re interested. 😉

    Great work, as always.


  15. A, EIII:

    because no one really cares who wins youth titles. the point is not to win, per se (although it’s nice) it is to give young players international experience and see who steps up. could someone like Freddy end up on the team anyway? perhaps, to provide leadership (I think he’s eligible) but it’s like paying attention to the final score of Developmental League matches. sure it may be interesting, but it doesn’t mean anything.

  16. I can’t find the dates for the U-20 World Cup yet but it looks like the Confederations Cup falls right before or overlaps with the dates the U-20 has run in the past. I can’t imagine the USSF wants Adu and Altidore participating in both of those competitions.

  17. Why wouldn’t we play Adu and Altidore in the U20’s and try to win it…true they have other things on their radar, but they aren’t really getting much time and they might not nxt year either.

  18. Kyle Davies’ is not related to Charlie Davies as far as I know. I remember watching him play for Cal High in San Ramon, CA. Played midfield for them. Talented player.

  19. Can’t wait for more info on our next crop of prospects! I pay a lot of attention, often too much, and still don’t know much at all about these guys. Hopefully there will be some good coverage of this team.

  20. Josh –

    Bernardo has signed a pro contract with Napoli, but is still playing in the primavera… Italian media have compared him to Miccoli as far as ability and size go…

    Nazzani is a ghost to US fans… we have no idea where he came from nor does anyone seem to have any clue about his connections to the US… he was born in Italy, and plays for Bologna’s Primavera team….

    i may have left something off on these two, but take a look at some other forums…

  21. More deetz on these kids stories would be well worth an article Ives (though probably closer to the tourney itself).

    At least in this humble reader’s opinion.

  22. It’s good to see FC Dallas and Dallas Texas represented on there. Lambo and Wallace are top notch, and could be very good in the future. Good things to come for FCD if these two and Brek Shea stay with us.

  23. areign – adu has moved on… he’s getting looks and starts with the USMN… theres no way he’ll end up coming back to play with the U20’s…

    nor would i want him to… he’s established… its time to establish other players…

  24. Joe – rongen had success with the U20’s last WC… he allows his players to play, by not restricting their creativity… he also brings in quite a large number of players a good portion of the soccer community in the US have never heard of…

  25. bob- no, Shea is eligable for the U20’s as he’s been on quite a few cup rosters and training camps this year alone…

    i think the two im most interested in is the italian Duo…. Bernardo and Nazzani …. some of the Yank posters from Italy are posting some interesting articles on the kid… seems quite the promising youth and similar to Bernardo, he’s playing primavera but for Bologna

    another Torres prospect seems interesting…

    its good to see Rongen doing his homework…

  26. The bigger question is how in the holy hell does a complete jackass like Thomas Rongen still have a job within US Soccer? Forget the Subotic blunder, the guy’s a fool.

    He’s not had any success with his teams whether club or national and yet he continues to find teams.

    Is he really our best option?

  27. Gale Agbossoumonde is a huge guy. I remember seeing him play for Syracuse F.C. a few years back in a tournament. I hope to see him play!

  28. Will not pretend I know most of the European based players, but its a VERY exciting list based on the clubs they are on, and knowing others from MLS (now or in the past).

  29. Perhaps we can get a round-up of which dual-nationality US Youth players he left off, b/c, of course, that’s who will be starting for top-tier leagues in a couple of years.

  30. I’d like to think I keep up with US soccer pretty well, but I had no idea we had two kids in Italy and another in Portugal. Can anyone give me lowdown on these guys? What’s the story? Thanks.


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