Ramos unveils U.S. U-20 roster
CHICAGO - U.S. under-20 head coach Tab Ramos on Thursday named 18 of his 20-player squad for the 2013 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, the qualifying competition for this year's FIFA U-20 World Cup.

In order to qualify for their 13th FIFA U-20 World Cup, the Americans must advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF event, which will be played February 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."

The U.S. is in three-team Group A and will face Haiti (Feb. 18) and Costa Rica (Feb. 22). Both games will be played at Estadio Universitario BUAP.

Ramos' roster features plenty of experience at this age level with Daniel Cuevas, Benji Joya, Mikey Lopez and Boyd Okwuonu sharing the team lead with 19 career U-20 caps. Joya was the lone player to see action in all 10 games in 2012 as the U.S. posted a 4-6-0 international record.

LA Galaxy's Jose Villarreal, who has one career CONCACAF Champions League goal, is the leading scorer among the group with six tallies in only nine U-20 matches.

Several members of the squad play their club football in Mexico. Cuevas and Joya ply their trade with Santos, while Juan Pablo Ocegueda is with Guadalajara.

Two additional players are expected to be added to the World Cup qualifying roster, which will be finalized in the coming days.

After qualifying for seven straight FIFA U-20 World Cups, the U.S. missed out on the 2011 tournament by falling to host Guatemala 2-1 in the CONCACAF quarterfinals.

CONCACAF Under-20 Championship: February 18 - March 3, 2013, at Puebla, Mexico

GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Southampton/England), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara), Zackary Steffen (FC DELCO)

DEFENDERS: Eric Miller (Creighton), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Guadalajara/Mexico), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids), Javan Torre (UCLA)

MIDFIELDERS: Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Benji Joya (Santos/Mexico), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg/Germany), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)

FORWARDS: Brandon Allen (Georgetown), Daniel Cuevas (Santos/Mexico), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina), Mario Rodriguez (Kaiserslautern/Germany) Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)