Five days before the USA faces Myanmar in its U-20 World Cup opener in New Zealand, Coach Tab Ramos has been forced to replace midfielder Russell Canouse, who captained the USA during qualifying play.
Canouse suffered an ankle injury in training and has been replaced on the USA’s U-20 World Cup roster by Conor Donovan.
Donovan played in two of the USA’s six games during qualifying and as an alternate has been with the squad in New Zealand and in pre-tournament camps in Australia and Southern California.
“Today was a very tough decision to make,” said Ramos. “Obviously Russell led our team to qualification in the last four matches in Jamaica, so I think that we lose a player that’s very important on the field, but also off the field. So it’s a big loss for us.
“At the same time, we were prepared by having Conor be here the whole time. Conor has been working hard with us, he’s adapted and he has been with the team for a while. So we were ready with a replacement and we’re excited to have Conor on board, who also brings a lot on the field and off the field.”
Conor Donovan (Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer)
Canouse, a Pennsylvania native who for played for the Red Bulls academy before joining Germany’s Hoffenheim in Germany, captained the USA in the final four matches of the 2015 U-20 Concacaf Championship in January after previous captain Kellyn Acosta was injured.
Donovan, a North Carolina product, was the the 22nd overall pick by Orlando City in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft after one season at North Carolina State. He played U.S. Development Academy ball with Capital Area RailHawks Academy-CASL and was in the U.S. U-17 residency program in Bradenton.
The USA opens Group A play against Myanmar on May 30 before facing host New Zealand June 2 and Ukraine June 5.
JURGEN WHO? In FIFA.com's profile of U.S. U-20 captain Emerson Hyndman, the grandson of former FC Dallas and SMU coach Schellas Hyndman, 18-year-old Emerson describes his first call-up for the full national team last September.
He said he didn’t recognize the number and the voice of the other end said: “This is Jurgen,” Hyndman responded: “I don’t know any Jurgens.”
“I got a call and three days later I’m playing with guys I’d just been watching on TV in the World Cup," said Hyndman, who came on as a 67th-minute sub in a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic.
Hyndman and Rubio Rubin are the two players on the U-20 roster who have played for the full national team under Jurgen Klinsmann. Rubin debuted as a starter in a 2-1 loss to Colombia last November and earned two more caps, most recently in a 1-1 tie at Denmark in March.
SECOND DIVISION FOR MOORE? Defender Shaq Moore will find out during the U-20 World Cup whether he’ll be playing in the Spanish third or second division next year. Moore, who grew up Florida and Georgia, signed with Huracan Valencia, the team he’d been training with for much of the last year, earlier this month.
Last weekend, Huracan tied its promotion playoff, first-leg game, 1-1, with UD Logrones on hosts the second leg on Friday.
Shaq Moore (Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer)
Moore, who trained with FC Dallas before leaving for Spain, spoke about his move to MLSSoccer.com’s Scott French:
“I gave MLS a lot of thought. FC Dallas was a great club -- I have nothing but good things to say about them. They invest in their youth, as well, so that was something I thought about. …
“[Huracan] is like a family club. Everyone really has each other's back. It's a smaller club, so everyone sticks together. We stick together like a family.”
In the News: Coach Madness and Website Snafu
* A Long Island youth coach was arraigned on harassment charges for threatening a father who requested more playing time for his 6-year-old.
Nassau police arrested Robert Riccuiti after he sent an e-mail to the parent that read, "However, don't be surprised when I bounce your head off the floor with a Louisville Slugger. And by the way, I am not simply spitting words out. I would actually prefer to settle this in person. You're a pathetic excuse for a man."
* Ohio’s Middletown Youth Soccer Association failed to renew its web site domain name and it was sold to a Russian pornographer. A parent told WCPO Cincinnati he went to the site to get directions for his daughter’s tournament and was unpleasantly surprised.