U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has finalized a 20-player roster that includes Crew defender Korey Veeder ahead of the 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The group will travel to Dallas on March 20 for a week of training before departing for Guatemala City, Guatemala, on March 25, to begin its quest to qualify for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Colombia.
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group B of the CONCACAF tournament and will face Suriname on March 29 at 8 p.m. ET and Panama on April 2 at 6 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores. Both games will be televised on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.
At the 12-team regional event, the top two teams in each group will advance to the tournament quarterfinals, and the four quarterfinal winners will seal a berth to the FIFA U-20 World Cup, set for July 29-Aug. 20 across eight cities in Colombia. The U.S. will be attempting to qualify for an eighth-consecutive time, having qualified for 13 U-20 World Cups since the tournament began in 1977.
“As a staff, we’ve done our due diligence during the last year and a half,” said Rongen. “I can’t speak enough about all the players that we’ve looked at who have put in a tremendous amount of work and energy in each and every camp. That made this selection probably tougher than any other cycle and that’s a good thing. It means we’ve gotten deeper in every position and that we’ve got a great talent pool.”
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Veeder, an MLS rookie whose rights were won by the Crew in February in a weighted lottery draft, is one of eight league players named. The group also features a pair of FIFA U-20 World Cup veterans in defender Gale Agbossoumonde and midfielder Dillon Powers. Additionally, midfielder Amobi Okugo helped the U.S. qualify for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup but was not part of the team that traveled to Egypt. The trio leads the team in international U-20 caps, with Agbossoumonde earning 26 in his career and Okugo and Powers each making 13 appearances.
The Americans have never won the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, but the tournament format returned in 2009 after 13 years without crowning a champion. With 12 FIFA U-20 World Cup appearances, the U.S. has qualified more than any other CONCACAF nation.
At the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship held in Trinidad & Tobago, the U.S. opened with a 3-0 win against Jamaica and a 0-0 draw with Honduras. Needing a win or a tie against El Salvador to secure a place at the World Cup, Brek Shea and Tony Taylor scored first-half goals en route to a 2-0 victory that sent the U.S. to Egypt and into the CONCACAF semifinals.
A scoreless semifinal against host Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain set up a dramatic penalty shootout. U.S. goalkeeper Brian Perk stopped two shots to send the U.S. to the championship match, where they would fall 3-0 to Costa Rica.
U.S. Under-20 MNT Roster By Position (Detailed Roster):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town; Athens, Ga.)
DEFENDERS (8): Gale Agbossoumonde (Djurgårdens IF; Syracuse, N.Y.), Greg Garza (G.D. Estoril Praia; Grapevine, Texas), Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Sacir Hot (New York Red Bulls; Fair Lawn, N.J.), Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke; Missouri City, Texas), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Zarek Valentin (Chivas USA; Lancaster, Pa.), Korey Veeder (Columbus Crew; St. Petersburg, Fla.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United; San Francisco, Calif.), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), Moises Orozco (UANL Tigres; Oxnard, Calif.), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Kelyn Rowe (UCLA; Newport Beach, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Eder Arreola (UCLA; Chino Hills, Calif.), Conor Doyle (Derby County FC; McKinney, Texas), Joe Gyau (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Silver Spring, Md.), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; El Paso, Texas),
Bobby Wood (TSV 1860 München; Irvine, Calif.)