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21 for New Zealand: Projecting the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster (March Edition)

USU20MNTStartingXI1-GuatemalaCONCACAFU202015 (Mexsport)



U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos got a look at some new players this month, but how many of them could sneak onto the squad ahead of the World Cup is a lingering question.

The U.S. wrapped up its March camp in England over the weekend with a pair of losses, but the games provided Ramos a chance to see how both old and new players are doing in the run-up to this summer’s World Cup in New Zealand. Some regulars – like Romain Gall and Matt Miazga – were missing from this camp, and their absences opened the door for newcomers like Dutch-American defender Desevio Payne and forward Maki Tall.

The two European-based youngsters both earned starts in the U.S.’s most recent friendly against England’s U-20s, but whether they showed enough to raise their stocks and firmly place themselves in the U.S. picture is unknown. Even as hard as it might be to assess which players have really helped their cause because of their overall lack of playing time at the club level, the recent call-ups do provide a glimpse of where some of them and others on the fringes stand.

So who might reach New Zealand in two months’ time? Here is SBI’s latest projection of the 21 players that could make it to the World Cup. and there are indeed some changes from February’s projected squad:

Projected U.S. U-20 World Cup Roster (March 2015 Edition)


Zack Steffen, Ethan Horvath, Jeff Caldwell

Outlook- Steffen and Horvath would appear to be the top two choices for Ramos here despite neither being called in for this camp. The fight for the third goalkeeper spot is up for grabs, however. U.S. Under-18 goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann was the player that seemed likely a month ago and could very well still be the option given that he should be around for the next U-20 World Cup, but Caldwell may have moved up the depth chart after receiving a closer look from Ramos this month.

Missed the CutJonathan Klinsmann, Thomas Olsen, Santiago Antunes, Evan Louro,



Shaquell Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga, John Requejo, Conor Donovan, Erik Palmer-Brown, Desevio Payne

Outlook- This group remains largely unchanged from last month’s, but FC Groningen’s Desevio Payne makes the cut after earning his first call-up in March. Payne has seen some first-team minutes at the club level, and his ability to play left back and provide cover at centerback make him a good option for a tournament like the World Cup where depth often gets tested.

Orlando City fullback Tyler Turner misses out here as a result, but it is interesting that 17-year-old Sporting Kansas City centerback Erik Palmer-Brown did not play in this past Sunday’s game vs. England despite being available. Keep an eye on that.

Missed the CutTyler Turner, Michael Amick, Luis Martir, Tommy Redding, Chase Gasper, Chris Odoi-Atsem



Kellyn Acosta, Emerson Hyndman, Junior Flores, Russell Canouse, Lynden Gooch, Paul Arriola, Romain Gall, Tommy Thompson

Outlook– The midfield remains intact, though Marco Delgado, Joel Sonora and Ethan Sonis look to be on the cusp of breaking in. The big wild card here, though, is Gedion Zelalem. We have not heard anything new about his eligibility to represent the U.S., but if the Arsenal prospect gets the green light before the summer then he’ll make it in at someone else’s expense.

Missed the Cut– Joel Sonora, Ethan Sonis, Marco Delgado, Fernando Arce Jr., Zach Pfeffer, Luis Felipe, Corey Baird, Gedion Zelalem



Rubio Rubin, Bradford Jamieson IV, Maki Tall

Outlook- Two of the forward spots seem all but guaranteed to go to Rubin and Jamieson, leaving one spot open. Amando Moreno – who took part in World Cup qualifying – scored some recent goals in Copa MX play for Club Tijuana, but his omission from this month’s U.S. camp hints at him being on the outside looking in.

Atletico Madrid’s Dembakwi Yomba was on here in February, but has been replaced by Maki Tall. The Lille forward is on loan to French third division side Red Star FC, and made his professional debut earlier this month by coming off the bench. Tall scored a goal in his U.S. debut against England this past weekend to boost his chances of being on the plane that heads to New Zealand, but he and Yomba might be in a fight to the finish.

Missed the Cut– Dembakwi Yomba, Ben Spencer, Amando Moreno, Andrija Novakovich, Alex Muyl


What do you think of this group of 21 players? Think Tall and Payne could make it onto the squad over Yomba and Turner? Is there someone else in the pool that you think deserves consideration?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Both Acosta and Jamieson seem below average in Qualifiers. Novakovich seem far superior centrelforward in this age group, while Sonis more natural DM.

    Both Rubio and Payne seem to play out-position. Rubio seems more winger-type or withdrawn forward, while Payne seem rightback or leftback.

    Zack Steffen , Ethan Horvath , Jeff Caldwell

    Shaquell Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga, John Requejo, Conor Donovan, Erik Palmer-Brown, Desevio Payne

    Joel Soñora , Emerson Hyndman, Junior Flores, Russell Canouse, Lynden Gooch, Paul Arriola, Gedion Zelalem , Tommy Thompson

    Rubio Rubin, Dembakwi Yomba , Maki Tall

    • I like your selections. The one player I question at this time is Junior Flores. The matches I watched during the qualifiers I was not overly impressed. He’s a good player and I have hopes he’ll continue to get better, but his current form doesn’t lead me to believe he should be there.


  4. man, there are going to be some intense battles for spots. Sonora, Arce Jr., and Zelalem are all good enough for this team. it’s going to be very hard to pick the midfield players for this group. but i guess it’s a good problem to have.

    and wow…the battle for strikers is insane too. Yomba, Moreno, and Novakovich are great forwards as well. you could make a case for any of them.

    i think these guys are going to have to work VERY hard at their clubs because i’m not sure how else you can separate them. Rubin is firmly in the first team, so i agree he is good to go. but Novakovich and Moreno are already flirting with their respective first teams and you have to wonder if that is more useful than BJIV playing for LAII, Yombo for Atleti youth, and Tall in the French 3rd division. that said, for Yomba, he has been training with Atleti’s first team. how does that measure up? tough decisions.

  5. I think it is a mistake to overlook tyler turner. The reason he was not called in was due to orlando city needing him to start with other call ups and injuries. He looked good and not out of place in his first MLS start. He also looked better in qualifying than moore, but that is just me.

  6. Well, on paper this looks like a team that could do well and it seems as if they are in a group that isn’t so strong. They should be solid in the middle and Rubin gives them fire power up front. We know Cameron-Vickers is a good CB, so most of the pieces are there. Should be interesting.

    • I agree. I just don’t know what Novakovich needs to do to be there. He has made his Championship debut. I honestly don’t see BJIV in front of him but we never know what is going on in Ramos’s head. And Pfeffer was good enough to play with the U23s but not the U20s?


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