SPORTS: Weah on Under-20 World Cup team; Sargent to Gold Cup

By Associated Press |

FILE – In this May 28, 2018, file photo, United States’ Josh Sargent, left, and Tim Weah celebrate during an international friendly soccer match against Bolivia in Chester, Pa. Weah was included on the U.S. roster for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup on Friday, May 10, 2019, but Sargent was not, making it likely he will be with the senior national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – Tim Weah will be with the U.S. at the Under-20 World Cup in Poland rather than with the full national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup because of his lack of playing time in Scotland with Celtic.

Weah and midfielder Alex Mendez headed Under-20 coach Tab Ramos’ 21-man roster announced Friday. Josh Sargent also was under consideration but will report to the senior team.

“Tim has been missing a lot of games as of late,” Ramos said Friday during a round-table session at The Associated Press headquarters. “Tim has shown real interest in participating because he knew he wants to have this type of competition under his belt.”

Weah, a son of Liberia President George Weah and 1995 FIFA Player of the Year George Weah, scored three goals against Paraguay in the round of 16 at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup. He has one goal in eight appearances with the senior national team. Weah has made four starts and 13 substitute appearances for Celtic since his loan from Paris Saint-Germain started in January, scoring four goals.

He will report to the Under-20 team on Tuesday. Celtic manager Neil Lennon told Weah not to stay for this weekend’s Old Firm derby against Rangers.

“I still have a lot of growing to do in my game,” Weah said on Instagram. “And I am especially thankful to the Celtic family for giving me the opportunity to show you all what I am capable of doing once given the chance.”

Weah can be used as a striker or on the flanks.

“I think for our senior national team it’s more likely that he will be a winger, so I think it’ll be better if it with this group he plays mostly winger,” Ramos said.

Sargent, a forward who has two goals in 10 matches with Werder Bremen, had been included on the 50-man preliminary roster for the Under-20 tournament. He scored five goals at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup and twice at the 2017 Under-20 World Cup.

“I think it’s clear that he’s going to go into this summer with the senior national team,” Ramos said.

Midfielder Tyler Adams, a regular starter at RB Leipzig, was not on the preliminary roster and will be at the Gold Cup if he recovers from a muscle injury sustained in early April. The national team starts training May 27 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the Gold Cup roster will be announced June 6.

“Tyler has moved on from here,” Ramos said.

The U.S. opens against Ukraine on May 24, plays Nigeria three days later and closes the group stage against Qatar on May 30. The Americans were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2015 and 2017.

Ramos, who played for the U.S. at three World Cups, will be coaching the Americans at the Under-20 World Cup for the fourth straight tournament.

Mendez scored eight goals with six assists at last year’s CONCACAF Under-20 Championship and is among 14 holdovers from that roster. Mendez left the LA Galaxy youth system last fall to sign with Germany’s Freiburg.

Goalkeeper Brady Scott is the loan holdover from the 2017 Under-20 World Cup roster. Midfielder Jonathan Amon was left off partly because Nordsjaelland in Denmark was hesitant to release him, and Ramos said not including midfielder Frankie Amaya was among his most difficult decisions.

Philadelphia defender Mark McKenzie is recovering from an appendectomy in late April and Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal injured a hamstring April 27.

Three players from the Under-17 roster were on the preliminary 50-man roster of the U-20s and are eligible to be injury replacements: forwards Gio Reyna and Ricardo Pepi, and midfielder Gianluca Busio.

“I believe that all three rosters that I’ve had so far, we’ve had to make a change before the World Cup after we named the roster,” Ramos said.

Forwards: Ayo Akinola (Toronto). Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona, Spain), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg, Germany), Justin Rennicks (New England), Sebastian Soto (Hannover, Germany), Tim Weah (Celtic, Scotland).

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About Cholo Brooks 14438 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.