By IVES GALARCEP
Former U.S. Under-20 national team standouts Luis Gil, Wil Trapp and Shane O’Neill headline a 21-player squad made up almost exclusively of professional players that have called into a U.S. Under-21 training camp taking place next week in Carson, California.
“We’re excited to bring some of our best young players together for this initial U-21 camp,” said current U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos, who will oversee the five-day camp. “We’re hoping that we can have another two or three camps between now and the end of the year. This camp is purely to have the team together so that we begin moving in the right direction.
“When the time is right, we can put a group that has kept playing together and is familiar with each other in front of the permanent coach.”
The group consists of the players expected to make up the nucleus of the next U.S. Olympic qualifying team ahead of the 2016 Olympics. With two years to go before Olympic qualifying, U.S. Soccer is already putting actions in motion to help ensure that the next U.S. Olympic qualifying team succeeds in its mission to qualify, unlike the previous U.S. Olympic qualifying squad.
The squad called in for next week’s camp is obviously missing some keys players from the pool who have club commitments. European-based standouts like Marc Pelosi, Will Packwood and Seattle Sounders fullback DeAndre Yedlin are just some of the players expected to play key roles in the next Olympic qualifying cycle.
Here is the roster for the training camp:
U.S. UNDER-21 TRAINING CAMP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS-: Jonathan Kempin (Oklahoma City Energy; Leawood, Kan.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
DEFENDERS – Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Tigres UANL; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS- Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.), Collin Martin (D.C. United; Chevy Chase, Md.), Esteban Rodriguez (Club Tijuana; Bell Gardens, Calif.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS- Daniel Cuevas (CF Lobos BUAP; Sacramento, Calif.), Danny Garcia (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Jose Villarreal (Cruz Azul; Inglewood, Calif.)
The group will convene at Stub Hub Center from April 20th to April 24th.
What do you think of this group? Who are you excited to see be part of the squad? Who are you disappointed to see not called in?
Share your thoughts below.