Camp Update :: U20s convene in Florida

The U20s will convene in Florida shortly after the New Year. In Early 2012 Ramos and his U20 staff called in 36 players, over 10 of these players would help form the core of the 2013 WC squad.

'95 Georgetown Commit Arun Basuljevic :: photo courtesy of Corbis
’95 Georgetown Commit Arun Basuljevic :: photo courtesy of Corbis

For Ramos this will be his second camp for the new crop of U20s following their successful camp in Europe. Rumor has it that this Florida camp will feature a number of Collegiate players with a few USSDA stars sprinkled in. OWTY predicts that this camp will be comprised of mostly ’95s with only a few ’96s involved. Thus far OWTY can only confirm that NYRB’s talented midfielder Arun Basuljevic (’95) and NYRB HG player Matt Miazga have been invited. Basuljevic has been the target of the Bosnian Youth National teams for over a year, however the European side has yet to make a formal request to the Georgetown commit.

'96 Chivas USA HG striker Caleb Calvert
’96 Chivas USA HG striker Caleb Calvert

US based professional players Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Marky Delgado (Chivas USA), Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls), Santiago Castano (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Caleb Calvert (Chivas USA) and Benji Lopez (Real Salt Lake) should make up the core of this camp.

New Real Salt Lake HG player '95 Jordan Allen
New Real Salt Lake HG player ’95 Jordan Allen

OWTY can also predict call-ups for Michael Amick (UCLA), Trevor Haberkorn (Furman), Alex Muyl (Georgetown), Zackary Steffan (Maryland) and Jordan Allen (Virginia). Allen recently penned a HG deal with Real Salt Lake following his tremendous freshman campaign at UVA. These five were heavily involved at the U18 level with Coach Javier Perez and all had tremendous Freshman campaigns throughout the Fall. Brian Illoski (UCLA) was often times crowded out in LA due to major upperclass talent for the Bruins, but should again be a key piece for the U20s moving forward.

UW's Freshman Sensation Christian Roldan
UW’s Freshman Sensation Christian Roldan

Ramos and his staff used their first US based camp in 2012 to evaluate a number of the better Collegiate players. This camp will likely be no different. Ramos would be remissed not to call up Washington’s sensational midfielder Christian Roldan, who was arguably the most exciting player in NCAA Soccer. We would also like to see what Indiana’s Tommy Thompson can do at this level. Thompson is not the biggest striker yet possess unbelievable control with the ball at his feet and could be the trickiest dribbler in the pool.

RSL product :: Louisville's Andrew Brody
RSL product :: Louisville’s Andrew Brody

Some players burst onto the National scene placing them firmly into the U20 pool including a trio of players from the Real Salt Lake Academy. Louisville’s Andrew Brody was highly successful as an attacking option for the Cardinals and should be invited. As should Riggs Lennon of Virginia and Jose ‘Coco’ Navarro of Marquette. All three were key figures for teams that remained in the Top 25 of College Soccer all year. Indiana’s Billy McConnell has lots of upside as a central defender as does Suliaman Dainkeh of Maryland.

Incoming Creighton striker Ricky Lopez-Espin
Incoming Creighton striker Ricky Lopez-Espin

USSDA is host to a number of ’95s that are capable of playing at this level. Atop the list is Sporting Kansas City and UNC commit Andy Lopez. The tricky midfielder followed his brother, and former U20 star, Mikey to KC and has not looked back. Andy has 7 goals in 13 games for Sporting and will be one of the more polished Freshman next Fall. As will Shattuck St. Mary’s striker Ricardo Lopez-Espin. The Creighton commit stands 6’2” and has the frame of a professional. Lopez-Espin has played at the U18 level for three years running and his skills translate nicely into what Tab Ramos needs in a front-man, good hold up play and position with excellent foot skills.

Since European leagues and youth divisions are in full flight it would be tough for many of the players that were involved in the first US U20 camp. However there are a few European-based ’95s that are beginning to place themselves squarely on Ramos’ radar.

Leeds United Winger Gboly Ariyibi
Leeds United Winger Gboly Ariyibi

Atop the list is new Leeds United winger Gboly Ariyibi. We feature Gboly’s story earlier this year before the Southampton graduate found his way onto Brian McDermott’s squad at Leeds. Ariyibi made his debut for the English side last weekend getting a 29 minute cameo against Nottingham Forrest. Ariyibi has good size and excellent pace and has been in contact with Ramos’ staff. Ariyibi told OWTY that the US was interested in getting him into a camp earlier this year, but his lack of a permanent club situation at the time kept him from joining up with the other U20s. Unfortunately for Gboly, this camp will likely take place during a time when Leeds will need his services the most.

SC Frieburg U19 revelation Eric Lickert
SC Frieburg U19 revelation Eric Lickert

Another couple interesting prospects to watch for are Eric Lickert of SC Freiburg and Shawn Kauter of Hertha Berlin BSC reserves. Lickert is another German-American who will likely stamp his seal on this squad. The midfielder has been excellent for the Frieburg U19s playing a majority of his minutes on the right side. He has been a revelation for the U19s and could begin to see time up with the reserves if his plays continues to impress. Lickert has told OWTY that he would be willing to answer the call to play for the US should the offer be extended. Kauter is more of a deep lying midfielder who has can get forward. Kauter is a ’96 with aspirations of playing with the Hertha First team very soon.

A few more interesting prospects lie within the 96 pool. There are a number of players ready to make the break into this U20 pool applying their trade within the USSDA and south of the border.

'96 Mexican-American Herbert Robinson Garcia
’96 Mexican-American Herbert Robinson Garcia

Herbert Robinson Garcia is a ’96 that we have pegged for big things with the US U20 team. At last check Robinson Garcia is still working toward fully becoming an American citizen. He has told OWTY in the past that the matter will be sorted out soon and he will be eligible for a call-up. Robinson Garcia was a fixture with the title winning Santos Laguna U20s. He is a dominant midfield presence standing over 6’0” with an impressive frame for a 17 year old.

'96 Mexican-American Fernando Arce Jr of Tijuana Xolos
’96 Mexican-American Fernando Arce Jr of Tijuana Xolos

Like Robinson Garcia, Fernando Arce Jr, a ’96 with Club Tijuana Xolos, was stellar with the clubs U20s last season. Arce Jr, son of Mexican International Fernando Arce, is a poised defender and has been on the brink of cracking the First Team. He was recently included in the Xolos pre-season match-up against Club America. Stealing the son of a Mexican International would signal the continued progress of the US’ vast scouting efforts.

This camp might not be the best time for both Robinson Garcia and Arce Jr to introduce themselves into the pool as pre-season is heating up South of the Border and both starlets could play solid roles in their clubs preparations.

OWTY Predicted Roster ::

Goalkeepers (4) :: Santiago Castano (New York Red Bulls), Zackary Steffen (Maryland), Jeff Caldwell (USSDA North Carolina Fusion & University of Virginia), Evan Louro (USSDA New York Red Bulls & University of Michigan)

Defenders (12) :: Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls),  Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Michael Amick (UCLA), Trevor Haberkorn (Furman University), Suliaman Dainkeh (University of Maryland), Robert Sagel (Temple University), Billy McConnell (Indiana University), Conor Donovan (USSDA Capital Area RailHawks & NC State), Shaquell Moore (USSDA IMG Academy), John Requejo Jr. (USSDA Real So Cal & UCLA), Dylan Greenberg (USSDA Alberston SC & University of Connecticut), Chase Gasper (USSDA Bethesda-Olney & UC-Santa Barbara)

Midfielders (12) :: Benji Lopez (Real Salt Lake), Arun Basuljevic (USSDA New York Red Bulls & Georgetown University), Jordan Allen (University of Virginia), Christian Roldan (University of Washington), Brian Illoski (UCLA), Andrew Brody (Louisville University), Riggs Lennon (University of Virginia), Andy Lopez (USSDA Sporting Kansas City & UNC), Eric Lickert (SC Frieburg), Ian Harkes (Wake Forest University), Corey Baird (USSDA Real Salt Lake & Stanford University), Chris Lema (USSDA New York Red Bulls & Georgetown University)

Forwards (8) :: Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls),Alex Muyl (Georgetown University), Tommy Thompson (Indiana University), Jose Navarro (Marquette University), Ricardo Lopez-Espin (USSDA Shattuck-St. Mary’s & Creighton University), Caleb Calvert (Chivas USA), Andrija Novakovich (USSDA Chicago Magic PSG & Marquette University), Elochukwu Ozumba (Houston Dynamo & Northwestern University)

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