Two years ago Tab Ramos led a very talented group of Americans to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand where they lost to eventual champion Serbia in penalties. It was a bitter way for such a promising crop of talent to see their cycle end. With his success, Ramos has been the subject of several coaching and/or upper management rumors since then. However, he’s yet to find an offer enticing enough to leave his post of USMNT U-20 head coach. The former national team great is set to embark on his third World Cup as U-20 coach and does so with another exciting group of talent looking to possibly advance even further than their predecessors did.
Unlike any previous teams, this one comes into the World Cup off the heels of winning their regional championship. Their triumph at the CONCACAF Championship gives this team a boost heading into this gathering of the world’s best teams. Ramos believes that despite their title of regional champions, they still feel they carry the label of underdogs with them.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the team responds to [coming in as champions],” Ramos said in a teleconference following the official roster announcement. “Normally we like to play the underdog role, and in this case I think although we remain underdogs we go over there as champions...”
The collection of 21 players that Ramos selected for this tournament is a wide-ranging one that consists of players playing in college all the way to players who have played in the FA Cup. Although he wasn’t permitted the use of some of his preferred choices due to European clubs not cooperating, he maintains that he’s very happy with the talent he has at his disposal.
“As far as the roster is concerned, I’m very happy with the roster that we have,” Ramos said.
“This is a talented age group, and regardless of whether we can say, is someone missing or not here or who else we could have to make the team better, I still think that the guys that are here will represent us well and that we have a good team.”
Optimism is always high going into a youth World Cup. Everyone wants to believe that the current group of prospects is the real deal. There are certainly good players on this team, but there is cause for concern that the best players were either not called up or not released as was the case with Schalke’s Americans. While there’s a reason to be worried that this team isn’t as good as it could have been, there’s also cause to be optimistic about the players that are here. There’s some very talented individuals and while some of them might not be high profile or play for prestigious clubs, that’s what this World Cup is for — for them to make a name for themselves.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jonathan Klinsmann (University of California; Newport Beach, Calif.), J.T. Marcinkowski (Georgetown; Alamo, Calif.), Brady Scott (De Anza Force; Petaluma, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (7): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; Salt Lake City, Utah), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur FC; Westcliff-on-Sea, England), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union; Media, Pa.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Aaron Herrera (University of New Mexico; Las Cruces, N.M.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC; Oviedo, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Luca De La Torre (Fulham FC; San Diego, Calif.), Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Eryk Williamson (University of Maryland; Alexandria, Va.), Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal FC; Bethesda, Md.)