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USA U-20s learn World Cup qualifying group

The U.S. will have to top a six-team group to earn automatic qualification to the U-20 World Cup.

Mike Stobe

The United States has been drawn into Group A of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which will also serve as qualifying for the 2015 U-20 World Cup. They will be in the same group as hosts Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Panama and Guatemala.

The tournament will begin on January and the five group stage matches will be played over 13 days. The winners of Group A and B will automatically qualify for the World Cup, while the second and third place teams will play each other, with the winners also qualifying. The group winners will also play a championship match, but with qualification already secured. There is no word yet on TV or streaming for the qualifying tournament.

U.S. manager Tab Ramos told U.S. Soccer that the team got a bit of a tough draw because they will have to travel between both host cities, Kingston and Montego Bay, something not asked of every team.

The Americans will be heavy favorites to win their group and qualify for the World Cup, but they were also favored in 2011 and failed to qualify. Last cycle, they qualified, but failed to make it out of a really difficult group with France, Spain and Ghana.

With qualifying just two months away, the U.S. will continue preparations for the tournament next week in Spain. They will play three friendlies against the Russia, Ireland and Canada U-20 or U-21's from November 10-19. That may be the final time the group gets together before Ramos names his qualifying roster.

- Friday, Jan. 9: Guatemala, 6:30 p.m. ET
- Sunday, Jan. 11: Panama, 6:30 p.m. ET
- Wednesday, Jan. 14: Aruba, 6:30 p.m. ET
- Sunday, Jan. 18: Jamaica, 9 p.m. ET
- Wednesday, Jan. 21: Trinidad & Tobago, 6:30 p.m. ET