Tab Ramos auditions new talent for U-20 World Cup

By Mike Woitalla

Coach Tab Ramos has called up three players to the U.S. U-20 national team, which is preparing for the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand May 30-June 20, who have never been part of a U.S. youth national team.

The roster includes five MLS players, two collegians, and players based in Germany, England, the Netherlands, Spain and Argentina. Half the players on the 20-man squad that’s training in England March 23-30 and faces England’s U-21s March 29 weren’t part of the squad that qualified with a third-place finish at the U-20 Concacaf Championship in January.

The three newcomers to the program are goalkeeper Thomas Olsen, midfielder Ethan Sonis and defender Desevio Payne.

Olsen, who played youth ball at the Las Vegas Soccer Academy, was a red-shirt freshman at the University of San Diego in 2014 and earned WCC Freshman of the Year honors.

Sonis, a Texas native born to Argentine immigrants, played for Kendall and FC Dallas U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams before joining the reserve team at German Bundesliga club Freiburg.

Payne was born in South Carolina but at age 1 moved to his mother’s native Netherlands, He joined Groningen’s youth system three years ago and in February debuted for the first team, for which he has two starts this season.

“Now that we’ve qualified to the World Cup,” Ramos said. “I obviously have a good gauge in terms of where our players are, and how most players respond because we had them in a very tough competition, in difficult fields, in must-win games. But also, it’s an opportunity to bring in one or two new players over the next couple months and see who’s doing well in their league.”

U.S. U-20 Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell* (Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Thomas Olsen* (Univ. of San Diego).
DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Conor Donovan (Orlando City SC; Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), Shaquell Moore (unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown* (Sporting Kansas City; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne* (Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado* (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland; Santa Cruz, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Ethan Sonis* (Freiburg; Coral Springs, Fla.), Joel Sonora* (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina).
FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Andrija Novakovich* (Reading; Muskego, Wis.), Maki Tall* (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.), Dembakwi Yomba* (Atletico Madrid; Lithonia, Ga.).
* Weren’t in U-20 Concacaf Championship squad.

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