BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, August 30, 2010
As the US U20 national team prepares to depart for Peru next week, one of the players on the roster who will be making his debut for the squad is Crystal Palace Baltimore's right back Korey Veeder.
Veeder, 18, has previously spent time with the US U17 and U18 teams. But now a professional, he will look establish himself on a strong U20 team that is coming off an undefeated Milk Cup title-run last month in Northern Ireland.
"It's my first callup with the U20s," Veeder told YA. "I was in the residency program for a year. I was called up for a trip to Australia with the U18s but I couldn't go because when they went I was in high school during midterms and I would have failed if I missed them. After that, I've never been called up since. It's been a while. More than two years."
While Veeder is a newcomer to the team, he is anxious for the chance to prove himself and show that he can help the team in this cycle and perhaps also next year at the World Cup in Colombia.
"I was very happy about getting the call. I think I deserve it. I've been working hard and I think I am one of the youngest players in this league. I've been playing a lot of games. I've been looking forward to making a trip, maybe two, with [the U20s] before the World Cup and hopefully get picked."
The US roster for the Cuadrangular Internacional Tournament will consist entirely of players who are playing in professional environments.
Among the leagues where the US players compete are Germany, Portugal, MLS and seven players who play in Mexico.
Veeder is the only player who is signed permanently with the USSF Division 2 Professional League. He feels that his move to Crystal Palace Baltimore has been a good place for him to start his professional career.
"I think it's a great league for a younger player," Veeder assessed. "Here you can develop more and see the stuff you need to work on. I think it's made me a better player."
"The speed of the game is quick here," he continued. "You don't have much time on the ball and usually you are always pressured. I think it's pretty good for me to play here as a rookie to get used to the game more. I've been happy. For how young I am, I have been getting a good amount of games. This Sunday will be my 17th game of the season."
While Veeder is happy with his development in his first professional season in Baltimore, it was not the initial plan.
There was significant interest from Crystal Palace in London who wanted Veeder to get loaned out within Europe but due to the club's dire financial problems, things fell through.
Veeder has received indications that next year, he could see another loan deal within Europe take place.
"I was supposed to go to Portugal for two years where [Crystal Palace] had contacts," Veeder recalled. "But since Crystal Palace went into financial problems, it never happened. They told me to keep working hard because at the end of this season they could put me on loan to a team possibly in Belgium."
Veeder makes no secret of his ambition to take his career permanently overseas into the elite leagues of Europe. While he is progressing well in Baltimore, he knows that his development could be accelerated in Europe if he makes the move at a young age.
"It will be good to get over to Europe especially at my age. I am hoping to be overseas next year but if not, I will come back here and play one more season to get more experience. In the long run I want to be overseas in good league, maybe in England or Spain. I just want to be playing for a good club. I've been thinking a lot about it this year."
Veeder's primary goal in the coming year however will be to put himself in position to make the World Cup team for the US.
After being part of the US youth teams in the past, he knows that the players of this age group have the potential to be a special generation for American Soccer.
"When I was in residency, I know that the players at this age can go far," Veeder said frankly. "We have good players and most of the players are playing overseas now or are in MLS or are in the top college programs like Akron and Maryland. I think this U20 team go far and maybe win the World Cup."
Next month the US will try to win its second major tournament of the cycle in Peru. At the Cuadrangular Internacional Tournament, the US will face Paraguay, Colombia, and hosts Peru in what looks to be a significant challenge.
"It's going to be exciting," Veeder admitted. "Those teams are skillful and fast. It will be hard but I think we will go out and do our best. Hopefully we will pull out results and learn from it."
Veeder is also hopeful that a good performance in Peru will put him in a solid position to claim a right back spot on the U20 team moving forward. Making the team has been a major goal for him since the start of the cycle.
"It's the one thing that has been getting me going," Veeder said of his goal to making the World Cup team. "Hopefully I will be called up [to the World Cup team] but that's my main goal right now. I've been working hard on things I need to improve."
Veeder will head to Peru this week to join the US U20 national team where they will kick off their Cuadrangular Internacional Tournament campaign against Paraguay on September 6th.