Alberth Elis (white jersey) represented Honduras at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduras departed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Thursday, heading first to Uruguay prior to moving on to New Zealand, the tournament’s host country.
Head coach Jorge Jimenez was accompanied by 19 players, who will be joined by the Major League Soccer-based duo of forward Bryan Rochez and Deybi Flores in New Zealand.
"I believe the previous under-17 national team left a very high standard,” said Jimenez. “The former national team head coach, Luis Fernando Suarez, said it himself before he departed. However, for us, there are no limits and the minimum is thinking about the fourth game.”
In 2013, the Catrachos reached the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, falling to 2-1 to eventual third-place finisher Sweden. A handful players from that successful squad, including forward Alberth Elis – who was the team's joint-top scorer with Rochez in the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship with four goals – are on the current U-20 roster.
Honduras will play two friendlies against Uruguay (May 11 & 13) and then fly to New Zealand on May 15.
Its World Cup campaign will open against Group F rival Uzbekistan on June 1, followed by meetings with Fiji (June 4) and Germany (June 7). All three matches will be in Christchurch.
HONDURAS UNDER-20 ROSTER
(FIFA U-20 World Cup: May 30 – June 20, 2015, in New Zealand)
GOALKEEPERS: Christian Hernandez (Motagua), Roberto Lopez (Real España), Rodimiro Tejeda (Parrillas One)
DEFENDERS: Kevin Alvarez (Olimpia), Dabirson Castillo (Platense), Carlos Moncada (Real España), Jonathan Paz (Real Sociedad), Marcelo Pereira (Motagua), Ismael Santos (Olimpia)
MIDFIELDERS: Jhow Benavídez (Real España), Michael Chirinos (Olimpia), Jose Escalante (Olimpia), Deybi Flores (Vancouver Whitecaps/Canada), Devron García (Victoria), Kevin Lopez (Motagua), John Paul Suazo (Marathón), Elder Torres (Vida)
FORWARDS: Orental Bodden (Marathon), Alberth Elis (Olimpia), Júnior Lacayo (Santos/Mexico), Bryan Rochez (Orlando City SC/USA)