Nineteen players who weren't part of the USA's Concacaf U-20 Championship win last month are part of Coach Tab Ramos' April 3-10 training camp in London, England, in preparation for the 2017 U-20 World Cup that kicks off in late May.
“This camp provides one more opportunity for players we have already seen with the U-20 national team and also players who have done well with our U-19 national team,” Ramos said. “We will be able to see players in highly competitive environments playing against very good competition.”
Among those called in is outside back Marcello Borges, who missed the qualifying tournament with an injury. Ten players are making their U-20 player pool
debuts: Danny Barbir, Sebastian Des Pres, Felipe Hernandez, Lagos Kunga, Djordje Mihailovic, Keaton Parks, Stephen Payne, Brandon Terwege and Mason Toye.
Barbir played for the USA at the 2015 U-17 World Cup. He as well as Hernandez, Mihailovic, Kunga, Terwege and Toye have played for Coach Brad Friedel's U.S. U-19 national team. Southern Californian Payne left UCLA after his sophomore year to join Portugal’s Estoril Praia. Texan Parks has played 10 games for Portuguese second division Varzim. Des Pres, formerly of RSL-Arizona, plays for the U-18s of English four-tier club Blackpool.
“All players coming in to this camp have the potential to make our U-20 World Cup final squad,” Ramos said. “I am sure that there will be a few players who will be selected for the U-20 World Cup based on their performance at this camp.”
Mukwelle Akale is one of the European-based players who wasn't available for the qualifying tournament.
The USA, in Group F play of the 2017 U-20 World Cup, faces Ecuador (May 22), (May 25) and Saudi Arabia (May 28).
U.S. U-20 men’s national team
GOALKEEPERS (4): Jonathan Klinsmann* (Univ. of California; Newport Beach, Calif.), JT Marcinkowski* (Georgetown Univ.; Alamo, Calif.), Brady Scott (De Anza Force; Petaluma, Calif.), Justin Vom Steeg (Fortuna Dusseldorf; Santa Barbara, Calif.).
DEFENDERS (8): Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy; Norwalk, Calif.), Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.), Marcello Borges (Univ. of Michigan; Kearny, N.J.), Aaron Herrera* (Univ. of New Mexico; Casa Grande, Ariz.), John Nelson (Internationals SC; Medina, OH), Keaton Parks (Plano, Texas; Unattached), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC; Arlington, Mass.), Brandon Terwege (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Texas).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Mukwelle Akale (Villarreal CF; Minneapolis, Minn.), Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire; Bridgeview, IL), Jeremiah Gutjahr* (Indiana University; Bloomington, IN), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire; Bridgeview, Ill.), James Murphy (Sheffield Wednesday F.C.; Scotch Plains, N.J.), Yosef Samuel (Bethlehem Steel FC; Atlanta, Ga.), Eryk Williamson* (Univ. of Maryland; Alexandria, Va.).
FORWARDS (6): Sebastien Des Pres (Blackpool FC; San Diego, Calif.), Felipe Hernandez (Swope Park Rangers; Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Lagos Kunga (Atlanta United FC, Tucker, Ga.), Stephen Payne (Estoril Praia; Birmingham, Ala.), Emmanuel Sabbi* (UD Las Palmas; Columbus, OH), Mason Toye (PDA, South Orange, N.J.).
* Part of Concacaf U-20 Championship squad.
Hugo Perez takes charge of Northern California's Juventus
Hugo Perez, a Hall of Famer and former U.S. U-14 and U-15 national team coach and former U.S. Soccer Northwest Technical Advisor, has joined Northern California youth club Juventus as Director of Coaching and Youth Development.
“I am extremely excited to join Juventus Sport Club,” said Perez in a press release. “I think that with all the players that we have in this country, we could play great football. Not good — but great football. And it is my goal and pledge to ensure that Juventus Sport Club is known throughout the country as the premier club for youth development.”
Juventus, which competes in the U.S. Soccer Boys Development Academy, was founded in 1956 by Italian immigrants.
Perez’s U-14 U.S. national team in 2012 included players such as Luca De La Torre, Matthew Olosunde, Christian Pulisic, Joshua Perez and Haji Wright who went on to represent the USA at the 2015 U.S. U-17 World Cup. He moved on to coach the U-15 national team before being replaced in 2014. Ian Mork succeeded Perez as Northwest Technical Advisor, but Mork has recently left the post and U.S. Soccer has not yet named a replacement.
Sophia Smith, age 16, called up to full national team
Sophia Smith, who in the last six weeks scored 10 goals for the U.S. U-18, U-20 and U-23 national teams, was called up by Coach Jill Ellis for training camp ahead of friendlies against Russia in Texas April 6 and April 9.
The Real Colorado product scored the winner for the U-23s in a 2-1 victory
over the NWSL's Portland Thorns before leaving the U-23s, along with 17-year-old Jaelin Howell, also of Real Colorado.
Smith, a member of the 2016 U-17 World Cup team, is headed to Stanford when after she graduates from Fossil Ridge High School.