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Villarreal, Gil and Yedlin headline U.S. Under-20 World Cup roster

JoseVillarreal (Getty)


Young MLS standouts Jose Villarreal, Luis Gil and DeAndre Yedlin headline the 21-player squad chosen by Tab Ramos to represent the United States at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey later this month.

A total of seven MLS players made the squad, joining European-based standouts like Cody Cropper and Mario Rodriguez.

Here is the U.S. Under-20 World Cup roster:

GOALKEEPERS: 1-Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), 12-Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), 21-Zach Steffen (FC DELCO; Downington, Pa.)

DEFENDERS: 13-Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), 5-Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), 18-Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), 4-Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), 14-Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.)

MIDFIELDERS: 16-Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), 10-Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), 8-Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), 15-Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), 6-Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)

FORWARDS: 20-Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), 17-Danny Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), 7-Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), 19-Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), 9-Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.), 11-Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)


If the squad looks familiar, it is the same 21-player squad SBI projected to be selected.

Among the players in the pool who didn’t make the cut are Walker Zimmerman, Dillon Serna and Jordan Morris.

What do you think of the squad? Who are you happy to see make the team? Who are you most surprised to see missing?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. We’ll agree to disagree re the quality of El Paso teams vis a vis Houston (Shea, Holden) or Dallas (Dempsey).

  2. What could have been..Brooks, Zimmerman and Pelosi.. still a good team but those 3 could be the difference in making out of group

      • Would have been interesting to see Vilyan Bijev (at Liverpool and called up by Bulgaria’s U-21’s), and don’t forget that Omar Salgado would likely have been included if he hadn’t been injured for the last year.

  3. El paso tx could be a full time supplier of soccer players for every age group and soccer college programs but nobody comes knocking and el paso tx remains as a hidden gem of west texas and the southwest region. Look at edgar castillo, he spent half years in el paso tx playing saturday and sunday city league and many el pasoans go to torreon, monterrey and even guadalajara to try out for a ligamx team and others go to division 2 in college, just like my brother. Only if nasl and mls knew our soccer history in el paso,tx and even border city juarez.

    • Jesus do you ever comment on anything other than El Paso?

      Castillo is mediocre, if that’s the best you’ve got, give it up. There is no team in St Louis and they have produced good players.

      • Hater, did you know our city league teams have ex-professional soccer players as coaches but of course they charge a hefty amount. Did you know one of MLS best referee comes from El Paso, TX Jair Marufo. I dont know how many teams from Texas have won Schwan’s Cup but a team from El Paso, Tx won Schwan’s Cup, without a big budget or sponsors for the long trip. For those who dont know, El Paso had the El Paso Patriots back in that day, and we average over 8,000 a game. And once again I repeat, El Paso TX produces a bunch of soccer players but no one comes knocking.

  4. Whole lotta Cali blood on this team. A few of Texas boys so that’s cool. Steffen holding it down for New England all by himself? Yo East Coast! Step your game up!

  5. I’m not calling Ramos prejudice, but 61 % of non GK on this team are Latino. That’s not exactly in line with the demographics of the US. I don’t have a problem with majority Latinos on the squad, but on the surface it makes me question of Ramos has a bias towards Latin players. If he does that’s wrong IMO. His selection should be based in the best players available and team chemistry and not based on ethnicity, color, or creed.

    • That’s ridiculous. Bob Bradley, by your view, is also racist as he hired mostly players of European descent during his tenure.

    • no, it’s not in line with the demos of the country, but it may very well be in line with the demos of kids who are good enough at soccer to play at this level, which is what we should be comparing it to.

      • I think that you are right $$, if you were to rate this on the $$ compensation, this would skew to the Latino players over non-latino players, though to be fair…most MexAM players get the benefit of playing in the Mexican Leagues where as non Mex players would count as an “International’ spot. It is where we are as a soccer nation.

    • The disingenuous disclaimer… inevitably followed by the insult.

      Looks good on you though…

      More applicable than the overall demographics of the nation, is the demographics of those playing soccer. More importantly than the demographic of households that have someone who plays the game, are those that live, breath and die the game and have it ingrained in their culture. In short… “latin” households have an enormous bias towards soccer, whereas other demographics have a bias towards football, baseball etc. It’s why there has been a huge % of recent immigrants represented on the national team over the years. Probably better to just address players as individuals and question them based on talent or lack of it?

      • I don’t disagree. I’m not aware of the demographics of American youth soccer or which individuals are the better players. I was hoping for an open dialogue, but some on this forum (and most anonymous Internet forums) love to throw stones. All I’m saying is that everyone has biased opinions based upon their up bringing. Without knowing the facts I wanted to have a frank discussion about why it seems like Ramos is primarily selecting Latinos. I was not only educated,but also made aware of the smug sense of self righteousness of some individuals. If you can’t have open dialogue without insulting or making snide you remarks, you are clearly threatened by the opinion or subject matter. And yes that is WRONG.

      • What insult? Think about what if a more talented player was left off the squad bc he’s not Latino. Wouldn’t you want the best players out there regardless off their background?

    • It’s a good thing you aren’t calling Ramos prejudiced, because then you would would be wrong.

      The majority of this team comes from California and Texas, two states with large U-20 Latino populations. What’s truly interesting is that there are more kids from Minnesota (2) than from the entire East Coast (1 – and even that kid is from Philly, which is not on the coast). That’s a real surprise coming from a Kearny boy.

  6. It’s hard to get excited about youth games when watching stuff like Spain’s U21 squad.

    Koke – Starter for Atl. Madrid
    Isco – Started for Malaga and widely regarded already as one of the best CAMs in the world to replace Iniesta.
    Da Gea – Starter for Man United
    Thiago – Occasional starts for Barcelona
    Tello – Occasional starts for Barcelona
    Bartra – Starter for Barcelona
    Montoya – Occasional starts for Barcelona
    Carvajal – Starter at Leverkeusen and expected to start for Madrid next season.

    Not to mention Munain or Rodrigo for Benfica who is averaging more than a goal a game through qualifying and the tournament.

    • Let’s also remember that a Euro U21 team is actually a U23 roster (U21 at start of the qualification). Mix was invited for Norway’s U21 squad, for example.

      Not that the other teams aren’t loaded.

    • Impressive and important in terms of putting the US evolution in perspective. Still in all I’d rather build on what we have than b$tch about what we don’t… Not saying you are, just trying to find the upside.

      • The upside is that domestic players will be our bread and butter down the road when our development programs are comparative.

        And I mean really comparative. As in–parents and players moved to the location, school paid for, etc.

        Isco would be the best American ever and he plays on their U21 team. That to me is fascinating perspective.

    • Brooks can’t even make up his mind US/Germany, missing both, so I’m not losing sleep. The picture I get from that is less of someone who wants to show what he has and see if he can get fast-tracked on ability, and more of someone playing hide and go seek trying to net a full senior call.

      I’ll readily admit that I said if he’s halfway decent go ahead and cap him at Gold Cup and end the debate. But he’s playing us both is what it feels like, when he doesn’t do either youth tourney.

  7. Will probably regret not calling in a natural CB or a target forward but it doesn’t really matter only a couple from this team will make a senior team impact. That is the nature of youth competitions

    • thanks for pointing that out, hadn’t noticed. I’m Californian, makes me feel proud. Hope these kids represent

  8. I’m biased, but I can’t wait for U.S. fans to see Yedlin play. Concerns about CB, though, seem valid. The first have in Toulon v. S. Korea was positively dreadful all around play.

    • Yes, yes, I know. Hold your horses. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Don’t crush the kid with expectations…yeah, yeah, yead…But Yedlin is going to make the senior team sooner than people think. Sure, he has judgement and positional issues to work out. But the last time I thought this highly of US fullback prospect was Steve Churndolo

      • I’ve seen him play multiple times and I think he is still post 2014 player. His awareness is just dreadful, and while athleticism gets you far in MLS, we’ve seen how long it takes players to transition that natural talent to the big leagues. I think this tournament against more tactical attackers will go a long way in deciding just how ready he is.

        He does have flair about him which is something new for our backline. And he’d improve the selection of hairstyles we currently offer at the national level. The bald and crew cut looks are getting boring.

        I think the next Gold Cup will be our first taste of him at the national level.

      • Well, no I don’t think he’ll be going to Brazil, but he is in th epicture right after that. His awareness in attack is very good. In transtion back to defense it is not. But he strikes me as a guy who is learning quickly.

      • He’s raw, but definitely has the kind eye catching presence on the field that could well garner some attention from scouts and opportunities overseas. That said, with the playing time he is getting in SEA, he might want to stay right where he’s at a bit more.

      • He’s a good prospect at this point and nothing more. The potential is obvious, but he has a ways to go before he is ready to be on the full national team. I hope he pans out, but lets be realistic here. Its much more likely that he never has much of an impact on the national team.

    • I like Yedlin getting in because it indicates they are keeping eyes open and employing some degree of accountability. But we’ll see how the defense plays with money on the table.

  9. If they do anything other than 3 and out at this tournament, considering the group they are in, that would be a major accomplishment. Like most people seem to think, this team’s performance will have little impact on the senior team. If more than two of these graduate to the senior international level, again it’s a job well done.

      • But I also must add that how far these sprites go in the the tournament WILL have long term effects on the nats. The deeper they go the more experience they gain.

      • BUT, the Toulon tourny team was without Villarreal, Rodriguez, Gil, Yedlin, who are probably starters in Turkey.

  10. Its only the U-20s. Even the great 2007 U-20 team only gave us 2 senior players. I hope the kids do well and have a great experience. No one should really care much who is or isn’t included in this roster though. Its not likely to have any huge effect on their career.

    • I have to admit, this u20 World Cup squad does not excite me at all compared to previous teams (last go around’s failures included). It may be that I’m able to see most of these players actually play, whereas before the u20 was stock full of players who were abroad and had that mysterious factor about them. Or it just maybe none of these players scream out would-be superstars. I’ll still watch. But it won’t be with the same curiosity.

      I also just don’t like Tab as a manager. I find his choices puzzling at times and his tactical abilities poor.

    • gotta say, i don’t really agree with those who think that success at the u-20 cup is not a big deal. especially for our kids (i.e. not in europe, for the most part), this is a chance to catch the eye of big clubs with top youth and reserve coaches who can really develop their abilities, exponentially more than MLS clubs (generalization, i know).

      • Its a chance to catch the eye, yes. However, off the top of my head i can tell you a few guys who used the U-20s to spur interest abroad for a move. Adu to Benfica – failure, Zizzo to wherever in Germany – Failure, Szetela to somewhere in Italy – Failure, Altidore to Villareal – Failure. A move to a bigger club doesn’t necessarily help these guys at all.

        There are obviously cases where youth tournaments can help a player gain confidence, experience and exposure. My point is that we get so excited or disappointed by results or decisions at a level that doesn’t have a great affect on our senior team. Its tough to project how most 19 year olds will do as pros.

        I really hope we do well. If we do, it doesn’t mean we have a great generation of players coming through. If we lose all 3 games it doesn’t mean we have a lost generation either….

      • i know you’re just naming off the top of your head, but that’s *4* guys; at that level, it’s not surprising that 0 of 4 moves worked out.

        there are tons of reasons why a player might not ‘make it’ at a bigger club, which is why you do the best you can to bring positive exposure to as many players as you can, and hope that a couple of them break through.

    • 1999:
      Howard, Dolo, Boca, Califf, Albright, Twellman, Gibbs, Rimando.

      Gooch, Casey, Convey, Donovan, Beasley, Davis, Buddle.

      Whitbread, EJ, Clark, Convey, Quaranta, Adu, Dempsey.

      Spector, Feilhaber, Adu, Kljestan, Evans.

      Bradley, Rogers, Adu, Altidore.

      Mixx, Shea.


      I think there’s an argument to be made that the pipeline is delivering less effectively but a lot of the key senior team players came through it. Most. I think the youth system has to be the primary vehicle for player production for the senior team.

      What I would acknowledge is that increasingly a player establishes himself professionally and is rewarded from that into the high end of the youth system. There are few players left who are making teams at this level who are from the old club then college route, where you would leverage the youth national team into the professional contract — the other way around basically. You now prove yourself at your paycheck, which is arguably why some interesting players like Salazar are out. He wasn’t signing with the Dynamo til he graduated HS.

      I think one area where this impacts the pool is that we are now more dependent on the individual teams to produce talent, because they are securing services prior to U20 play. So we have trouble holding the lengthy residencies and camps that helped produce the stronger teams of the early 2000s. Those players would be down at Bradenton playing together for months or years. Not anymore, and in fact now we may be stuck depending on the Crew reserves. While I think that may work out OK for foreign based I’m still not sure MLS has its stuff together enough where reserves or academies can develop the players at the level of the residency system. Which is why I think it’s not coming as easy. But I think it is the new reality.

      • We also have a player pool that is growing exponentially. There is a lot more competition for national team places than in the past. Before, we may have only had 20-30 players who were able to compete for a youth national team place. Whether it was because so many players were slipping through the cracks or we weren’t producing as much quality I do not know. With the development academy we get a good look at probably 50-60 guys who can really compete for a place on the youth teams. Not going to go into possible favoritism placed on players who had been to Bradenton or other aspects. There’s a lot to consider when you start talking about what you brought out.

        In a veeeerrrry small nutshell I’d say we are able to train more players at a high level than before, and we are able to properly scout more players than ever before. Both of these increase competition for advancement up the soccer pyramid.

  11. Have there ever been this many MLS homegrown players on a U national team? That seems to be a bit of a development. I think this is an improvement on the GA system.

  12. I am stunned Zimmerman isn’t listed, especially after how awful this defense has looked without him. That’s a big blow, I think we are going to see lots of goals for and against in group play…hopefully we can be on the plus side of the margin.

    • I agree 100% but I guess being hurt for most of the season really knocked down his status. I’m not sure if he could go a full 90 yet. Would have like to see him brought in during the Toulon tournament, just to see his fitness and such.

    • Agree, it is a disappointment…. but I have to give Ramos the benefit of any doubt.. think that he’s just not ready to go/fully recovered from injury. Ain’t worth it to use the roster spot if he isn’t, and most importantly, put him in a position to risk re-injury and threaten his young career.

      • Disappointed not to see Zimmerman, but I’m guessing Ramos just didn’t feel there was enough time to re-integrate him into the squad. Really too bad because a backline that included Zimmerman, O’Neill, Yedlin would have been very interesting. Plus that would have freed him up to put Stanko in the midfield.

    • Koroma is terrible. He is only good physically but he has no skills. Put him up against boys and he will look dominant, put him up against men and he won’t look like a soccer player. Dude went from a big name on the U-17 team to barely playing at all for Akron. Other are catching up to him physically as their bodies mature. He is exactly the kind of guy American soccer has been wasting too much time on for the last three decades.


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