Following Successful Camp in Carson, Calif., U-20 Head Coach Continues to Shape Roster for FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team recently completed an April training camp at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif. The players concluded the camp with a 6-2 victory against Cal FC on April 28.
U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos spoke with ussoccer.com about that successful camp and preparing for the Toulon Tournament, which kicks off May 28 against host France. The USA will field a 22-player roster for the Toulon event. Then the team heads to Turkey for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup from June 21-July 13.
On what the team took away from the April training camp in L.A.:
Tab Ramos: “Every camp allows you the opportunity to draw new conclusions. Some of the players who did well in the last camp, they are given more consideration than guys who didn’t perform as well. The great thing from this camp is we were able to see a couple players we had not seen before. The play was competitive as everyone is in the mix for U-20 World Cup spots.”
On the team’s fitness and caliber of play:
TR: “We thought overall that the players were in a good place, physically. We know we have to improve for the World Cup, and I think going to the Toulon Tournament and having them in for a long period of time will be beneficial. We’ll need to be fully fit and prepared when the World Cup comes around against Spain on June 21.”
On the 6-2 victory against Cal FC to cap off the camp:
TR: “The game was actually very good for us. We created a number of opportunities, and this was our first chance to have players like Victor Pineda and Alfred Koroma here after they had been injuried for a period of time to see how far they’ve come along, which was great. We discovered players like Jordan Morris and Marlon Hairston, who were new to the camp. The game itself, I was very happy with the number of chances we created, and we were solid on defense, as well. In the middle of the second half, we made a number of subs, and the other team had some scoring chances, but once they got their feet on the ground, we scored three goals after those changes. The team’s very confident going forward.”
On the players’ boost in confidence since the CONCACAF U-20 Championship and increased presence in club play:
TR: “No question, we are more confident now as the players are getting more opportunities with their club teams and are growing overall. The key challenge for us is to keep reminding them that they are just at the beginning of their careers. They need to continue to push themselves. They have not ‘arrived.’ So we’re doing all of this in steps, and their next step is the U-20 World Cup.”
On the Toulon Tournament:
TR: “We’ll be playing against many competitive teams, most of which are going to the U-20 World Cup afterward, so it’s a great opportunity to get some games under our belt, particularly for those who have not been playing as much. We will be giving all of the players a lot of time on the field against international competition.”