The summer of 2016 should be a busy one for US Soccer, as the USMNT face the stiff test of the Copa America Centenario while the U23 will hope to be going for gold in the Summer Olympics in Brazil.
Of course, the States have to qualify for that tournament first.
Tab Ramos ran a U-21 camp earlier this season, and now has called upon 18 names to train in the Bahamas in a U-23 August camp. The five-day trip will include a match against the Bahamas senior team, which includes mostly athletes in American colleges.
The most recognizable names for fans of the national team are Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil (above, competing with South Korea’s Lee Yong), Birmigham City defender Will Packwood, Vancouver forward Omar Salgado and Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper.
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“The chance to get this group of players together and get ahead of the curve in preparation for Olympic Qualifying in two years’ time is huge,” said U.S. Soccer Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann. “We began with the U-21 camp in April, and now it’s critical that we have as many camps and games as possible so we can build a deep pool of talent that can qualify for Brazil. The Olympics are an important opportunity for young players, and we have to capitalize on it. We also want to give a big thanks to the Bahamas Football Association for hosting us.”
U.S. Men’s National Team staff assistant coaches Tab Ramos and Andi Herzog and goalkeeper coach Chris Woods, as well as U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team head coach Javier Perez, are overseeing the camp.
The roster features eight players that Ramos coached at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey: goalkeepers Cody Cropper and Zack Steffen, defenders Juan Pablo Ocegueda and Oscar Sorto, midfielders Luis Gil and Benji Joya and forwards Daniel Cuevas and Victor Pineda.
Leon midfielder Dennis Flores and San Jose Earthquakes defender Ramon Martin del Campo are participating in their first U.S. Soccer Youth National Team camp.
Several important names are absent, though there’s little suspicious about them. Some players club commitments are likely above this camp.
Goalkeepers: Cody Cropper (Southampton), Zack Steffen (Maryland)
Defenders: AJ Cochran (Houston Dynamo), Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Ramon Martin del Campo (San Jose Earthquakes), Bryan Gallego (Arizona United), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca), William Packwood (Birmingham City), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy)
Midfielders: Dennis Flores (León), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire)
Forwards: Daniel Cuevas (CF Lobos BUAP), Alfred Koroma Shams (Internacional), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Victor Pineda (Indy Eleven), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)