Ramos calls up 18 players for qualifying

[USA UNDER-20 MEN] U.S. under-20 national team coach Tab Ramos named an 18-player roster for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Feb. 18-March 3 in Puebla, Mexico.

The U.S. is looking to qualify for the 2013 U-20 World Cup, which takes place June 21-July 13 in Turkey. The top four teams -- the four quarterfinal winners -- from the CONCACAF U-20 Championship advance to the U-20 World Cup.

The team departed for Toluca, Mexico, today and will head to Puebla next week to prepare for the tournament.

“We are excited and looking forward to the World Cup qualification process with this group of players,” Ramos said. “This is a cohesive, talented and professional roster, and the majority of the players were on hand for our two international friendly matches against Panama in January. Having played those games in Puebla will be helpful for qualifying as the players are now familiar with the environment we will face in the CONCACAF Championship.”

The U.S. is grouped with Costa Rica and Haiti in Group A and opens the tournament against Haiti on Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. ET at Estadio Olimpico Universitario Lobos BUAP in Puebla. The USA then faces Costa Rica at 6:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 22 at Estadio Olimpico. Should the USA advance to the quarterfinals, its match would take place on Feb. 26.

The U.S. roster features 11 professional players -- five from MLS, three from Mexico, two from Germany and one from England -- six college players and one high school player.

Two more players are expected to be added to the team though foreign clubs are not required to release their players.

Hertha Berlin's John Anthony Brooks was called up for the German U-20 team's game against Italy but did not dress Wednesday. Midfielder Marc Pelosi has been starting for Liverpool's U-21 team.

U.S. U-20 Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton/ENG), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara Univ.), Zackary Steffen (FC Delco)
DEFENDERS (5): Eric Miller (Creighton Univ.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Guadalajara/MEX), Boyd Okwuonu (Univ. of North Carolina), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Javan Torre (UCLA)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Benji Joya (Santos/MEX), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City), Caleb Stanko (Freiburg/GER), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (5): Brandon Allen (Georgetown Univ.), Daniel Cuevas (Santos/MEX), Daniel Garcia (Univ. of North Carolina), Mario Rodriguez (Kaiserslautern/GER) Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)

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