The top American scorer in U-20 World Cup history? That would be Jozy Altidore, with five goals in 2007 when the USA beat Brazil and Uruguay en route to a quarterfinal finish.
The USA has not won a knockout stage game at the biennial world championship since. Coach Tab Ramos said -- after naming 20 of the 21 players he’ll take to the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand (May 30-June 30) -- that improving his offense has been focus since his team qualified in January. In hopes of finding a new Altidore, Ramos has added three forwards who weren't part of the qualifying roster.
PAUL KENNEDY: USA takes most experienced team to U-20 World Cup
“I was very happy with how we performed defensively,” said Ramos of his team’s third-place finish at the Concacaf Championship. “We limited our opponents’ opportunities. We finished the tournament with four shutouts. I think defensively we were the best in the tournament.”
But on the other end of the field, squandered chances created do-or-die games after the USA opened with a 1-1 tie to Guatemala and a 1-0 loss to Panama.
“We led the tournaments in shots, but we didn’t finish enough of those,” Ramos said. That’s going to be something we’re focusing on in the weeks before the tournament.”
Midfielder Romain Gall was the tournament’s co-leading scorer with five goals -- three from the penalty spot – but his lack of playing time with the Columbus Crew cost him a roster spot. Fellow midfielder Junior Flores was also dropped as Ramos added Marco Delgado (Toronto FC) and Joel Sonora (Boca Juniors), who were injured before qualifying.
U.S. U-20 World Cup all-time Leading Scorers
5 Jozy Altidore (2007)
4 Eddie Johnson (2003)
4 Taylor Twellmann (1999)
3 Danny Szetela (2007)
3 Chris Faklaris (1993)
3 Steve Snow (1989)
The frontline players added who weren’t part of qualifying are Rubio Rubio, Maki Tall and Jordan Allen.
Rubio is a frequent starter with Dutch club FC Utrecht, which didn’t release him for qualifiers, and he has played three times for Jurgen Klinsmann.
Tall, born in Washington, D.C., moved with his family to Senegal at age 7 and to his parents’ homeland, Ivory Coast, at age 11. He is currently playing for French third division Red Star on loan from Lille.
Allen has played in eight of nine Real Salt Lake games this season, starting three times and scoring once after being injured most of last season.
Moreover, Bradford Jamieson, who scored a clutch goal in a 1-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago, has been starting for the Los Angeles Galaxy and scored his first MLS goal late last month.
“When you look at the 92 shots we had in the [qualifying] tournament, we should have scored 25 goals,” said Ramos. “We scored only 14. And for me, that’s not great in a Concacaf tournament. …
”Finishing chances is going to be crucial at the World Cup, because we won’t get as many.”
USA U-20 World Cup roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jeff Caldwell (University of Virginia; Todd, N.C.), *Ethan Horvath (Molde FK; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), *Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downingtown, Pa.) .
DEFENDERS (6): *Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), *Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), *Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), *John Requejo (Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (6): *Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), *Paul Arriola (Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), *Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), *Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Joel Soñora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina).
FORWARDS (5): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake; Rochester, N.Y.), *Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), *Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.).
*On qualifying roster.
Coach Michelle French has named a 24-player roster for a May 9-18 camp in Carson, Calif.
French, who’s preparing the USA for qualifying for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup -- for players born in 1996 or later -- is using the camp to make final roster selections for the U-20 Women's NTC Invitational June 2-6 in Carson against Japan, Brazil and Mexico.
The youngest players in the squad are U-17 midfielder Ashley Sanchez, a '99, and 1998-born Mallory Pugh, Jordan Harr and Savannah DeMelo. The rest of the roster is made up of ’96- and ’97-born players.
The Concacaf U-20 World Cup qualifying tournament is scheduled for Dec. 3-13, 2015 in Honduras.
U.S. U-20 Women’s Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Samantha Leshnak (Ohio Elite; Liberty Township, Ohio), Casey Murphy (Rutgers; Bridgewater, N.J.), Caroline Brockmeier (Florida State; Tallahassee, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (Match Fit FC; Far Hills, N.J.), Maddie Elliston (Penn State; Omaha, Neb.), Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), Natalie Jacobs (Slammers FC; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Courtney Petersen (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State; Fairfax Station, Va.), Jessie Scarpa (UNC; Lakeland, Fla.).
MIDFIELDERS (10): Jorian Baucom (LSU; Phoenix, Az.), Megan Buckingham (UNC; Novi, Mich.), Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), Mikaela Harvey (Texas A&M; Liberty Hill, Texas), Gabrielle Matulich (UCLA; Los Gatos, Calif.), Emily Ogle (Penn State; Strongsville, Ohio), Katie Cousins (Tennessee; Forest, Va.), Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.).
FORWARDS (4): Kelcie Hedge (Washington Premier FC; Post Falls, Idaho), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Taylor Racioppi (PDA; Ocean Township, N.J.), Katie Pingel (So Cal Blues; Torrance, Calif.).
U.S. U-17 girls head to Chula Vista
U.S. U-17 girls national team coach B.J. Snow has named a 28-player roster for a May 9-16 camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
Snow is preparing for qualifying for the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup -- for players born in 1999 or later. Six players in this squad were born in 2000, the rest in 1999.
Not in the squad is midfielder Ashley Sanchez, a ’99 who is training with Coach Michelle French’s U-20 squad.
U.S. U-17 Girls Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Hillary Beall (So Cal Blues; Laguna Beach, Calif.), Brooke Bollinger (Space Coast United; Indialantic, Fla.), Laurel Ivory (Sunrise SC; Surfside, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (8): Chyanne Dennis (West Pines United FC; Sunrise, Fla.), Naomi Girma (Central Valley Crossfire; San Jose, Calif.), Karlie Paschall (Tennessee SC; Brentwood, Tenn.), Kiara Pickett (Eagles SC; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Isabel Rodriguez (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), Karina Rodriguez (So Cal Blues; Torrance, Calif.), Sophia Serafin (West Coast FC; Glendora, Calif.), Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion; West Chester, Pa.).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Emina Ekic (Javanon; Fairdale, Ky.), Nicolette Hernandez (NSA Rockets; Naperville, Ill.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Alexis Loera (Colorado Storm; Thornton, Colo.), Brianna Pinto (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Ashlynn Serepca (Carolina Rapids; Cornelius, N.C.), Taryn Torres (Solar-Chelsea SC; Frisco, Texas), Olivia Wade (LaRoca FC; Kaysville, Utah).
FORWARDS (9): McKinley Burkett (Richmond United; Moseley, Va.), Sydney Carr (Arsenal FC; Orange, Calif.), Rachael Dorwart (PA Classics; Mechanicsburg, Pa.), Paige Franks (Richmond United; Henrico, Va.), Civana Kuhlmann (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Tara McKeown (Eagles SC; Newbury Park, Calif.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Alexa Spaanstra (Michigan Hawks; Brighton, Mich.), Jordan Taylor (Ohio Premier Eagles; Wadsworth, Ohio).
U.S. U-14 boys head to Croatia
Coach Brian Johnson has named a 20-player U.S. U-14 boys national team squad a May 7-17 camp in Croatia that will include games against Croatia and Serbia.
The trip marks the U-14s’ second foreign trip and fourth camp of the year. They went to Spain in February and in April Johnson gathered 36 players – 16 of which are in the current squad – for camp in Southern California. Sixteen players for them
U.S. U-14 Boys Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Cole McNally (Celtic, Mt. Airy, Md.), Nicolas Defreitas-Hansen (Weston FC; Southwest Ranches, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (8): Dominic De Almeida (PDA; Lincoln Park, N.J.), Cameron Duke (Sporting KC; Olathe, Kan.), Abraham Gonzalez (FC Golden State; Riverside, Calif.), Luke Hansen (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), John Hilton (Unattached; Long Beach, Calif.), Julian Hinojosa (FC Dallas; Garland, Texas.), Sebastian Serpa (Weston FC; Miami Beach, Fla.), Joey Zarra (Oakwood SC; Cheshire, Conn.).
MIDFIELDERS (5): Timothy Bielic (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Taylor Booth (La Roca Utah; Eden, Utah), Nick Fernandez (unattached; Downers Grove, Ill.), Marcelo Palomino (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas), Indiana Vassilev (IMG Academy; Savannah, Ga.).
FORWARDS (5): Luis Arriaga (Santa Rosa; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Konrad de la Fuente (FC Barcelona; Barcelona, Spain), Ulysses Llanez (Chivas USA; Lynwood, Calif.), Jose Rivas (Weston FC; Weston, Fla.), Gabriel Segal (Bethesda-Olney; Bethesda, Md.).