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USA U-21 team gathers for first ever training camp

The United States' U-21 team is now a reality.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Luis Gil and Wil Trapp have pulled out due to injuries.

The United States' first ever U-21 national team has been chosen. It's only for a training camp, not a tournament, but it is the start of a new program and a test of Jurgen Klinsmann's plans to remake the U.S. developmental system.

The roster is headlined by Luis Gil, Shane O'Neill, Dillon Serna, Benji Joya, Wil Trapp and Jose Villarreal, all of whom have played pretty regularly in MLS and have established themselves as professionals. They are joined by Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Alejandro Guido and Daniel Cuevas, all of whom have played prominent roles on youth national teams before.

Maybe most notable, 19 of the 21 players on the roster are signed to professional contracts, a sign of growth from the U.S. youth system. The only two non professionals, Kendall McIntosh and Jordan Morris, are in college, but prior to that played for the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders academies respectively.

The goal of the U-21 program is two-fold. First, it is to give talented Americans who may not be playing regularly for their clubs a chance to continue developing with high level training and matches. Second, it is to provide a bridge to the U-23 team which the U.S. takes to the Olympics so this group of U-21's will be the core of the Americans' 2016 Olympic team.

This team is entirely North American based so it is not quite the best U-21 side the U.S. has to offer. Players like Cody Cropper or Mario Rodriguez may have made the squad if they were able to call in European based players. Marc Pelosi would probably also be in that category if he wasn't just back from injury, but expect him to be in the mix before this cycle is over.

Tab Ramos will manage the U.S. for this camp and Klinsmann will also be present, at least for part of it. The team doesn't have a dedicated manager yet, but it is expected to gather three or four more times in 2014. This camp will run through Tuesday, with a friendly against Club Tijuana on Wednesday to round things out.

Goalkeepers: Jonathan Kempin (Oklahoma City Energy; Leawood, Kan.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)

Defenders: Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Tigres UANL; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)

Midfielders: Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.), Collin Martin (D.C. United; Chevy Chase, Md.), Esteban Rodriguez (Club Tijuana; Bell Gardens, Calif.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)

Forwards: Daniel Cuevas (CF Lobos BUAP; Sacramento, Calif.), Danny Garcia (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Jose Villarreal (Cruz Azul; Inglewood, Calif.)