U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named Houston Dynamo forward Christian Lucatero to the 23-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2015 Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament in Serbia.
The group will begin training on Aug. 30 in Subotica and begin tournament play against Serbia on Sept. 3, before traveling to Senta for a match against France on Sept. 4. The team will conclude the tournament with a placement match on Sept. 7.’
“We’re giving a bunch of players an opportunity here to make an impression in the beginning, and I’m excited to be starting a new cycle that will hopefully end in the World Cup in South Korea in 2017,” Ramos said. “We’re taking 23 players in this camp, and the main reason for that is that we have back-to-back games. We play Serbia on Sept. 3 and we play France on Sept. 4, so those will be two completely different lineups and everybody will be able to get on the field and show themselves and show themselves against excellent competition.”
The Pasadena, Texas native joined the Dynamo Academy in 2010 with the U-15s and was named Dynamo Academy Player of the Year in 2013 and Players' Player of the Year in 2014. The 18-year-old was named USSDA Central Conference Player of the Year in July after scoring 26 goals in 27 games with the Dynamo Academy U-18s this season, tied for fifth in the nation. Lucatero is the seventh player from the Dynamo Academy to sign a professional contract with the Dynamo first team.
The U-20 MNT was last together for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in June. The U.S. advanced to the tournament quarterfinals where it fell to eventual champion Serbia 0(6)-0(5) in a penalty shootout.
The Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament is the first test of a new U-20 cycle for the U.S. All 23 players from this group were born in 1997, although Erik Palmer-Brown has experience in this age group as he was a part of the 2015 U-20 MNT World Cup team. Thirteen other players participated in MNT camps with the U-18 team earlier this year.
Fourteen players from this roster represent clubs in Major League Soccer, while five play in college, and the English Premier League, Bundesliga, USL and U.S. Soccer Development Academy each have single representatives on the squad.
Roster by position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Christian Herrera (Real Monarchs; Las Cruces, N.M.), Justin Vom Steeg (Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Nicholas Hinds (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.), Andrew Lombard (Northeastern; Montclair, N.J.), Christian Onalfo (LA Galaxy; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Pablo Pelaez (Seattle Sounders; San Diego, Calif.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.),
MIDFIELDERS (8): Amir Bashti (Stanford; Cupertino, Calif.), Collin Fernandez (Downers Grove, Ill.; Chicago Fire), Cameron Lindley (Chicago Fire; Carmel, Ind.), Abuchi Obinwa (Hannover 96; Orlando, Fla.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic; Libertyville, Ill.), Martin Salas (UNC; Dallas, Texas), Kyle Scott (Chelsea FC; Winterbourne, Bristol), Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): Coy Craft (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo; Pasadena, Texas), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders; Des Moines, Wash.), Nebojsa Popovic (Saint Louis; Loznica, Serbia), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Casa Grande, Ariz.)