US U-18s headed to Israel for 3-game tourney
Mike Matkovich and 20 players from the United States' U-18 squad are headed to Tel Aviv, Israel, to play in a three-match tournament next week. They will battle Germany on Dec. 13, France on Dec. 14 and Israel on Dec. 16.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Kempin, who backstopped the U-20 side to two 1-1 draws during the two-match Torneo de las Americas, will lead the defense. In August, the 17-year-old signed as Sporting Kansas City's first-ever Home Grown Player.
The lone other professional on the roster is Chicago Fire midfielder Victor Pineda, who also signed as a Home Grown Player in August.
Eight members of Major League Soccer academies made the roster. FC Dallas' trio of Michael Ambrose, Boyd Okwuonu and Jonathan Top lead the way, with Bryan Gallego and Daniel Metzger representing the New York Red Bulls. Marcus Salandy-Defour (D.C. United Academy), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders Academy) and Will Trapp (Columbus Crew Academy) round out the squad.
One player missing from the team is Real Salt Lake's Luis Gil. The playmaker spent the last week in Madrid with the Generation adidas team.
Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jonathan Kempin (Sporting Kansas City; Leawood, Kan.), Andrew Wolverton (Concorde Fire; Snellville, Ga.)
DEFENDERS (5): Michael Ambrose (FC Dallas Academy; Frisco, Texas), Jonathan Campbell (North Carolina Fusion; Greensboro, S.C.), Bryan Gallego (New York Red Bulls Academy; Kinnelon, N.J.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (UANL Tigres; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (FC Dallas Academy; Edmund, Okla.), Walker Zimmerman (GSA Phoenix; Lawrenceville, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Connor Hallisey (California Development Academy; Granite Bay, Calif.), Jordan McCrary (Concorde Fire; Marietta, Ga.), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls Academy; Holmdel, N.J.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Marcus Salandy-Defour (D.C. United Academy; Kensington, Md.), Will Trapp (Columbus Crew Academy; Gahanna, Ohio), Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler (CASL Chelsea; Cary, N.C.)
FORWARDS (5): Villyan Bijev (Cal Odyssey; Fresno, Calif.), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders Academy; Federal Way, Wash.), Luis Rendon (FC Richmond Magic; Chesterfield, Va.), Khiry Shelton (Lonestar SC Academy; Leander, Texas), Jonathan Top (FC Dallas Academy; Forth Worth, Texas)
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.