Ian Harkes, Jaime Villarreal headline MLS academy contingent called to US U-20 national team camp
Twelve players with MLS academy ties have been called into a US Under-20 national team training camp set to kick off at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., this week.
Two of those called hail from particularly noteworthy soccer families: Ian Harkes, a sophomore at Wake Forest University and the son of US national team and MLS legend John Harkes, and Jaime Villarreal, younger brother of Jose Villarreal, the LA Galaxy Homegrown currently on loan to Mexico's Cruz Azul. Harkes played in the D.C. United Academy, while Villarreal is currently part of the LA Galaxy Academy.
In addition to Harkes and Villarreal, the camp includes four players from the New York Red Bulls Academy: high-schoolers Evan Louro and Chris Lema (who played for New York's U-23s in the US Open Cup on Wednesday night) and collegians Alex Muyl and Adam Najem.
Two players with Chicago Fire ties were included in Marquette forward Louis Bennett and North Carolina State defender Travis Wannemuehler, who played for the Fire's satellite Indiana Fire program. Kris Reaves (FC Dallas) is the last collegian with MLS ties, while Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake-Arizona) and Ahinga Selemani (Crew satellite program CSA Wolves) are currently part of their respective academies.
Bayer Leverkusen forward Kainoa Bailey played for D.C. United in the 2010 SUM U-17 Cup and spent time in residency with Real Salt Lake but is no longer part of either team's protected player list.
The U-20s, beginning preparations for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, will meet local sides in three scrimmages during the camp, which runs from Saturday to May 25: the NASL's Carolina RailHawks, the RailHawks' U-23 squad and the Wilmington Hammerheads of the USL PRO. US U-20 assistant coach and Chicago Fire technical director Brian Bliss will lead the camp as head coach Tab Ramos is taking part in the senior national team's pre-World Cup training camp in Stanford, Calif.
US Soccer has convened a young group, with 13 players seeing their first action at the U-20 level and only nine returnees from the team's last domestic camp, in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., in January. After the camp in North Carolina, the U-20s will next gather for the NTC Invitational Tournament in July at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif.
Full US U-20 camp roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Evan Louro (New York Red Bulls Academy; Ridgefield, N.Y.)
DEFENDERS (8): Conor Donovan (Carolina RailHawks Academy; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Caleb Duvernay (Carolina RailHawks Academy; Cary, N.C.), Chris Odoi-Atsem (Maryland; Mitchellville, Md.), Miguel Polley (Temple; Woodridge, Ill.), Kris Reaves (FC Dallas Academy; Duluth, Ga.), Robert Sagel (Temple University; Las Vegas), Jesus Vazquez (Tigres UANL; San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Travis Wannemuehler (N.C. State; Evansville, Ind.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy; Escondido, Calif.), Ian Harkes (Wake Forest; Fairfax, Va.), Jacori Hayes (Wake Forest; Bowie, Md.), Chris Lema (New York Red Bulls; Ridgefield, N.J.), Eric Lickert (SC Freiburg; Glottertal, Germany), Alex Muyl (Georgetown; New York), Adam Najem (Akron; Clifton, N.J.), Jake Rozhansky (Bethesda-Olney; Takoma Park, Md.)
FORWARDS (6): Kainoa Bailey (Bayer 04 Leverkusen; Henderson, Nev.), Louis Bennett (Marquette; Shorewood, Wis.), Andrija Novakovich (Reading FC; Muskego, Wis.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Jaime Villarreal (LA Galaxy Academy; Inglewood, Calif.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea SC; Garland, Texas)