U.S. U-20 coach Tab Ramos held a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which starts this week in Turkey. The U.S. kicks off group play Friday against Spain, the tournament favorite.
One of the players who came up a few times on the call was Sounders FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, who was brought in for the World Cup after being left out during qualifying in the CONCACAF U-20 championships.
The 19-year-old Seattle native was actually the first player Ramos brought up when asked how the defense has improved. And later the coach expanded on what Yedlin offers.
“I think there are a number of things that he brings to the table,” Ramos said. “The number one thing is obviously his experience at this point, having played a bunch of professional games over the past few months and having been able to train in a professional environment, where he has to earn his position every day. It’s certainly a great help for us.
“Obviously in terms of what he brings specifically on the field, his speed, his ability to go forward, which is what we like. He has a good ability to get back on defense quickly and play the game with urgency, which is the way we like to play. I think he was one of those pieces that we really have to speak to too much in terms of trying to fit him into our roster.”
Ramos brought Yedlin up again when detailing how the team is different now than before. The coach noted how the Sounder was called into an earlier camp, didn’t do too well, wasn’t a part of the national team for a while, signed a professional contract, got some experience and has now become “a vital part” of the U-20s.
* * *
How interested are you in this tournament, especially with a local connection?