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Projecting the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team roster


The 2020 Olympics are currently 19 months away and for U.S. Soccer the goal will be to prepare a team to qualify for it.

After not qualifying for either of the last two tournaments, the U.S. will have an opportunity to not only prepare for a top international competition, but continue to give young players the chance to develop.

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter stated in Tuesday’s conference call that several players who were not called up for the March friendlies will be eligible for the U-23s.

Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent, and Antonee Robinson are three examples of players who earned caps in 2018 but were not called in to Berhalter’s March camp.

Several other European-based and MLS-based players will be considered with a camp being expected to happen later this year.

Here’s a look at what the first U-23 roster could be taking into consideration players ages by November 2020:


Jonathan Klinsmann, Brady Scott, David Ochoa

With Zack Steffen and Ethan Horvath being the top pair for the senior team, Jonathan Klinsmann can use this role to grow as an international player. Appearing regularly for Hertha Berlin’s U-23 team, Klinsmann can look to translate that over to the U.S. U-23’s but also help groom younger keepers like Brady Scott and David Ochoa.


Cameron Carter-Vickers, Antonee Robinson, Justen Glad, Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown, Auston Trusty, Chris Gloster

With plenty of veteran defenders available for the senior roster, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Antonee Robinson, and Shaq Moore will be the headliners of this group. All three earned caps in 2018 and are continuing their development at club level abroad, but still could use some fine-tuning against tougher competition.

Erik Palmer-Brown is fighting for first-team minutes at NAC Breda, while Chris Gloster is appearing for Hannover II regularly. Brooks Lennon is a player that will find it tough to get back into the USMNT fold with DeAndre Yedlin and Nick Lima ahead of him on the pecking order.

Justen Glad has played for the U-20’s in the past and is a player that has shined for RSL. Auston Trusty is a face for the future of the USMNT in the backline, but needs to gain more experience with the U-23s in order to truly make an impact with the senior group.


Jonathan Amon, Luca De La Torre, Anthony Fontana, Brooks Lennon, Djordje Mihailovic, Emmanuel Sabbi

Even though Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams meet the age requirement there isn’t any realistic way they drop down to this team. There may not be plenty of players with U.S. Youth National Team experience here, but all of them can bring something different to the table.

Djordje Mihailovic needs international minutes in order to get himself familiar with what is expected at this level. He shined in the January camp, but with many European-based players coming in, it will be hard for him to earn a spot once competitive matches come along.

Brooks Lennon is a regular in MLS and is versatile enough to play on the outside of midfield. Anthony Fontana may find it tough to get noticed for the senior team, but if he is productive then it will put him in a good situation. Luca De La Torre and Jonathan Amon are talented creative players who deserve opportunities to showcase what they can bring.

Like Amon, Emmanuel Sabbi fights for time domestically in Denmark’s Superligaen. He has provided goals at times for Hobro, but really hasn’t been tested at this level with the U.S.


Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah, Haji Wright, Sebastian Soto

Josh Sargent and Timothy Weah were named by Gregg Berhalter as players who will see time at this level. Despite scoring for their European clubs, both players still are developing in some areas and would benefit greatly from the playing time.

Both have scored for the USMNT, but are lacking consistent starts with Werder Bremen and Celtic respectively. Long-term this would benefit both parties as Sargent and Weah will be looked at in the future by Berhalter.

Haji Wright is a forgotten man in some ways but can be included back into the U.S. fold in this camp. The 20-year-old appeared for Schalke’s first-team earlier in the season but since has dropped into the reserves. He adds physicality to the attacking front and could work well with the other versatile forwards in the group.

Sebastian Soto has racked up goals with Hannover’s U-19 side and recently trained with the senior group. This would be the next step in his development but will be a major jump in competition. Regardless, he deserves a shot to show what he can do and what better time than now.


  1. The U-23 camps should be focusing on the best players who are likely to be released for the Olympic Qualification tournament. That means players who ply their trade in MLS, Liga MX, European Youth sides, USL players, and College players.
    None of the European 1st team players are going to be released for Olympic Qualification unless they have it specifically written into their contracts (which most don’t). That means that players like: CCV, EPB, Robinson, Weah, Adam, McKennie, Sargent, etc… should not be considered until after the qualification tournament is over. Till then, if they are as good as or better than their Older counterparts (Gonzalez, Villafana, Baird, Lovitz, Ream, Trapp, Roldan, Ramirez, etc…) they should be included with the Sr. USMNT.

    The latest roster selections are a slap in the face to these young talents who are in many cases clearly better than their older “Veteran” counterparts. And it is a slap in the face to the US Fans/Supporters who are expected to buy tickets to the games.

    It’s almost as if we are still living with Arena as the coach. And if the future rosters continue down this same path I expect our performances will match that of the recent Arena tenure.

  2. not sure if this camp is actually happening, and if it does is it age restricted at all? if the U20’s are doing a separate camp?

    Shaq Moore is not eligible for the 2020 Olympics
    if the U20’s are available get Dest, Mendez, Ledezma, Taitigue, Tillman, list goes on.

  3. Depends on whether you are talking about a camp next week, this summer, for qualifying, or for the Olympics. In each case you would have access to different sets of people. You would only see the full team for the Olympics, and that’s “maybe.” Next week (if any) would be surplus, minor league, college, or youth players because both MLS and Europe are in session and I am aware of no game to justify release. In the summer you might get Euros for a camp and MLS for the games. In qualifying you might get MLS, college, minors, European youth age group teams. So for a theoretical camp next week, wipe anyone who starts in MLS or is even on a European first team off the list. MLS would likely play along with (summer?) games as opposed to camps, as well as qualifying.

    This is why a lot of this glib talk about getting star European prospect players for U23 camps is rubbish. You are not getting Celtic with Weah on loan for a matter of months to skip so much as one game, or maybe even practice. Or Sargent, who is now first team. You won’t even get the list of second division England players or the like. You might get people on U19 or U23 teams over there. You might get people MLS can spare.

    • Think “Luca de la Torre,” not “CCV.” There are actually some interesting people on things like Arsenal U21 or Barca U19 or Gent II or some German youth team, dual nationals. There are MLS bench players or USL loan guys. College kids with free time. What grinds my gears is GB was NT, starting while playing abroad, and should already have an idea about all this. But then the reality — brushed aside like saying he was a midtable coach — is he was generally a bench option for the NT behind Agoos and Pope. Agoos got hurt and he had 2 important games. But by 2006 he was getting torched by Germany right before the world cup and he disappeared back to the bench. We have overrated what we have and thus are surprised he makes basic glitches re personnel access. I think his system is innovative.
      I am not sure if he grasps who the right personnel are, or the written and unwritten codes of when you can secure what players for which team. Hmmm.

      • Best team:
        Weah Sargent
        Pulisic McKennie Adams Amon
        Cannon Glad CCV Moore

        Kelman Balogun de la Fuente
        Parks Mihailovic DelaTorre Ariyibi Scott Tillman kids Lankford Hoffman Lederman Carleton Aranguiz Durkin
        McKenzie Olosunde Dest Malone Lindsey

      • I’m sure I missed some of the U20s. Added concern: we seem largely unconcerned with fighting for dual nationals. I thought he was the bridge between Arena and Klinsi. His teams look like Arena teams or mostly domestics.

    • I am seeing much of the US Soccer media establishment (even writers on this site) perpetuate this nonsense about Weah and Sargent and others being left out of the NATs for some BS youth camp. They are better off practicing with their club teams. Why isn’t anyone seriously questioning how Berhalter can imply that players like Sargent, who are scoring in the Bundesliga, wouldn’t even be able to get some minutes for the NATs because of the likes of Zardes or Jordan Morris. Berhalter wins a couple games against crap teams and suddenly he get’s the treated with kids gloves or worse is getting his ass kissed by a bunch of groupies.

      • Tell me why your really mad son lol!!!! It’s always funny to read these over the top, the sky is falling comments where fans think they know better than people who get paid to do this for a living. Listen man, Weah and Sargent will get their shine, you’re getting your panties in a bunch about ONE camp roster for a set of friendlies that don’t mean anything. I think Greg’s approach to the bigger picture makes sense, because if our younger players aren’t playing regularly at their clubs then they aren’t progressing. Weah and Sargent haven’t played a lot lately and there is a reason for that. There is a benefit in allowing them to play with other players in their age group to build chemistry and to continue to develop the right way. Missing a set of meaningless friendlies this early in #process means nothing in terms of the end goal

      • “Reality” was not meant as a diss per se, more as an adjustment, a reality check. Some of the “reality” players are fairly decent or may yet turn out great. Just more like, you are not getting first team European players for qualifying. You are getting their youth teamers plus those who MLS releases. It won’t be some Weah and Sargent dream team. It will be players earlier in their development curve, at least for foreign based. This is one reason the US now struggles in YNT tourneys at the older age groups, is the pool went from HS and college kids we could control to signed pros for whom we had to ask.

  4. Wow…..This roster actually looks better than even the senior USMNT with a Bradley / Trapp midfield and Altidore / Wood up top with Tim Ream / Gonzalez somewhere in the back…..Hmmm ?

    • New, unproven pu**y always looks better. The fantasy of every fan…on every team everywhere. I have been working etensively with a French organization and just like here….their younger player already look better than their 22-25 year olds who just won the cup. Fans are obvious and so damn predictable.
      Klinnman does not start regularly for the their U23’s. He is a poor keeper. Many better in MLS, but that is what happens when u r a kid of privilege. Get a lot more chances than most. Hertha wishes his contract would just end, and their will be little to no interest from elsewhere. He will come back here….and then be out of the game in a few years. Thanks for the ride dad.

      • I totally agree in principle about the shiny new thing syndrome. And contrary to some here- I am not adamantly against keeping young players in U23/U20 sides to get playing time. Seems prudent. Unfortunately- the problem is…. our program has a big gap w/ a generation lost that hinders that luxury. Some of the players brought into the senior team have certainly proven themselves- the unfortunate thing is- they have proven themselves below International quality.

      • We did not make the world cup and then a lot of the older players aged out, so this is not people trying to shove youth players on a world cup quarters roster. This is we lost Dempsey, Howard, and others; some of these players like Bradley and Omar should be joining them; the players who would be left like Nagbe and such are underwhelming; and the vast majority of interesting and productive players on the team are young. Now, I would grant that any given player, due to how young we are having to rebuild, may not in fact turn out. But you police that by making them earn their positions relative to the next person, who may be just as young or even the next U20 class. I see it as an iterative process of looking for more Pulisics and Sargents. I get that you risk some Trapps in the process. But that’s more about is the coach independent and thorough enough to find his best, or lazy, finds a unit, and stops. To me the bigger danger is actually complacency when you are in a young rebuild. You have to make the players compete for time and prove their worth. This is why I complain about pecking orders as opposed to performance, pedigree over what you see on tape.

    • Damn, if you really really think about it, for players 28 and above, we have no real Talent to rely on or carry the team in regards to the National Team (the era of Donovans, Dempseys, Howards, Beasleys, YOUNG BRADLEY etc). What happen in terms of player development?!!! Take away Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams (who qualify AND SHOULD BE PLAYING / Winning trophies for the U23)…..and the senior team is absolute SH!!!TTTTT??? ? !!!!!!!!

      • That’s kind of what i was getting at. My theory is for a period of about 5 years we were barren of the sort of Landon Donovan type stud that helps carry this sort of team to good things, and that’s why we didn’t qualify. The 2014 core got old and older. In that sense Bradley is as much a broader symbol as a specific roster entity. The set of guys coming up behind him like Acosta and Nagbe are not the same class we have always had. So the team slipped. The generation coming up, beginning with Steffen and Pulisic and Weah and Sargent, is a return to what we used to produce like Landon and Beasley. But to compete in soccer you need several such players accumulated. To me it’s going to take a few iterations of new stars coming in to re-elevate the team. And since many U23 and U20 players flame out, some of these guys who everyone wants to plan on, won’t really take off. Which is why I say that the new players coming in should be judged on performance and not snob appeal, and that performance needs to be constantly compared to whether new guys are an upgrade. Which is one reason I don’t like shipping younger players back to youth teams, is this rebuilding team should basically be a free for all that starts the best XI each camp. You earn incumbency and such by solid practical achievement and routine top notch play.

      • Two subtle things I think caused it were the end of Bradenton residency and us training up our own future core players, and the expansion of MLS international and DP slots which means they no longer have to rely on many? any? domestic attacking players. You can just go buy Ibra instead. You can field a team of 8 or more foreign starters. The league has improved but the focus on the domestic player has decreased.

  5. If this actually comes to fruition, I’ll be a bit more ok with the USMNT omissions. (They still don’t have Alfredo Morales or Duane Holmes so…) But, keeping several of these guys, particularly those with multiple passports, involved is key. Also, I just want to see if anyone has any insight on Shaq Moore right now. It seems to me someone playing in the Spanish third tier semi-infrequently and nowhere near his first team doesn’t deserve a call-up. I mean, Mukwelle Akale isn’t at this level, right?

    • Shaq is too old for this team. Anyone born before 1997 is ineligible and he’s a ’96.
      He was a regular starter in the 2nd tier until Reus folded for the year due to financial reasons.
      He returned to Levante’s reserves (3rd tier)- where he starts and plays 90+ in every single match.
      also: Villarreal streams their reserves matches for free on twitter, so you can check Akale out there. I think he’s good enough for this level.


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