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U.S. U-20 World Cup roster: Tim Weah, Paxton Pomykal, Alex Mendez headline

Twenty-one players will compete in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, beginning later this month.

United States under-20 men’s national team coach Tab Ramos has selected the 21 players who will compete in the upcoming 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. U.S. Soccer announced the roster Friday morning.

The roster includes nine players who compete in Major League Soccer and 11 who compete in Europe. Nineteen of the 21 played at least a year in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy setup. 

“I am excited for the players who will get the chance to be able to participate in a World Cup.  It’s an unforgettable experience and one that they will value forever,” Ramos said in a statement. “This is always an extremely tough decision to make as a coach. There were an additional four or five players who also really deserve to go this time”

The tournament runs from May 23 to June 15. The United States is in Group D and will face Ukraine May 24, Nigeria May 27 and Qatar May 30. 

Leading the group is Tim Weah, the 19-year-old Celtic forward on loan from Paris Saint-Germain who already has eight caps and one goal for the senior U.S. men’s national team.

The FC Dallas influence on the roster is significant, with midfielders Edwin Cerrillo, Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania selected, as well as defender Chris Richards, who left FC Dallas for Bayern Munich in January.

Cerrillo and Pomykal have been regular starters in FC Dallas’ midfield this year, while Servania has played every minute for USL League One side North Texas SC.

Ramos also picked Philadelphia Union defending duo Mark McKenzie and Matthew Real, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa, D.C. United defender Chris Durkin, New England Revolution forward Justin Rennicks and Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola. Aboubakar Keita, a defender from the Richmond Kickers, is the only domestic-based player from a lower division.

“This team has excellent leadership and competitiveness on and off the field,” Ramos said. “We are all looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity, which was earned with unprecedented focus, consistency and determination at the Concacaf U-20 Championship.” 

There are 14 players from the team that won the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship, including midfielder Alex Mendez from Freiburg in Germany, who took home the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. The former LA Galaxy academy product was also named U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year.

Goalkeeper Brady Scott, who competes for FC Köln II in Germany, is the lone holdover from the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup roster.

2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Roster by Position (Club; Hometown; U-20 Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS (3): C.J. Dos Santos (Benfica/POR; Foxchase, Pa.; 2/0), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.; 4/0), Brady Scott (Köln/GER; Petaluma, Calif.; 9/0)

DEFENDERS (6): Sergino Dest (Ajax/NED; Almere-Stad, Netherlands; 8/1), Chris Gloster (Hannover 96/GER; Montclair, N.J.; 11/0), Aboubakar Keita (Richmond Kickers; Columbus, Ohio; 2/0), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.; 10/3), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union; Drexel Hill, Pa.; 10/0), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/GER; Birmingham, Ala.; 8/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Edwin Cerrillo (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas; 0/0), Chris Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.; 2/0), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Phoenix, Ariz.; 4/0), Alex Mendez (Freiburg/GER; Los Angeles, Calif.; 15/8), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; Highland Village, Texas; 9/3), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas; 8/2)

FORWARDS (6): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC/CAN; Brampton, Ont.; 12/9), Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona/ESP; Miami, Fla.; 2/1), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg/GER; Lynwood, Calif.; 11/7), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution; South Hamilton, Mass.; 13/6), Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96/GER; San Diego, Calif.; 5/2), Tim Weah (Celtic FC/SCO; Rosedale, N.Y.; 0/0)

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