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U-20s to provide glimpse of future U.S. stars?
by Mike Woitalla, June 19th, 2013 2:09AM

TAGS:  under-20 world cup, youth boys


By Mike Woitalla

Since the U-20 World Cup was launched in 1977, the biennial tournament has introduced to the world some of soccer's biggest stars.

Diego Maradona famously dazzled at the 1979 tournament in Japan. Others who followed include Enzo Francescoli, Dunga, Davor Suker, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho, Michael Owen and Lionel Messi.

Among the players from the Spain team that has dominated world soccer for the last half decade who played in U-20 World Cups are Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Iker Casillas, Cesc Fabregas and Carles Puyol.

And the odds are fairly good that when the USA plays in the U-20 World Cup in Turkey, where it kicks off against Spain on Friday, we’ll see some players who will one day represent the USA at the senior World Cup.

At each of the last two senior World Cups, more than half the players on the U.S. rosters had been part of a U-20 World Cup squad.

Current U.S. U-20 coach Tab Ramos, who went on to three senior World Cups, played on the U.S. 1983 U-20 World Cup team, along with Paul Caligiuri and Hugo Perez, that was the first to win a game at the competition.

The number of players U.S. U-20 World Cup alumni on senior World Cup squads spiked at the last two tournaments:

YEAR HOST -- U-20 World Cup Alums
1990 Italy -- 6
1994 USA -- 6
1998 France -- 5
2002 South Korea/Japan -- 8
2006 Germany -- 15
2010 South Africa -- 13

U.S. players who went on to make a senior World Cup squad
1977 Tunisia (did not qualify)

1979 Japan (did not qualify)

1981 Australia
John Stollmeyer 1990
Coach Walter Chyzowych (15th place/16 teams)

1983 Mexico
Paul Caligiuri 1990, 1994
Hugo Perez 1994
Tab Ramos 1990, 1994, 1998
Coach Angus McAlpine (11th place/16)

1985 Soviet Union (did not qualify)

1987 Chile
Marcelo Balboa 1990, 1994, 1998
Tony Meola 1990, 1994, 2002
Jeff Agoos 1998, 2002
Kasey Keller 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006
Coach Derek Armstrong (11th place/16)

1989 Saudi Arabia
Mike Burns 1994, 1998
Kasey Keller 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006
Chris Henderson 1990
Coach Bob Gansler (4th place/16)

1991 Portugal (did not qualify)

1993 Australia
Gregg Berhalter 2002, 2006
Coach Bobby Howe (8th place/16)

1995 Qatar (did not qualify)

1997 Malaysia
John O’Brien 2002, 2006
Ben Olsen 2006
Josh Wolff 2002, 2006
Coach Jay Hoffmann (15th place/16)

1999 Nigeria
Chris Albright 2006
Gregg Berhalter 2002, 2006
Carlos Bocanegra 2006, 2010
Steve Cherundolo 2002, 2006, 2010
Tim Howard 2006, 2010
Coach Sigi Schmid (11th place/24 teams)

2001 Argentina
DaMarcus Beasley 2002, 2006, 2010
Edson Buddle 2010
Bobby Convey 2006
Landon Donovan 2002, 2006, 2010
Oguchi Onyewu 2006, 2010
Coach Wolfgang Suhnholz (13th place/24)

2003 UAE
Eddie Johnson 2006
Ricardo Clark 2010
Bobby Convey 2006
Clint Dempsey 2006, 2010
Coach Thomas Rongen (5th place/24)

2005 Netherlands
Benny Feilhaber 2010
Jonathan Spector 2010
Coach Sigi Schmid (11th/24)

2007 Canada
Jozy Altidore 2010
Michael Bradley 2010
Coach Thomas Rongen (7th/24)

Egypt 2009
Coach Thomas Rongen (17th/24)

Colombia 2011 (did not qualify)

USA’s 2013 U-20 WORLD CUP SCHEDULE (first round)
FRIDAY, June 21
ESPN2, WatchESPN, Univision Deportes
USA-SPAIN (live) 1:45 pm.

MONDAY, June 24
ESPN2, WatchESPN, Univision Deportes
USA-FRANCE (live) 10:45 am.

USA-GHANA (live) 1 pm.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: June 19, 2013 at 10:51 a.m.
    Interesting drop off for the number of players graduating to the senior team after 2003 wouldn't you say? 2009 zero so far. They would be our 24-25 year olds now. Shouldn't we have had a few boys step up by now? What does that say about the quality of players we are currently producing?
  1. Albert Harris
    commented on: June 19, 2013 at 1:41 p.m.
    Not disagreeing with your major point that our development of youth players isn't what it could be, Walt, but we have two very important members of the national team that came out of the 20007 U-21 team in Altidore and Bradley.Argentina which won the tournament, has Romero, DiMaria, and Aquero now starting for the national team. Extrapolating starters from the U-20s 6 or 7 years out is always very tricky. I guess what I'm saying is that that particular group of U-20s actually stacks up pretty well in terms of graduating players to the full national team. Certainly stacks up very well compared to the 2005 and 2009 crops.

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