The USA will play Ukraine, Nigeria and Qatar in the group stage in Poland.
Tab Ramos has named the USA's Under-20 squad that will head to Poland and compete in the FIFA U-20 World Cup later this month, and Tim Weah is part of a star-laden team headlined by plenty of Europe-based talent.
Weah, who spent the last half season on loan at Celtic from PSG, is joined by Barcelona's Konrad De La Fuente, Freiburg's Alex Mendez, Hannover's Sebastian Soto and Chris Glouster, PSV's Richard Ledezma, Ajax's Sergino Dest and Bayern Munich's Chris Richards on the 21-player squad. Werder Bremen's Josh Sargent was not included, an indicator that he'll be with Gregg Berhalter's senior USMNT side for this summer's Gold Cup.
"I think it's clear that he's going to go into this summer with the senior national team," Ramos told reporters following the release of the roster.
As for Weah, he'll join the U-20s instead of the senior team after a club season in which playing time was hard to come by. He scored four goals in 17 appearances (four starts) with Celtic after joining the Scottish power from PSG in January, and he was given the green light to leave the club immediately instead of taking part in Sunday's Old Firm derby vs. Rangers.
"Tim has been missing a lot of games as of late,'' Ramos said. "Tim has shown real interest in participating because he knew he wants to have this type of competition under his belt.
"I think for our senior national team it's more likely that he will be a winger, so I think it'll be better if it with this group he plays mostly winger."
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To all my Celtic Fans❤️🍀 I want to say thank you all for the undying support you have given me throughout my time with Celtic. I will be joining my National team to participate in the U20 World Cup in Poland. With this decision, the gaffer told me that it is in the best interest of the team that I collect my things and go home rather than be apart of the game on Sunday so I’ll be on my way. It was a true honor playing for this club and also having the opportunity to interact with legends who paved the way for us. As a young player, I feel it’s an important step in trying to advance myself. I still have a lot of growing to do in my game and I am especially thankful to the Celtic family for giving me the opportunity to show you all what I am capable of doing once given the chance. To you the fans, I will never forget you for all the love, support and kindness you have shown me. I don’t know as yet what the future holds but I wish to one day come back to this great club to be with you all. I will forever miss you chanting my name and hearing the beautiful song you have created for me. I also want to take this time to thank my wonderful teammates for supporting me every step of the way. It was really great playing with you all and sharing some really amazing moments that I’ll never forget . Thanks so much to Celtic FC and to you the fans for accepting me. 🙏🏾God bless🙏🏾❤❤🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀
FC Dallas and the Philadelphia Union lead the MLS-based contingent, with FCD midfielders Edwin Cerrillo, Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania and Philadelphia defenders Mark McKenzie and Matthew Real making the squad. Richards is a former FC Dallas product, too.
The USA, which won the Concacaf U-20 championship en route to qualifying for the competition, will face Ukraine, Nigeria and Qatar in the group stage and eyes improvement on consecutive quarterfinal ousters under Ramos's watch in the last four years.
"This is always an extremely tough decision to make as a coach," Ramos said. "There were an additional four or five players who also really deserve to go this time."
Among the close calls, according to Ramos, were FC Cincinnati's Frankie Amaya and Nordsjaelland's Jonathan Amon, whose club's hesitation to release him for the competition–clubs are not compelled to release players for youth tournaments–factored into the decision. Ramos can call on players from a 50-man preliminary squad–which includes U.S. U-17 standouts Giovanni Reyna, Gianluca Busio and Ricardo Pepi–in the event of an injury.
"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."
Here's the USA's full roster:
GOALKEEPERS: C.J. Dos Santos (Benfica), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), Brady Scott (Köln)
DEFENDERS: Sergino Dest (Ajax), Chris Gloster (Hannover 96), Aboubacar Keita (Richmond Kickers), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich)
MIDFIELDERS: Edwin Cerrillo (FC Dallas), Chris Durkin (D.C. United), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Alex Mendez (Freiburg), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS: Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC), Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution), Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96), Tim Weah (Celtic FC/PSG)