U.S. U-23 MNT begins Toulon Tournament group play against France
TOULON, France (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will participate in the 2015 Toulon Tournament from May 27 to June 7 in six venues in the south of France.
The USA has been drawn into Group A with host France, Netherlands, Costa Rica and Qatar. The U.S. opens against France (May 27, 1 p.m. ET), followed by Netherlands (May 29, 11 a.m. ET), Costa Rica (May 31, 11 a.m. ET), and Qatar (June 2, 12 p.m. ET). The top team from the group will advance to the final, while the second-place finisher will move on to play for third. The advancing pair from Group A will match up with the top two finishers from Group B, which includes China PR, England, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Morocco. The placement matches will be played on June 7.
All of the U.S.’s group-stage tournament games will be broadcast on BeIN SPORTS.
U.S. U-23 MNT ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Unattached; Maple Grove, Minn.), Charlie Horton (Unattached; Cleveland, Ohio), Tyler Miller (Zweibrücken; Woodbury, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (8): Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United; Catonsville, Md.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Sam Strong (UC Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Tyler Turner, (Orlando City SC; West Haven, Conn.)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls II; Holmdel, N.J.), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool; Sunnyvale, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Julian Green (Bayern Munich; Tampa, Fla.); Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Tex.), Jerome Kiesewetter (Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Unattached; Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.)
- A total of 17 players gathered in the countryside outside of Toulon on May 24. San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Fatai Alashe and goalkeeper Cody Cropper arrived on May 25, while Orlando City SC defender Tyler Turner arrived shortly before tournament kickoff May 27.
- Eight players from this roster were a part of the U-20 MNT that competed in the 2013 Toulon Tournament: Cropper, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Benji Joya, Dillon Serna, Alonso Hernandez, Alfred Koroma Shams, and Jordan Morris.
- Eleven players from this roster were a part of the group that most recently defeated Mexico 3-0 in Carson.Cropper made seven saves to earn the shutout in that game, while Morris scored a goal, and Serna and O’Neill both recorded assists.
- Five players were a part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Cropper, Hernandez, Joya, Ocegueda and O’Neill.
- Ocegueda, Hernandez, and Joya are the most experienced players at the U-23 level, each having earned five caps.
- Six players on this roster come from MLS, four from European clubs, three are from Mexico-based clubs, one plays in the USL, three are unattached and two compete at the collegiate level.
- Cropper, Green, Morris, O’Neill and Serna have all been part of a U.S. MNT senior camp this year.
- Morris is the leading goalscorer on this roster. In two matches in 2015, he has scored two goals, and overall in his four-game career with the U-23’s he has scored three times.
- Morris made his first start and scored his first international goal with the senior MNT during the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
- Julian Green, Marc Pelosi, Jalen Robinson and Turner are the only four players making their first appearance on a U-23 roster.
- Green played in the U.S. MNT’s Round of 16 match against Belgium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and scored a goal, becoming the youngest player to score in a World Cup game since 2006.
EYES ON RIO: The Toulon Tournament serves as a part of the U-23s’ continued preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, where the team will seek to earn a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. hopes to return to the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where it posted a 1-1-1 record but could not advance past the group stage. The USA’s best showing in the Olympics came during the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, when the team advanced past Japan in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in the event. The 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying championship will be played in the United States from Oct.1-13.
MOVING ON FROM TOULON: Over the years the Toulon Tournament has proven to be a springboard for success for a host of young players, as some of the biggest names in world soccer having made a name for themselves at le lieu où naissent les étoiles, the place where stars are born. Over the years, the Toulon Tournament has proven to be a springboard for success for a host of young players, as some of the biggest names in world soccer having made a name for themselves at le lieu où naissent les étoiles, the place where stars are born. Luminaries like Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Javier Mascherano, and James Rodriguez have their names recorded in the record books here, along with others close to home. In 1997, Josh Wolff earned honors as the tournament’s top goal scorer alongside France’s Thierry Henry and Colombia’s Gustavo Victoria. Wolff went on to play in a pair of World Cups for the United States, assisting on the game-winning goal against Mexico in the Round of 16 in Korea. The French legend Henry also earned Player of the Tournament honors that year, going to on to be France’s all-time leading goalscorer and a legendary figure at Arsenal and Barcelona before heading state side to play for New York Red Bulls from 2010-2014.
USA VS. FRANCE (May 27, 1 p.m. ET; Stade Léo Lagrange; Toulon, France)
- The U-23 MNT has not competed against France since Olympic soccer was designated as an Under-23 competition (1992).
- Eight players on this roster were a part of the U.S. U-20 team that faced off with France in the 2013 Toulon Tournament: Cropper, Ocegueda, O’Neill, Joya, Serna, Hernandez, Koroma Shams, and Morris. France, which was playing with a roster of U-23 players, won that matchup 4-1.
- Five players were part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Cropper, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda and O’Neill. That team tied France in 1-1 in group play. France went on to win the World Cup that year.
- Benji Joya was the lone goalscorer for the U.S. in the 2013 matchup with France
- France and the U.S. have been grouped together in four Toulon Tournaments. The U.S. is 0-0-4 in those matches.