Philadelphia Union's Mark McKenzie named US captain for U-20 World Cup

Philadelphia Union center back Mark McKenzie has been named United States captain for the U-20 World Cup, announced Tuesday ahead of their opening match on Friday. 

The move isn't a huge surprise as McKenzie captained the team during U-20 World Cup qualifying. The United States will face Ukraine, Nigeria and Qatar in Group D at the U-20 World Cup in Poland. 

“Mark is a natural leader,” head coach Tab Ramos said in a statement. “First of all, he’s a hard player on the field and he’s a good player. Secondly, he has that charisma off the field that allows for him to have a voice and for people to follow that voice. I think the important part is that he’s a good representative of U.S. Soccer and what we stand for, for doing the right thing all the time, for working hard and for being someone that the younger guys can look up to.”

McKenzie signed a Homegrown deal with the Union ahead of the 2018 season, making 19 appearances in his first MLS season. 

“It’s an honor to be named captain,” McKenzie said. “I hold myself to a high standard. I try and do the little things, try and push the other guys to do those little things because ultimately it adds up and it boils over on to the field. We have a lot of leaders on this team, so I’m extremely humbled to be named captain of this group.”

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