DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, August 9, 2016
United States Under-18 head coach Omid Namazi named his 20-man squad for the Vaclav Jezek tournament in the Czech Republic, bringing a mostly US-based squad with a few notable exceptions.
The eight-team U18 tournament will be played from August 16-20 in the region of Plzeň close to the German border, a global historical landmark as the origin of pilsner style beer.
The 20-man roster features a total of four players who are members of youth academies outside of US borders, alongside another seven from MLS academies.
Defender Kyle Gruno joins from the youth academy of reigning English champions Leicester City FC, this being his second U-18 camp after regular participation with junior squads.
The central defender has slowly been climbing through the youth ranks at Leicester, and could be in line to participate in the UEFA Youth League this season against the likes of Barcelona, Juventus, Paris St. Germain and a host of other top European U-19 teams.
CF Monterrey midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez is once again with the team after regularly featuring in various junior and previous U-18 camps. Gonzalez has also steadily climbed through Monterrey's youth ranks, and is expected to feature with their U-20 squad in the current Apertura season.
Also joining from the Liga MX academy system is forward Ernesto Espinoza, who is one of the number of Americans currently playing at the various levels at Tijuana-based club Xolos.
Interestingly, Sweden-based forward Nebiyou Perry has been included in the squad barely three months after featuring for Sweden in the UEFA European U-17 Championship tournament in Azerbaijan
Since Perry had only previously played in friendly matches for the US, he was not required to file paperwork for a one-time switch in order to play with Sweden, and thus is still eligible to permanently switch back should this flirtation extend to any competitive action with the youth or senior teams.
The team will kick off the competition on Tuesday, August 16 with a game against Slovakia, followed by another against Hungary the following day. After a one-day break from games, they will complete group play on Friday against Russia. This will be followed by a play-off phase over the weekend.
The other group in the tournament consists of hosts Czech Republic, Ukraine, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Douglas, Cameron: Sacramento Republic, California
Scott, Brady: De Anza Force, California
Gruno, Kyle: Leicester City Academy (England)
Jones, Daniel: New England Revolution Academy
Maher, Jack: St. Louis Scott Callagher, Illinois
Real, Matthew: Philadelphia Union Academy
Stanley, Aedan: St. Louis FC, Illinois
Vom Steeg, Carson: Real So Cal, California
Carranza, Jose: DC United Academy
Gonzalez, Jonathan: CF Monterrey Academy (Mexico)
Paoli, Andrew: San Jose Earthquakes Academy
Pomykal, Paxton: FC Dallas Academy
Servania, Brandon: FC Dallas Academy
Nick Taitague: Unattached
Brewer, Shaft: Sacramento Republic, California
Dorsey, Griffin: Colorado Rush, Colorado
Espinoza, Ernesto: Club Tijuana (Mexico)
Perry, Nebiyou: AIK Fotboll (Sweden)
Rennicks, Justin: New England Revolution Academy
Zarris, Aristotle: Unattached