With the U-20 World Cup starting later this month, the US named its 21-man squad for the tournament in Argentina. It features some familiar names to even casual USMNT fans, with six players already earning call-ups to the senior squad. Gaga Slonina, Caleb Wiley, Justin Che, Joshua Wynder and Cade Cowell all earned call-ups. Many came during the Continental Clasico or the friendlies at the beginning of the calendar year.
On top of that, a number of these players contributed to the USYNT’s qualification for this tournament. The US qualified for the U-20 World Cup by winning last summer’s CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Honduras. That was the third-straight triumph for the United States in that tournament.
Impressively, the players represent 17 clubs. Ten of those are from Major League Soccer, including three players from Philadelphia Union and two from the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes, each. Moreover, six players represent clubs in Europe. Those clubs are Fulham, Chelsea, Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg, Real Sociedad and Hajduk Split. The last of those is Rokas Pukstas, who helped Hajduk Split to the UEFA Youth League Final.
One big miss is Paxten Aaronson, brother of Leeds United and USMNT senior squad midfielder Brenden. Paxten Aaronson’s club, Eintracht Frankfurt, denied US Soccer’s request to release the player for the U-20 World Cup squad. The reason is that the World Cup, which runs from May 20 through June 11, directly overlaps with the end of Eintracht Frankfurt’s season. While Aaronson is not quite a regular first-team starter, the chances of injuries played a role in the club’s decision. With three games left in the Bundesliga season, the club sits in ninth. However, it is also in the DFB-Pokal Final against RB Leipzig.
US U-20 World Cup squad and tournament opponents
The first part of the U-20 World Cup is the group stage. The United States is with Ecuador, Fiji and Slovakia. After the three-game round-robin, the top two teams automatically advance to the round of 16. Then, the top four third-place teams qualify, too.
Alex Borto (Fulham), Antonio Carrera (FC Dallas), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea).
Justin Che (Hoffenheim), Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union), Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy), Marcus Ferkranus (LA Galaxy), Jonathan Gomez (Real Sociedad), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United), Joshua Wynder (Louisville City FC).
Daniel Edelman (New York Red Bulls), Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union), Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split), Niko Tsakiris (San Jose Earthquakes), Obed Vargas (Seattle Sounders), Owen Wolff (Austin FC).
Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg), Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union), Darren Yapi (Colorado Rapids).
PHOTO: IMAGO / Schowrer Pressefoto
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