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Rubin, Steffen, Thompson headline U.S. roster for U-20 World Cup

U-20 USMNT starting XI vs. Panama (Mexsport)



With less than a month to go before the tournament kicks off, head coach Tab Ramos has revealed who will represent the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team at the upcoming U-20 World Cup.

Forwards Rubio Rubin and Tommy Thompson join goalkeeper Zach Steffen among 20 players selected to represent the U.S. at the tournament, which kicks off on May 30. The group is scheduled to depart for Australia on May 16 for a training camp prior to the tournament’s kickoff in New Zealand.

As it stands, only 20 of the 21 available spots have been named, signaling the potential inclusion of Gedion Zelalem if FIFA gives the Arsenal midfielder international clearance. The deadline to officially submit rosters is May 15.

“I’m very excited about this particular group,” said Ramos. “It was very difficult making the final decision because there were quite a few players who deserved to go to the World Cup. Unfortunately, in the end I can only select a certain number, and I’m very happy with the selections that we made.”

Some of the more notable omissions are Columbus Crew’s Romain Gall, who did his share of scoring in World Cup qualifying in February, and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Junior Flores. Other players to miss out are Lynden Gooch of Sunderland, Philadelphia Union’s Zach Pfeffer, and Orlando City centerback Conor Donovan.

The U.S. will kick off the tournament on May 30 against Myanmar before rounding out the group stage with matchups against New Zealand and Ukraine on June 2 and 5, respectively.

Take a closer look at the roster below:

GOALKEEPERS: Jeff Caldwell (University of Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downingtown, Pa.)

DEFENDERS: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Joel Soñora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina)

FORWARDS: Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake; Rochester, N.Y.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.)


What do you think of the U.S. roster? How surprised are you to not see Flores or Gall? Which players are you most excited about going into this World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Bummed about Nova not being released, but I think Rubin is pretty strong up top.

    I don’t mind Gall being left off.

    Miazga is playing really well right now, hoping he starts with CCV

    I’d prefer to see Acosta at right back with Payne at left back.

    I’m wondering if Zelalem is cleared to play, maybe Sonora or Hyndman get pushed out wide. I’d also like to see what Sonora would look like as drop forward under Rubin. Maybe tuck Hyndman inside a bit to give Acosta some room to overlap.


  2. Joel Sonora is just too talented not to have made the roster. I look forward to seeing him lead the attack if Zelalem can’t make it.

  3. FIFA needs to A. Demand clubs to release players for youth WC’s and B. Make all rosters the same at 23 man rosters.

    Could you imagine if Messi or Maradonna or Neymar etc… weren’t released for the U-20 WC by their clubs. This tournament would be a joke.

    • I’m a Reading supporter and I’m trying to figure out why Novakovich wasn’t released. He’s been featuring on the u21 team which just got promoted… I’ve heard they are keeping him because he might feature in the 1st team next year and as goal shy as the royals have been I find it hard to believe they think Novakovich would be the answer… would love nothing more to be proven wrong there though!

  4. I’m guessing the last spot is for Zelalem, Yomba , or (Alex Ramos jk). I’m actually going to be in New Zealand during this WC got tickets to the opener, NZ vs US, US vs Ukraine, Ro 16, Semis and the Final.

  5. FIFA is so f***g dysfunctional…. all FIFA official competitions should call for 23 players… full men’s WC, U-20 WC, U-17 WC, Olympics, etc. for both Men and Women.

    stop with these 20, 21, or 23 player rosters, it even changes for the women’s game. BTW, starting with the upcoming Women’s WC in Canada, women’s roster will finally be the same as the men’s.

  6. surprises are no Flores, Boxi, and Novakovich. Gall and Spencer, to an extent, as well. Gooch seemed like he was going to get left off simply due to the depth. crazy the options Ramos has.

    i’m curious who would get the call if FIFA were to not approve GZ in time.

  7. A little surprised that Gall wasn’t included. Overall I think that he’s a bit better than Arriola, but its close. I’m also concerned about the lack of a tall, strong, target type forward. If Novakovich wasn’t available Spencer should have been selected in place of Tall because the team got better in qualifying when he was inserted and they switched to a 4-4-2. Hopefully Payne will start at left back in place of Requejo who’s lack of pace make him a turnstile far too often. Why doesn’t Moore have a team yet? He’s good player that seems to have upside.

  8. Isn’t Julian Green eligible for this? If so he seems like someone who could a) help the team and b) use this as a spring board to get into a better club situation. Is he hurt?

  9. Making the assumption Zelalem is there, my best guess at a starting lineup:


    • That looks pretty damn good. Sub in Allen for Thompson around the 60 minute mark and you have lots of pace up front to run against tired defenses.

      • Allen has really played himself onto the team. He brings a different dimension for sure. I’d like to see Ruben play higher and more centrally because I think that suits him better. Maybe have Arriola play wide left if Zelalem isn’t available.

    • i think EPB starts next to CCV if healthy. those two had interviews a few weeks back saying they liked playing together. granted, that doesn’t really mean anything to the coach.

    • Can’t remember a U.S. team where so many players who have actually produced on the field (at least for the youth squad) have been left out of a team. Gall, Gooch, Novakovich, Pfeffer, Yomba, Donovan, all guys that have showed sparks of at least decent futures who won’t be in New Zealand. Tall is the main headscratcher for me, there are a couple of other guys who seem more deserving, but I can’t complain too much about the roster.

    • He wasn’t released? I thought clubs had to release players for this tournament. Plus, Reading’s season is long over.

      • My optimistic prediction is this is actually a good thing. Maybe Reading contacted Tab and said they had big plans for Novakovich with the first team next season and wanted him there all summer, and Ramos obliged.

      • Nope. Clubs don’t have to release for youth tournaments. FIFA needs to rectify that.

  10. I thought Gall played well in the CONCACAF tournament, but 3 of his 5 goals were from the penalty spot, and the other 2 goals were scored against Aruba. So, it doesn’t seem all that shocking to me to see him left off.

    • Not having Gall is fairly surprising to me; I thought he was a lock, so I’m curious if that knee injury is lingering. The other surprise to me is Tall over Novakovich and, to a degree, Spencer. I would be curious to see who gets called in if Zelalem isn’t available; if he is healthy, I would go with Gall over Flores.

    • Novakovich either… no height at the forward position. some have nagging injuries, some wont be released by their clubs, etc…

    • Novakovich either… no height at the forward position. some have nagging injuries, some wont be released by their clubs, etc, etc,….

      • ——–Rubin——————Tall———
        Acosta—Cam CV–Erik PB—Payne

        Attack, attack, attack attack.

        Gotta get your best 11 on the field.

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