U.S. Men's U-20 Team
Carter-Vickers and Zelalem Headline U-20 Men's Team
October 01, 2016
NEXT WEEK the United States U-20 men's team will begin its most challenging camp of the cycle and on Friday head coach Tab Ramos announced a strong 22-player roster that will travel to Manchester, England, to take part in the Four Nations Tournament.
The U.S. team will take on three of the most storied programs in the world starting first with Germany on October 5, the Netherlands on October 7, and hosts England on October 10.
The roster is among the strongest that Ramos has had to date. Christian Pulisic is not with the team as he is already with the full United States national team right now but there are a few other notable absences. Mukwelle Akale was invited but ASN has learned the talented Minnesota native was not released by his club, Villarreal. Also, Erik Palmer-Brown is still recovering from a knee injury.
While a few college players made this roster, other top NCAA players like UCLA’s Jackson Yueill and Maryland’s Eryk Williamson remained with their teams despite still being in Ramos’ plans. In MLS, players like Red Bull midfielder Tyler Adams and Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad are staying with their clubs. Here's the roster:
Jonathan Klinsmann (University of California; Newport Beach, Calif.), Justin Vom Steeg (Fortuna Dusseldorf; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy; Norwalk, Calif.), Marcello Borges (Michigan; Kearny, N.J.), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff-on-Sea, England), Marlon Fossey (Fulham; Surbiton, England), Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC; Oviedo, Fla.), Miles Robinson (Syracuse; Arlington, Mass.), Toni Suddoth (VfB Stuttgart), Auston Trusty (Bethlehem Steel FC; Media, Pa.)
Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; Salt Lake City, Utah), Luca De La Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Derrick Jones (Bethlehem Steel FC), Brooks Lennon (Liverpool., Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Weston McKennie (Shalke 04; Little Elm, Texas), Jonathan Suarez (Queretaro; Orange County, Calif.), Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal; Bethesda, Md.)
Jeremy Ebobisse (Charleston Battery; Bethesda, Md.), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders FC; Des Moines, Wash.), Emmanuel Sabbi (UD Las Palmas; Libertyville, Ill.), Sebastian Saucedo (Veracruz; Park City, Utah), Isaiah Young (PDA; Berlin, N.J.)
Carter-Vickers and Zelalem Reunite
The big story for this camp is that Cameron Carter-Vickers and Gedion Zelalem have rejoined the U-20 team for the first time since the 2015 U-20 World Cup where they featured while playing up a cycle. Both remain top American prospects and the fact that both are back with the team should be an enormous boost for Ramos.
Carter-Vickers, 18, was one of the top U-20 defenders at the World Cup last year in New Zealand and his stock has continued to soar. He has regularly made the bench for Tottenham’s first team this year and he made his debut in a recent league cup win. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said he believes Carter-Vickers can become one of the best central defenders in England. While he is also eligible for England, where he was born and raised, U.S. Soccer has to be encouraged to see that Carter-Vickers is still actively involved with the program.
Zelalem, 19, also recently played in the League Cup with Arsenal although he does not appear to be as close to the first team as Carter-Vickers. Last year the central midfielder went on loan to Rangers in Scotland but did not go on loan at the start of this campaign. Still, he should be a key component for Ramos this cycle. In 2015 he did not join the team until right before the World Cup and often seemed out of synch with his teammates. Now he will bring much-needed experience into the young team.
McKennie continues his ascent
One player who has a lot to gain from this tournament will be Schalke’s Weston McKennie, 18, who left the FC Dallas Academy in August to sign with Schalke where he is off to a strong start with the club’s U-19 team. McKennie has had a very good 2016 so far and was among the best players for the U.S. U-19 team under Brad Friedel. He was promoted to the U-20 team in June and was a key player at the NTC tournament.
McKennie is quickly becoming a key U.S. youth player and now he will get a chance to play on a strong U.S. U-20 team against first-rate opponents. It would not be surprising if he is the engine of the U-20 midfield come World Cup qualifying next February.
The next German-American Player
VFB Stuttgart U-19 right back Toni Suddoth will be making his American debut at this camp in Manchester. Born in Germany to an American father, Suddoth has come up through the Stuttgart system and has been keen on representing the United States internationally.
It will be interesting to see how he fits into the U-20 team. The right back position at the start of the cycle seemed to belong to Matthew Olusunde who is now in the youth system at Manchester United. But Olusunde was not called up to this camp. Fulham academy product Marlon Fossey has done well at right back where he has progressed from the U.S. U-19 team to the U-20 team this year. While very athletic, Fossey is still new to the right back position (he typically plays as an attacking winger). Suddoth is a more natural right back but this camp will be a very challenging first step to showcase his talent.
Sabbi and Ebobisse at center forward
If Ramos wants to play in a 4-3-3, the central forward position is up for grabs. In this camp, there could be an interesting competition between Emmanuel Sabbi and Jeremy Ebobisse who have both recently decided to turn professional.
Sabbi was set to start his freshman year at the University of Akron but signed with La Liga’s Las Palmas, where he is with the reserve team. Meanwhile, Jeremy Ebobisse left Duke University earlier this year, signed with MLS, and is currently on loan to the USL side Charleston Battery. He is expected to be a top MLS draft pick in 2017.
At the start of the U-20 cycle, Sabbi was the team’s top forward but Ebobisse has enjoyed several strong camps and was the leading scorer at the NTC tournament in June. Right now, it appears Ebobisse is the top central forward but this camp will go a long way toward establishing the pecking order heading into qualifying in February.