Tab Ramos believed US U-20s could win the whole tournament

Tab Ramos - US U-20s coach - closeup

United States Under-20 national team coach Tab Ramos believes his side’s performance at the World Cup marked a definitive step forward, even amid the disappointment of Saturday’s 2-1 extra time quarterfinal loss to Venezuela.

“I think we were for the first time at a World Cup competitive enough to think we could win it,” Ramos said. “We came here thinking we could win it. I think we represented ourselves well.”

Saturday’s loss was the US’s only defeat of the tournament after earning five points to win Group F ahead of Senegal and Saudi Arabia.

"They’re a good team, one of the best teams we’ve played in this tournament. And it’s tough, tough to swallow right now,” said captain and Sporting Kansas City product Erik Palmer-Brown. “This group of guys, we’ve grown so close together. Being with them for over two years and stuff, you grow a bond with them that you’re not going to grow with a lot of people. These guys are my brothers, they’re family now.”

The US scored 12 goals during the tournament – half coming in a 6-0 round of 16 victory over New Zealend -- and conceded six.

The Yanks did not lose a match over 90 minutes of normal time. And 17-year-old striking prospect Josh Sargent remains the tournament’s current leader with four goals.

"This is a group of players and an age group that has a lot of talent and a lot of players with tons of potential looking into the future," Ramos said. “I think we ran into a very difficult team, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this team has had a great cycle and that we have a lot of good players."