Dillon Serna looks at bright side of missing out on U-20 World Cup squad

Homegrown player returns to Colorado looking to improve as an offensive-minded player

Dillon Serna with U.S. U-20s vs Colombia in 2013 Toulon Tournament

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy Boitiaux Guillaume

If Dillon Serna was disappointed in being excluded from the U.S. Under-20 World Cup roster, he didn't let it show in his first training session with the Colorado Rapids since returning from the U.S. team's camp over the weekend.

"It was a great experience for me," Serna told ColoradoRapids.com Tuesday after training at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. "It's kind of hard hearing that kind of news, especially because some of the players on the final roster weren't in qualifying. But being able to come back here is kind of exciting for me; to be able to be here all the time now and hopefully try to prove myself every single day for one of those spots."

Last Friday the U.S. Soccer Federation announced the 21-man roster that will represent the U.S. at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey later this month. Rapids defender Shane O'Neill made the cut, while Serna was one of 14 players named as alternates.

Serna, who turned 19 in March, knew going into the recently completed Toulon Tournament in France that he was on the bubble to make the final roster. After starting the final two matches of the CONCACAF Championships qualifying tournament in March at right back, Serna was used as a left back by U-20 head coach Tab Ramos in France.

Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja had accepted that Serna was being looked at on the defensive end by the U-20s. However the second-year coach has a different opinion of how best to utitlize Serna's talents.

“But we see (Serna) as an offensive player," Pareja told The Denver Post recently. "I think he can develop as an attacking-minded player.”

Serna agrees.

"I definitely like hearing that," Serna said of Pareja's comments. "I feel like I'm strongest as an attacking player, not so much as a forward but maybe as a mid. If that's where (Pareja) thinks I can fit, to help the team, than I'll do whatever."

Athough the Brighton, Colo. native did not make the final squad, he's working hard to be prepared in case he's needed before the tournament starts in Turkey on June 21.

"(Ramos) just said to come home and stay fit," Serna said. "So if anything does happen they can call me and I'll be ready."