Richard Ledezma

Photo by Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images

U.S. U-23 boss Kreis calls up 24 including Ledezma, Carter-Vickers

Leave a comment

U.S. Olympic men’s soccer coach Jason Kreis has called up 24 players to his latest camp as the Americans look to qualify for their first Olympics since 2008.

This group will represent the U.S. later this month at the United International Football Festival in Spain. The U.S. will face Brazil on Nov. 14 and then play Argentina or Chile on Nov. 17.

[ MORE: Americans Abroad ]

Five of the call-ups will join the U-23s after their time at senior camp, including Mark McKenzie, Brenden Aaronson, Jonathan Lewis, Djordje Mihailovic, and Jeremy Ebobisse.

Seven of the players play abroad, including Stoke City’s Cameron Carter-Vickers and PSV’s Richie Ledezma.

Kreis’ men blasted El Salvador 6-1 last month in Miami, with Ledezma scoring a goal and adding two assists while Jonathan Lewis had a goal and an assist.

Olympic qualifying is between March 20-April 1.

U.S. U-23 roster

Goalkeepers: Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Brady Scott (Koln)

Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke City), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)

Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Christian Cappis (Hobro), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Alex Mendez (Ajax), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), James Sands (New York City FC)

Forwards: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake), Mason Toye (Minnesota United)

Ledezma, Mendez headline U.S. Olympic training camp squad

Getty Images
Leave a comment

While Sergiño Dest is taking some time to think over his international future, two dual-nationals currently in the U.S. Soccer system are sticking with the Red, White, and Blue for now.

Richard Ledezma of PSV and Alex Mendez of Ajax both accepted call-ups from U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Coach Jason Kreis for a training camp this month featuring many Olympic-eligible players. The U.S. squad will train in Miami and play a friendly match against El Salvador.

El Salvador of course knocked the U.S. out of the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament, handing Jurgen Klinsmann – and Caleb Porter at the time a huge blow both in terms of player development and having a chance to represent the USMNT at a major tournament.

Other members of the squad include Minnesota United talents Mason Toye and Hassan Dotsani, Hannover forward Sebastian Soto, Atlanta United centerback Miles Robinson and Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards.

The news that Ledezma and Mendez, who are both eligible to play for the USMNT and Mexico in the future, are in the squad for this training camp is a great sign for US Soccer fans. Soto as well is eligible to play for Chile and Mexico due to his family history.

It’s unclear whether Tata Martino would have a place for any of these players in his team, but as they grow in Europe, there’s no doubt that they will receive more interest from the Mexican FA (FMF).

That said, US Soccer can show that they’ve invested countless hours in Ledezma, Mendez, Soto, and of course in Dest as well in the youth system, all preparing them for a great pro career and success with the national team. The longer Mendez and Ledezma stay in the US system as well, the more likely they’ll stay after developing great relationships with their teammates and other coaches.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.