U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named a 20-player roster to defend the team’s confederation title at the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship, which takes place from Nov. 1-21 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The 2018 tournament marks Concacaf’s largest Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament ever, with 34 member associations participating. The top four teams will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, set for May 23 to June 15 in Poland.
As the tournament’s top seed, the U.S. was drawn into Group A and opens the tournament against Puerto Rico (Nov. 1), followed by U.S. Virgin Islands (Nov. 3), Trinidad and Tobago (Nov. 5) and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Nov. 7) before finishing up against Suriname (Nov. 9).
“I’m looking forward to this U-20 World Cup Qualifying challenge,” Ramos said. “This new format provides opportunities to many nations and makes the qualifying process much more difficult. Although our preparation will be short, we will be ready to defend our first-ever Concacaf title”
2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship Roster by Position (Club or College; Hometown)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Brady Scott (FC Koln; Petaluma, Calif.), 12-CJ Dos Santos (S.L Benfica; Philadelphia, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting KC; Charlotte, N.C.), 3-Chris Gloster (Hannover 96; South Orange, N.J.), 4-Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.), 5-Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union; Drexel Hill, Pa.), 14-Manny Perez (N.C. State; Garner, N.C.), 16-Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; Lompac, Calif.), 19-Samual Rogers (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Brandon Servania (FC Dallas; Birmingham, Ala.), 8-Juan Pablo Torres (K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen; Lilburn, Ga.), 8-Alex Mendez (SC Freiburg; Los Angeles, Calif.), 10-Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Tex.), 15-Anthony Fontana (Philadelphia Union; Newark, Del.), 18-Isaac Angking (New England Revolution; Providence, R.I.)
FORWARDS (5): 9-Justin Rennicks (Indiana.; Hamilton, Mass.), 11-Ulysses Llanez (Unattached; Lynwood, Calif.), 13-Griff Dorsey (Indiana; Evergreen, Colo.), 17-Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC; Detroit, Mich.), 20-Frankie Amaya (UCLA; Santa Ana, Calif.)
The new Concacaf U-20 Championship format features four groups of six teams and two groups of five teams. Following round-robin group play, the top team in each of the six groups will advance to the qualification stage, where they will be divided into two groups of three. After a second edition of round-robin play, the two group winners plus the second-place finishers will qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Additionally, the two group winners will advance to the tournament final to determine the regional champion.
Teams qualifying for the qualification stage of the tournament will be permitted to amend the 20-player roster and replace up to six players within 24 hours following completion of their final group stage match.
The USA returns to the confederation tournament as defending champion after capturing its first title at the U-20 level in March of 2017, defeating Honduras via penalty kicks in the final. The team went on to reach the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic, where it lost to eventual tournament runners-up Venezuela 2-1 in extra time.
FC Dallas U-15/16 team that won the 2016 Development Academy Championship. Pomykal was also part of the club’s U17/18 team that also won the championship that year.
USA U-20 QUALIFYING AND WORLD CUP HISTORY:
The U.S. U-20 MNT is competing in the Concacaf Youth Tournament or Championship for the 27th time. In addition to winning the 2017 title, the USA has earned second place in the qualification tournament six times (1980, 1982, 1986, 1992, 2009, 2013).
The U.S. has qualified for 15 of 21 FIFA World Youth Championships/FIFA U-20 World Cups since the biannual tournament started in 1977, including 10 of the last 11 and three straight under the guidance of Ramos. The team was eliminated in the quarterfinals in each of the last two World Cups, falling on penalties to eventual champion Serbia in 2015 and in extra time to runner-up Venezuela in 2017. The USA’s best U-20 World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia.