Aug. 28, 2009

Courtesy of U.S. Soccer

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2009) -- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has finalized the 21-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup from Sept. 24-Oct. 16 in Egypt. The roster features a blend of professional and collegiate players, including two players with prior U-20 World Cup experience in UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk and FC Dallas defender Anthony Wallace.

“It’s a culmination of two years of investing and looking at players through a good training environment and playing high level games and trying to figure out which 21 eventually would represent the United States well in Egypt.,” said Rongen, who will be at the helm of his third U-20 World Cup squad. “It’s a long process and the coaches take great pride in making sure we select the right players, and we have come to the conclusion that the 21 players we have selected are the guys that will do a great job for our team.”

The U.S. team will depart for Larnaca, Cyprus, on Sept. 14 and play a final tune-up against Australia before traveling to Suez, Egypt, on Sept. 21. The U.S. will open against Germany on Sept. 26 before facing Cameroon on Sept. 29 and rounding out group play against Korea Republic on Oct. 2. All three of the USA’s group matches will be played at the brand new Mubarak Stadium in Suez.

Every game of the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup will be shown live on the ESPN family of networks with Galavision also broadcasting all three U.S. group games. The first U.S. game will be shown live on ESPN Classic, at 9:55 a.m. ET, while Galavision will also broadcast the game at 9:55 a.m. ET/PT. The remaining two group games for Rongen’s team will be shown live on ESPN2 and on tape delay on Galavision. For a complete television schedule (subject to change), click here. Fans can also follow every U.S. game live on’s MatchTracker.

Perk has been the team’s top-choice ‘keeper since the start of the two-year cycle. He served as a backup in Canada in 2007, and was in the net for a 2-1 win against Uruguay in the Round of 16. In seven international games this year, the 5 feet 11 inch netminder has allowed only one goal for a stingy 0.14 goals against average and six shutouts. Sean Johnson, who stands an imposing 6 feet 4 inches, and FIFA U-17 World Cup veteran Joshua Lambo likely will serve as more than capable back ups.

The defensive corps will be led by team captain Kyle Davies, who has become a regular in the FC Dallas starting lineup since a mid-season transfer from English club Southampton. He will be joined by club teammate Wallace and three others who return from the team’s successful qualifying campaign in March, in Gale Agbossoumonde, Aaron Maund and Sheanon Williams. That group, which posted four shutouts during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in March, will be bolstered by Wake Forest’s Ike Opara.

The midfield represents an even mix of college and professional players, including two who will join the team from European clubs with Jared Jeffrey, who plays for Belgian side Club Brugge, and Norwegian-based Mikkel Diskerud, who plays for Stabek. The Houston Dynamo’s Danny Cruz and Chivas USA’s Jorge Flores round out the pro players in midfield. Rutgers University’s Dilly Duka, who had a standout performance in Trinidad & Tobago during qualifying, leads a collegiate contingent that includes Virginia’s Brian Ownby, Michael Stephens from UCLA and Notre Dame freshman Dillon Powers, who will be looking to continue a breakout year that saw him earn both the U-17/18 Development Academy and Gatorade National Boy’s Soccer Player of the Year Awards.

A pair of forwards, Peri Marosevic and Brek Shea, complete the group of five players who will represent FC Dallas in Egypt. The duo also tops the roster in career goals, with Marosevic netting five in 14 caps and Shea tallying four goals in 10 U-20 internationals. Sam Garza, who in 2008 helped lead the University of Denver to its first NCAA Tournament since 1970, and Jacksonville University’s Tony Taylor are also expected to be key members of the U.S. attack.

The U.S. will be competing in its seventh consecutive and 12th overall FIFA U-20 World Cup, previously known as the FIFA World Youth Championship. They will be looking to build upon a successful campaign under Rongen in 2007, where the Americans took the top place in what was widely considered to be the tournament’s “Group of Death” that included Brazil, Poland and Korea Republic before falling in overtime in the quarterfinals to Austria.

The U.S. qualified for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup by posting a 2-1-2 record at the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in March, collecting four straight shutouts before being downed by Costa Rica in the final. Costa Rica, Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago will all join the U.S. to represent the region in Egypt.

Out of the 11 appearances in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the USA’s best finish came during the tournament in 1989 in Saudi Arabia. With goalkeeper Kasey Keller leading the way, the U.S. advanced to the semifinals and finished in fourth place.

Roster By Position: (Detailed Roster)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Central Florida; Lilburn, Ga.), Josh Lambo (FC Dallas; Middleton, Wis.), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Gale Agbossoumonde (Miami FC; Syracuse, N.Y.), Kyle Davies (FC Dallas; Danville, Calif.), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame; Dorchester, Mass.), Ike Opara (Wake Forest; Durham, N.C.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (Unattached; Boston, Mass.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz.), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabak; Oslo, Norway), Dilly Duka (Rutgers; Montville, N.J.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge; Richardson, Texas), Brian Ownby (Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Michael Stephens (UCLA; Naperville, Ill.)
FORWARDS (4): Sam Garza (Denver; Highland Village, Texas), Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas; Rockford, Ill.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; College Station, Texas), Tony Taylor (Jacksonville; Jacksonville, Fla.)

National Team Staff
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen (Stuart, Fla.)
Assistant Coach: Dave Dir (Dallas)
Assistant Coach: Juan Carlos Michia (Miami)
Goalkeeper Coach: Tim Mulqueen (Lakewood Ranch,Fla.)
Strength Coach: Robbie Elliott (Newcastle, England)
Team Doctor: Mel Hayashi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Team Coordinator: Jon Fleishman (Long Beach, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: John Dunham (Lawrenceville, Ga.)
Massage Therapist: Mark Higgins (Tinley Park, Ill.)
Equipment Coordinator: Beto Cuevas (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Security Officer: Craig Conger (Raleigh, N.C.)
Videographer: Scott Riddell (Pasadena, Calif.)
Press Officer: Kate McMaster (Chicago)