FRISCO, Texas – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has called in three FC Dallas Academy products for a training camp from April 9 to April 16 in Portland, Ore. Defender Boyd Okwuonu and forwards Jonathan Top and Daniel Garcia will train for a week, playing against the University of Portland and one other team during that span.
The U.S. will face the Pilots at 7 pm PT on Thursday, April 12, at Merlo Field. The second game of the camp will take place on Sunday, April 15, against an opponent still to be determined.
Eight of the players that will be in camp ply their trade in the professional ranks, with Santos Laguna sending two players: Daniel Cuevas and Benji Joya. North Carolina sends three players in Mikey Lopez, Jordan McCrary and Boyd Okwuonu, as 10 total players come from college teams.
Having called 10 players into Portland for their first
camp in this cycle, Ramos is ready to take one last significant look at prospects before narrowing down the player pool.
“We’ve had three camps this year and taken advantage of the opportunity to cast a wide net in evaluating the player pool,” said Ramos. “This is the last time we plan on calling in a large number of new players. From here on out, we’re really going to really focus in the players we have identified who we think will be competing for spots on this team moving forward.”
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy has a strong presence on the roster, with six players currently playing for Academy clubs and 13 Academy alumni.
Ramos has called in 11 players who were part of the team’s last camp in February: Seth Casiple, Cuevas, Christian Dean, Tomas Gomez, Joya, Lopez, Collin Martin, Eric Miller, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Okwuonu and Victor Pineda. Of those 11, Casiple, Cuevas, Martin, Miller, Ocegueda and Okwuonu have participated in every camp in 2012.
Ramos is preparing the squad for the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament, which will likely begin in early 2013. The World Cup will be held in Turkey in 2013, and every player on the roster is age-eligible for the competition.