Where Tab Ramos and the U.S. under-20s stand before three games in South America

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It’s Tab Ramos turn on the spot. As the latest captain of the U.S. Soccer sub-varsity ship, he’s now in charge of steering American youngsters away from troubled waters.

These have been rather barren times where the U.S. “youth” national teams are concerned following a string of disappoints in the younger levels. That included failure to qualify for last year’s under-20 World Cup in Colombia and, of course, the notorious March failure to move out of group play in Olympic qualifying.

So Ramos, the dynamic, former U.S. international midfielder, now heads up the under-20s.

He has gone through 65 players through four camps as he culls the personnel pool, getting things set for regional qualifying less than 12 months from now in Mexico. The 2013 under-20 World Cup will be in Turkey.

The New York Times Brian Sciaretta reports on the under-20s progress as Ramos gets set for the next camp, in late May, ahead of three games in South America.

Ramos has a talented group, which will probably be built around Real Salt Lake attacker Luis Gil. Just 18 years old, the RSL midfielder has played in every match this year for Jason Kreis’ team, starting seven.