Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis GIl will be part of the USA's first U-21 national team camp this coming week. (Gero Breloer/AP)
Thursday, U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann explained that the first U.S. Under-21 team would gather next week to begin preparations in the build-up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Friday, U.S. Soccer lifted the lid on the players that will take part in that five-day event.
Young MLS standouts Luis Gil, Wil Trapp and Shane O'Neill headline a 21-man roster that will convene in Carson, Calif., from April 20-24. U.S. Under-20 head coach and senior national team assistant Tab Ramos will oversee the camp, though he won't necessarily become the permanent Olympic qualifying team coach.
“We’re excited to bring some of our best young players together for this initial U-21 camp,” Ramos told U.S. Soccer's official website. “We’re hoping that we can have another two or three camps between now and the end of the year. This camp is purely to have the team together so that we begin moving in the right direction. When the time is right, we can put a group that has kept playing together and is familiar with each other in front of the permanent coach.”
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All of the players are based in either the USA or Mexico, with a pair of collegiate players -- Santa Clara goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh and Stanford forward Jordan Morris -- joining 19 other professionals. As for some of the more heralded players, both in the U.S. and abroad, who will be age-eligible for the 2016 Olympics but were not called in, they are under no obligation to be released by their clubs and their absence from this camp is no indication of a drop in status.
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Here is the U-21 roster for the camp in full:
GOALKEEPERS: Jonathan Kempin (Oklahoma City Energy; Leawood, Kan.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
DEFENDERS: Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Tigres UANL; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS: Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.), Collin Martin (D.C. United; Chevy Chase, Md.), Esteban Rodriguez (Club Tijuana; Bell Gardens, Calif.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS: Daniel Cuevas (CF Lobos BUAP; Sacramento, Calif.), Danny Garcia (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Jose Villarreal (Cruz Azul; Inglewood, Calif.)