Not a moment too soon, U.S. Soccer has announced the hiring of Mikey Varas as U-20 coach. The announcement comes less than a week before the USMNT U-20 national team’s first game at the Revelations Cup, where they will be joined by Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Varas served as assistant to Luchi Gonzalez during Luchi’s time at FC Dallas.
Next summer, the USMNT U-20s will compete for spots in both the 2023 U-20 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics. After the disappointment of seeing both the U-20 and U-17 World Cups canceled for 2021 due to Covid, the new cycle is finally underway.
USMNT general manager Brian McBride spoke on Varas’ hiring: “We’re thrilled to bring Mikey on board to lead our U-20 Men’s National Team. This summer’s Concacaf Championship has taken on even more importance now that it also serves as Olympic qualification, and we’re confident that Mikey has the right qualities to continue our success at the U-20 level. This age group has been critical in advancing players to our senior Men’s National Team and Mikey’s experience developing players from the FC Dallas Academy to become successful pros makes him an excellent choice for this role.”
Varas also spoke on his new role: “There’s an overwhelming sense of honor and pride to be able to represent the U.S. I’m going to represent our country with uncompromising honor, passion and dedication. I’m going to put my heart and soul into every minute that I’m in this role. From the current senior National Team to youth players, you see an exciting generation, not one that’s going to come and disappear, but a consistent future for our country. It’s very exciting to be able to work with that top talent.
“There’s huge alignment between what we were trying to do at Dallas and what Gregg Berhalter is doing with the USMNT. When I went to FC Dallas as an academy coach, I had it clear that my purpose was to develop as many pros as possible. What can we do to maximize the potential of talent that we have the honor of helping nurture? My purpose is to advance these players.”
At the same time, U.S. Soccer announced the U-20 USMNT roster for the Revelations Cup. Here’s Varas on the roster and the tournament: “One of my strongest core values is to compete, to always embrace competition, and we’re getting into that right off the bat. I want to get to know the group as well as I possibly can in the time that we have and lay a foundation for the type of culture that the U-20s are going to have leading into qualification. That culture is going to be everything to create the feeling that we’re on a mission. We’re going to evaluate where our strengths are and how we can capitalize on those strengths, and understand the areas we have to improve.
“We’ll plant the seeds in terms of culture and playing and then get the boys to compete at their best level possible, learn from what happens in this tournament and then create a long-term plan to make sure that when we hit qualifiers, the team’s flying.”
All matches from the Revelations Cup will be broadcast on TUDN. Here’s the schedule:
- Wednesday, Nov. 10 - USA vs. Brazil - 6:00 p.m. ET
- Saturday, Nov. 13 - USA vs. Colombia - 4:30 p.m. ET
- Tuesday, Nov. 16 - USA vs. Mexico - 6:00 p.m. ET
The U-20 pool is made of players born 2003 or later; most of them are only 17 or 18 years old right now. Let’s take a look at who was called into this first camp!
GOALKEEPERS (2): Alexander Borto (Fulham FC/ENG.; South Plainfield, N.J.), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire FC.; Addison, Ill.)
DEFENDERS (7): Justin Che (FC Dallas; Richardson, Texas), Jacob Greene (D.C. United; Crofton, Md.), Kobi Henry (Orange County S.C.; Lake Forest, Calif.), Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy; Lakewood, Calif.), Kayden Pierre (Sporting Kansas City; Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Casey Walls (Mill Valley, Calif.; San Jose Earthquakes), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United; Atlanta, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Paxten Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford, N.J.), Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls; Wayzata, Minn.), Daniel Edelman (New York Red Bulls; Warren, N.J.), Jeremy Garay (D.C. United; Crofton, Md.), Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders; Las Vegas, Nev.), Diego Luna (El Paso Locomotive; Redwood, Calif.), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Middle Village, N.Y.), Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split/CRO; Stillwater, Okla.)
FORWARDS (6): Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; Ceres, Calif.), Brian Gutierrez (Chicago Fire F.C.; Chicago, Ill.), Missael Rodriguez (Chicago Fire; Chicago, Ill.), Malick Sanogo (1. FC Union Berlin/GER; Berlin, Germany), Dante Sealy (PSV Eindhoven/NED; Frisco, Texas), Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.)
vs. , ,— U.S. Soccer YNT (@USYNT) November 5, 2021
The U-20 #USMNT cycle kicks off with a bang at @RevCupMexico!! Meet the 23 players set for some stellar competition in Celaya for head coach Mikey Varas’s first games in charge ⤵️
What do you think of Mikey Varas being hired as U-20 coach? How about this first U-20 roster? Hit the comments to discuss.