Eight Mexican-based players called up

[U.S. UNDER-20 MEN] Eight players based at pro clubs in Mexico were called up by Thomas Rongen for the U.S. under-20 national team camp that runs through Monday in San Jose.

Such is the diversity of players available for selection that 11 are based abroad. Besides the eight in Mexico -- three at Monterrey and one at Tigres, Morelia, Cruz Azul, Santos and Guadalajara -- one player each from clubs in Brazil, Costa Rica and Portugal are in camp.

There are also 10 players from the college ranks, including the starting goalkeepers for each of the last two U-17 World Cups in Earl Edwards (who will be a freshman at UCLA) and Zac MacMath (Maryland).
U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Earl Edwards (UCLA), Zac MacMath (Univ. of Maryland), Justin Perez (Monterrey/Mexico)
DEFENDERS: Cristian Flores (Monterrey/Mexico), Greg Garza (Sporting/Portugal), Sacir Hot (Boston College), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Albertson SC), Aubrey Perry (Univ. of South Florida), Gerardo Saavedra (Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Zarek Valentin (Univ. of Akron), Ethan White (Univ. of Maryland)
MIDFIELDERS: Kevyn Batista (Desportivo Brasil/Brazil), Steven Birnbaum (Univ. of California), Victor Garza (Tigres/Mexico), Ernest Nungaray (Morelia/Mexico), Moises Orozco (Real So Cal), Dillon Powers (Univ. of Notre Dame), Roberto Romero (Cruz Azul/Mexico); Conor Shanosky (D.C. United Academy)
FORWARDS: Julio Cesar Castillo (Monterrey/Mexico), Adam Jahn (Stanford Univ.), Ronald Medrano Williams (Alajuelense/Costa Rica), Adrian Ruelas (Santos/Mexico), Omar Salgado (Guadalajara/Mexico)

18 comments about "Eight Mexican-based players called up".
  1. James Froehlich, June 30, 2010 at 8:31 a.m.

    Looks like Rongen is finally worried about his job. Better late than never Thomas but I wouldn't sign any long term leases if I were you !!!!!!!!

  2. Bill Anderson, June 30, 2010 at 12:57 p.m.

    Maybe there is a storm brewing at US Soccer? If the heads roll, let them roll from top to bottom. The soccer public in this nation has matured faster than USSF. It is time for fresh ideas, and I don't want the good ol' boys trying to muscle their way to the front of the parade. It is time for them to step aside.

  3. Felix Moyano, June 30, 2010 at 4:12 p.m.

    It's interesting how this enormous and beautiful country of ours proclaims its 'diversity' to the world but our U.S. National soccer team looks more like the U.S. Olympic Hockey team. U.S. Soccer will begin to make important strides in soccer once we realize EVERYONE (Latinos, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, etc.) get serious consideration for the Men's National team.

    And please stop shoving English-based coaches down our throats and depending upon their 'expertise' for our contry's futbol development. As far as I'm concerned they've done nothing in the past 44 years (and counting) to merit such distinction.


  4. Christian Navarro, June 30, 2010 at 5:01 p.m.

    change is coming with this latin flavor...this means the style of play will change as well and for the better! No longer will we have to employ the long ball technique! Now, only if we keep taping into our latin roots and another question I would like to pose is why is it that a lot of these kids get picked up by Mexican teams and not MLS?

  5. David Huff, July 1, 2010 at 4:11 a.m.

    Yo Christian and Ric, Its a pretty simple case of economics as to why these players play abroad, the Mexican Primera League is the highest-paying league in the Americas, paying much more than Brasil or Argentina and absolutely blowing away MLS which presently can't compete when team salary cap is $2.3 million total (not counting the use of the 3 DPs which eats into some of the cap money). Its simple $ question until such time that MLS payscale/cap allowance goes up we will continue to lose homegrown talent to Europe and Mexico where the lucrative opportunities are much better.

  6. Terence Chu, July 1, 2010 at 4:39 a.m.

    Mix the technique and flair of Mexican soccer with the toughness and never say die attitude of US soccer and you've got a formula that will take us to the semi-finals next time around.

  7. Scott Nelson, July 1, 2010 at 4:52 a.m.

    When I was playing soccer in the 80's, the teams I played on that mixed Latin, European, and American players could almost always beat a homgenous team that was all one flavor. I agree with Terrance. Maybe not about the semifianls part, but at least about performing better at the top level. Interesting though that the African flavor of recent youth teams seems to be absent, at least looking at the names

  8. Joe Shoulders, July 1, 2010 at 9:18 a.m.

    What I find most amazing about this news is that Thomas Rongen is still coaching!

  9. Guy Berg, July 1, 2010 at 10:21 a.m.

    Diversity should be assumed and expected. I am disappointed to hear that there is concern about the ethnic backgrounds of players. However, given the number of youth involved in soccer in the U.S., I am also amazed that there is not better talent being selected for the US teams. In general, the coaching and selection process in the youth programs has a long way to go. I seldom see true teaching of game situation tactics and field strategies. When soccer youth coaching and selection processes catch up to baseball, hockey and basketball the USA will get to the next level of consistent global competitiveness.

  10. I w Nowozeniuk, July 1, 2010 at 11:01 a.m.

    Rongen needs to go and an overhaul of the development system must take place...what is, is not working...U-17 coach must stay, he's a class act and knows how to develop talent. It seems that Mexico has better talent scouts in the U.S. and know what they're doing.

  11. Art Robles, July 1, 2010 at 11:17 a.m.

    No kidding about Thomas Wrongagain. I can't stand how the US keeps trotting this testaments to mediocrity as our youth coaches. Starting at the U17s, this is when the team should be learning the tactical side of the game. This is when players and systems should be fitted. Wrongagain can't do it.

    VERY interesting that one of the call ups is a Chivas man. Wonder if this will make him not Mexican enough to stay on the team.

  12. Mark Ellis, July 1, 2010 at 11:47 a.m.

    I agree with the statements so far; more diversity in the players and Mr. Huff is correct that it's all about economics.
    The MLS is one of the poorest paying leagues in the world. Not much reason to play here if you're a talented player and the salary is much higher elsewhere.

    And please; no more coaches for our National Teams from the US. Before you counter that Rongen is "from Holland and not from the US", realize he never played for the first team while with Ajax. The majority of his football was played here in the American leagues. Let's employ someone who has won some worldly titles and has experience training/coaching world football.

  13. James Froehlich, July 1, 2010 at 1:09 p.m.

    For my education, could someone tell me if this (the large number of Mexican based players) ever happened before?? I don't want to get "all conspiratorial" but isn't this a REAL COINCIDENCE that as a new coach is being talked about along with a new direction towards ethnic players, we have Mr. Rongen suddenly seeing the light!!!

  14. N J F, July 1, 2010 at 2:29 p.m.

    It is nice to know that we have players with US availability playing in a quality league like the premera. I agree with Mr. Ellis about economics, too. I wonder if Reyna's appointment had anything to do with the recognition of developing talent in Mexico.

  15. David Huff, July 1, 2010 at 2:45 p.m.

    A warm thanks to Ric and Mark, it certainly helps to be around youth soccer in SoCal, where you hear discussions of where talented youth players are headed. The kids are pretty smart in figuring out where the $$$ aare to be made and thus the departures to Mexico and entry-level clubs in Europe such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc. I think our youth system needs to be vastly revamped so that it can produce technically gifted players such as other countries. To me the model is not Mexico but rather Brasil which produces the world's best players. A lot of this is because of the futsal training that Brasilian kids are exposed to when they are younger, 9-13 yrs. old. This training maximizes touches on the ball which produces great ball comfort and technique. It is this type of training that should be introduced into our youth system that will make us a world powerhouse.

  16. Bertrand Hamilton, July 1, 2010 at 8:04 p.m.

    Ball possession! Ball possession with some strategic American muscle can take us a long way.

  17. Jared Bartlam, July 2, 2010 at 11:56 a.m.

    I definitely agree with Huff about trying to model our youth systems to those of Brazil. It's been a long time coming that there needed to be some changes on all levels of our youth systems, I would agree that we need to keep U-17 coach Cabrera. I don't know about some of the comments about diversity in our teams, I would agree with Latin players but saying we lack African Americans I would definitely disagree. I also wonder why you are disappointed with these kids going to the Primera and Europe. They make more money PLUS the main reason I want them out of the MLS is because those players that leave develop technically faster than those here. Great example, Torres, never played in the MLS is one of the more technical players we have on the squad. I also can't stand that the MLS is one of two leagues where the league own the rights to the players so they control when a player can leave to go overseas. I hope that our young and promising players skip the MLS and go straight to Europe or the Primera.

  18. Reuben Valles, July 9, 2010 at 12:39 a.m.

    Personally, i dont think there is anything wrong with our current style of play. No we are not an elite 4 or 5 team in the world yet, but we are a very good team. Round of 16 berths are nothing to scoff at. That is a real accomplishment. We can do better, but lets not turn our backs on a true accomplishment.

    Now i am totally ready for a little more flair, but at this point we havent found the right hispanic player who can play with the fitness level needed. For instance, Torres is a tremendous talent, but he does not possess the ability/fitness yet to run the field in the manner that is required. He is a small and slow. We need another Feilhaber type player who has size, speed, fitness, and a little more technical ability. Torres has the technical ability, but lacks the size, strength, and speed.

    I hope everyone realizes that although the Brazilians have technical ability ooozing out their ears, they also have one of the largest teams in the world sizewise. They are a big strong group. As is Germany. Brazil is not good because of latin flair. They have size and technical ability, again like the Germans. I only mention this because i love Torres, but i am not blinded to his inadequacies.

    The US is a good team and i do not believe a whole change in philosophy and style is required. They need a few more athletes with technical ability. Guys in 2002, we tied the Germans in the quarter finals if not for a blown call. I dont mention this to bring up sour grapes, but it needs to be realized that our current style and method is not as poor as most would try and make us believe. I do realize we need to improve, but the glass is a little more full than it is empty....thats all i am saying.

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