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Gil, Cropper and Villarreal headline U.S. Under-20 roster for CONCACAF qualifying


Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil, Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Jose Villarreal headline the 18-player roster selected to represent the U.S. Under-20 national team in CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying.

Head coach Tab Ramos has selected a team with a good mix of MLS players, international -based players and college players. Among the other players on the list are recent Chivas Guadalajara loanee Juan Pablo Ocegueda and Sporting KC rookie Mikey Lopez.

Two more players will be added to the qualifying roster before the start of the tournament. Not all of the top players in the age group were available for selection. Centerback Walker Zimmerman is still recovering from an injury and won’t be available, while Liverpool’s Marc Pelosi was not released by his club, sources confirmed to SBI (Pelosi was added to Liverpool’s Europa League roster, which is likely a factor in the club’s decision to not release him).

Here is the full U.S. Under-20 National Team squad:

U.S. Under-20 National Team Qualifying Roster

GOALKEEPERS (3) – Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Zackary Steffen (FC DELCO Academy; Downington, Pa.)

DEFENDERS (5) – Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (C.D. Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)

FORWARDS (5) – Brandon Allen (Georgetown; Old Bridge, N.J.), Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.) Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)


The CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament takes place from Feb. 18th to March 3rd in Mexico. The Americans are in a qualifying group with Costa Rica and Haiti.

What do you think of the team? Worried about the defense? See the midfield being strong enough to help the team qualify? Fearing a repeat of the last Under-20 cycle?

Share your thoughts below.


    • He Starts for Hertha Berlin so he likely wouldn’t be released. Bad News though is he intends on playing for Germany’s U21 squad

      • Brooks has never been called up for Germany’s U-21 team. He has been called up and played for Germany’s U-20 team, but that team is not highly regarded and really more of a practice team. I would not look to much into that.

  1. FWIW, Juan Pablo Ocegueda is owned by UANL Tigres. He is on a one year loan at Chivas, but not on the first team. There is an option to buy. My guess is that the option to buy will essentially go up in smoke, and that if JP is any good, he’ll end up with CUSA for the year.

  2. What about Julian Green? Calling him up would show our intent to keep him going forward.

    Also, starting mids: Stanko, Flores, and Gil?

  3. Were there any 18 or 19 year-old defenders not called in who are started in MLS last year? Or, got significant playing time? Midfielders? Attackers? Keepers?

    • I do know Mobi Fehr is back in MLS with Portland. He was a big part of the U17 a year or so ago and the U18 side during the Lisbon tourney last year. He was on Fulham’s radar for awhile and FC Basel. He has looked decent for the Timbers during preseason although they are playing him as a def mid, but he came up as a CB. Surprised he was not called in.

    • Until a good reserve league (which is beginning to take shape with the USL this year), DI college soccer will always be a viable alternative for SOME 17-19 year-olds. Some DI soccer conferences are very competitive, though it is unfortunate that they are not allowed to play a competitive spring season…. playing 15-20 competitive games in the Spring could potentially improve player development process in DI soccer.

      The NCAA allows baseball to play an unbelievable amount of games (which require student athletes to miss a great deal of class!), yet get very particular with how many games are schedules in soccer.

  4. There is no such thing as a “good mix” when that mix includes a large number of college players. They have proven time and again, with few exceptions, that they are unprepared to play against players developed as pros by pro clubs. We’ll just have to hope this ends well in spite of the amateurs on this roster…

    • I see 6 college players listed above, most of which are defenders. Regardless, this is qualifiers and teams are not forced to release their players. What 6 professional set players would you have called in to replace the college based players?

    • Really becuase the last team that failed to make to the 2011 WC was primarily comprised of players that were in pro academies abroad or here in the states.

      In the mid 2000s when the US was making quaterfinal appearances in the U-20 WC the players were comprised of mostly college players. Maybe you should know your facts before you spew forth this nonsense.

    • Actually for all the ruffian reputation of defenders, most of the good ones play with a lot of intelligence and patience. In college most of the best teams start and keep defenders in for most of the game so they are used to concentrating for 90 minutes and in facing fresh energetic attackers who typically are subbed more often. Also, the good college players also play on PDL teams in the summer again giving them experience. Of course, these are U-20s who have been in college only 1 or 2 seasons and even those who skipped college have perhaps a year (or 2) on a pro team where they actually are unlikely to get much actual playing time since they are competing with older professionals for starting spots. So I am not sure calling in college defenders is all that surprising.

      • You would think they would have released him if he wasnt going to potentially play a part in the EL. Liverpool has released him for every other U20 camp.

      • There are quite a few Liverpool U21s that have and are training with the first team. Certainly a good sign but not something that should be blown out of proportion as it is standard practice.

  5. Lots of Mexican-American and Latin presence on that roster. Perhaps we are getting better at at finding and developing this demographic which has long seemed to be underrepresented

    • Yes, I think US Soccer realized their mistake of picking so many Africans after the U-23 debacle. Now they are actually picking creative, skilled, intelligent midfielder who can make smart decisions under pressure

  6. Most of the players seem to be in academies instead of college teams… Is this the promised land I’ve heard of but but but now that its arrived what will I bitch about now…

      • Note: My mistake for not checking the veracity of your original statement. Most players are actually on pro teams, very few are in academies. More are actually in college than in academies.
        If you are looking for something to bitch about, I go with your apparent lack of reading comprehension…

    • Javan Torre is a Galaxy Academy product. My guess is that MLS teams tend to use the high-salary home grown spots for attacking players so that defenders will tend to go the college route.

      • Yeah. Seriously. MOST Academy players (MLS or otherwise) go to college, even those that sign homegrown deals. The orignial post is just so off base, and ignorant, its not worth even discussing. The developed “Academy players” and “these colllege defenders” could very well be the same people. C’mon.

      • Thank you for the feedback. I knew many academy players went to college, but it didn’t occur to me that they would be listed by their college team and not their academy/MLS team affiliation.

        Since I’m ignorant and off base, how many of these college players listed are academy products?

  7. I would think Luis Gil could have done more in the midfield for the full national team yesterday than Danny Williams.

    Place Jones at the holding mid spot and have Gil in an attacking role. Maybe Jozy and Dempsey could get some service once in a while..

      • you have me confused this is Realistic Randy.

        How can you not be underwhelmed by this roster. The only one with any kind of ceiling is Gil and hes already been an starter and is just ok.

        seriously, if any of these guys were special we would already know their name and they would be playing.

      • “The only one with any kind of ceiling”. Please re-read that. If its accurate, that’s great news as it indicates all other players on the squad have limitless potential….Thanks!!

      • I know, if you aren’t a household name as a 19 year old or playing on the full national team, you have no chance of being a big time player. Just ask Clint Dempsey. He was such a big name player when he got called into the U20s in 2002.

      • I actually know most of these names.

        That said, thinking we had a team of stars in Olympic qualifying and look at how that turned out.

    • There’s hardly any Sub-Saharans on this team (unlike last time where they made up half the team) so its more than likely they will qualify

      • Either you are sub-Saharan, and feel license to speak, or you only have a broad paintbrush and a couple crayons in your toolkit.

  8. Out of curiosity….why would you not release a youth player for youth WCQ matches?? It would seem like a great experience. It should be all about development….while it is with a different staff and maybe position it would seem to be a great experience for a player to be in anything related to the world cup even the U-20 WC and give them some desire and fight to bring back to the team.

    I get that some clubs dont always want to let their huge expensive stars go to these matches because of the massive financial risk…but whats the real risk of this? Could he get hurt for good…sure and they wont be able to keep him or sell him in a year or two….but he likely wouldnt sell for much for another year or two which would be plenty of time for him to heal from most issues and if he plays well it could increase his sell stock. It cant be because they feel like there is some VERY important U-20 EPL match or reserve side match…..they dont really care about youth club games over there any more than a chance to watch your kid play do they…ok….so maybe its a bit more like watching your HS or college soccer club…but still….let the kid play with the group of guys that he might one day be with on the biggest stage….or just let him have his spring break trip to mexico or where ever like other youths.

    • Uhm Junior Flores is a U-17. Not only that there way more players deserving to be calle dup over Flores. i.e. Zach Pfeffer, Amondo Moreno, Julian Green etc….

      • Anthony,

        I don’t think Flores’ age should limit him from being integrated more slowly than his peers. Agreed there are more deserving older players than him like Pfeffer. but I would not pull him away from what he’s doing for Hoffenheim reserves (fact check on that team). If he’s the CM or CAM of the future like he is being touted, can’t hurt to call him him and play with the 20’s who will be his future teammates even if he doesn’t play

      • Flores has been a sub for the U-17’s for the past year. He has talent, but lets pump the brakes on the whole CAM of the future talk. People need to realise that he is only 16, and should be left alone. No he does not need to be moved up the U-20’s at all.

      • Not to mention the extinction rate of CAMs… Can we forget the Playstation for a moment? The world is moving toward the “complete midfielders” like Bradley…and Pelosi is being groomed as such.

    • I’m a Liverpool fan and I forgive the move. I understand the team rates him highly. He could be a first teamer next season.

      Why have a tournament advertise his services when you don’t want to sell.

      • Nobody is forcing you to sell. WTF are you talking about. I’d go with potential injuries Alex (i.e. decrease in value of investment/asset). Most people like when the value of their investments go up. I’m assuming you bought some non-agency MBS back in 2007.

  9. It has Juan Pablo Ocegueda listed as a CD Guadalajara player – is that the case? And if so, what does that mean for his continuing career with that club, we all know their rules about Mexican national team eligible players only.

      • Also worth noting this doesn’t cap-tie them in the event he has dual-citizenship. I know nothing of the player but worth noting. Chivas policy and playing for the USA in u-20s are not mutually exclusive things.

      • Are you serious wrt Salgado…read usa1’s post. The guy played for Mexico in u-17’s and u-20s. They only play “Mexican” players not people who necessarily choose to represent Mexico internationally.
        Like having a USA version of Chivas and signing Rossi.
        Really hope you guys were joking wrt an explanation.

      • If you are implying they jettisoned him because he was “no longer” Mexican, then that would certainly still be consistent with this player. He’s not cap-tied so he’s still “eligible” for Mexico. They jettisoned him because they were upset he decided not to play for Mexico, not because he was “no longer Mexican” because he couldn’t play.
        Long story short-even if this IS the correct interpretation (FIFA-eligible for Mexico), this kid is still eligible for Mexico. You were confused by that for some reason, I have no idea how you couldn’t see the parallels with Salgado. Neither player was cap-tied, so still “eligible for Mexico” and according to your “expert” view of the rules for eligibility for Chivas,’still eligible.

    • Also worth noting this doesn’t cap-tie them in the event he has dual-citizenship. I know nothing of the player but worth noting. Chivas policy and playing for the USA in u-20s are not mutually exclusive things

    • I think this team will be able to score. Stanko is the enforcer on this team as long as he sets the tone in the games the U.S. has enough skilled talent to dominant other teams.

      I hope they are ready to go form the whistle. U.S. mens team fans need somthing to cheer about.


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