COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Thursday, February 7, 2013) – Colorado Rapids Homegrown Player and Boulder native Shane O’Neill has been called up for the United States Under-20 National Team by head coach Tab Ramos for the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The tournament, which doubles as qualifiers for the U-20 World Cup, runs from Feb. 18-March 3 in Puebla, Mexico.
“We are excited and looking forward to the World Cup qualification process with this group of players,” Ramos said. “This is a cohesive, talented and professional roster, and the majority of the players were on hand for our two international friendly matches against Panama in January. Having played those games in Puebla will be helpful for qualifying as the players are now familiar with the environment we will face in the CONCACAF Championship.”
O’Neill, a 19-year-old who played with the Rapids Development Academy squad from 2009-2012, is one of five Major League Soccer players named to the roster. He was part of the training camp that took place in January and played the full 90 minutes in the United States’ first of two matches against Panama (a 2-2 draw). The midfielder made his MLS debut in the 3-0 victory over Portland Timbers on September 5, and was a substitute for the Rapids against Swansea City FC of the English Premier League on July 24, 2012, a 2-1 victory.
The U.S. is looking to qualify for its 13th FIFA U-20 World Cup, which takes place from June 21-July 13 in Turkey later this year. The top four teams from the CONCACAF U-20 Championship advance to the U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. is grouped with Costa Rica and Haiti in Group A and opens the tournament against Haiti on Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m. CT at Estadio Olímpico Universitario Lobos BUAP in Puebla. The USA then faces Costa Rica at 5:30 p.m. CT on Feb. 22 at Estadio Olímpico. Should the USA advance to the quarterfinals, its match would take place on Feb. 26. The semifinal stage is set for March 1 and the championship and third-place games on March 3.
U.S. U-20 MNT Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Zackary Steffen (FC DELCO Academy; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (5): Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (C.D. Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): Brandon Allen (Georgetown; Old Bridge, N.J.), Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.) Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)
The Rapids travel to Nevada next week to participate in the Las Vegas ProSoccer Challenge against Chivas USA on February 15. They will also play a friendly match against UNLV on February 14. Tickets for the 2013 Colorado Rapids season are now on sale, including full and partial season plans as well as single game tickets for the first eight matches.