SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake MF Luis Gil has been named to the 21-man U.S. Under-20 National Team roster that will compete at this summer’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.
The 19-year-old Gil has played a major role for RSL this year, appearing in 14 of the club’s 15 regular season matches, starting 13 of those games, scoring two goals and registering one assist. The Garden Grove, Calif. native departed Salt Lake City on Thursday evening to join with the U-20’s in Europe for a training camp ahead of its Group A opener against Spain on Friday, June 21. Gil will miss a minimum of three of RSL’s MLS matches and at least one of the club’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup games while with the U-20’s.
“We’re extremely proud of Luis for being named to the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster,” said RSL General Manager Garth Lagerwey. “His inclusion is a testament to all of his hard work and dedication over the last four years and also to the commitment to his development shown by our coaching staff. We are beaming with pride at Luis’s inclusion in this team and wish him well on what will be the biggest stage of his career thus far. He has our unconditional support and all of Salt Lake City will be rooting for him.”
Gil played a leading role for the U-20’s during qualification for the World Cup, scoring a pair of goals to help the team to a second-place finish at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in February and March in Puebla, Mexico. Gil and fellow U.S. U-20’s Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy) and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew) were named to the Team of the Tournament for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
Gil, who will wear No. 10 for the U-20’s, is one of nine MLS players on the U.S. roster. He is by far the most experienced professional on Head Coach Tab Ramos’s squad, with his 68 first-team league appearances dwarfing the total of any of his teammates.
The U.S. was drawn into a very difficult group for the U-20 World Cup. The Stars-and-Stripes will open Group A action against Spain on Friday, June 21 (11:45 a.m. MT; ESPN2, WatchESPN) before taking on France on June 24 (8:45 a.m. MT; ESPN2, WatchESPN) and closing out Group A play on June 27 against Ghana (10:45 a.m. MT; ESPN2, WatchESPN). The top two teams from each group and the top-four third place teams from the eight groups will advance to the tournament’s knockout stage, which is set to begin with the Round of 16 on July 2.
The U.S. recently completed a four-game stretch at the Under-21 Toulon tournament in France. Sixteen of the players on the U.S.’s 22-man Toulon Tournament roster are on the World Cup squad; Gil, Villarreal, Seattle Sounders FC DF DeAndre Yedlin, Philadelphia Union Academy GK Zach Steffen and FC Kaiserslautern FW Mario Rodriguez were the five players not on the Toulon roster that were named to the World Cup team. Gil, Villarreal and Yedlin were all held out of the Toulon camp due to regular participation with their MLS teams.
Real Salt Lake will continue its home stand on Saturday, when it will host the rival LA Galaxy at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Claret-and-Cobalt will have a quick turnaround following Saturday’s match, hosting the USL Pro Charleston Battery in the U.S. Open Cup fourth-round at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday, June 12.
The full U.S. roster for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup is below:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), 12-Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), 21-Zach Steffen (FC DELCO; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7): 13-Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), 5-Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), 18-Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), 4-Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), 14-Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 16-Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), 10-Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), 8-Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), 15-Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), 6-Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (6): 20-Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), 17-Danny Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), 7-Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), 19-Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), 9-Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.), 11-Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)