OMAHA, Neb. - Creighton sophomore Eric Miller was one of 18 players selected to play for the United States Under-20 National Team by head coach Tab Ramos for the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The tournament, which doubles as qualifiers for the U-20 World Cup, runs from Feb. 18-March 3 in Puebla, Mexico.Under-20 Men's National Team, announced Thursday Feb. 7.
This is the fourth time Miller has earned an opportunity to play for the U.S. National Team internationally and his fifth time overall. The Woodbury, Minn., native was also selected to play in the 2012 Northern Ireland Milk Cup, held July 21-26, 2012. Miller also joined the team for a training camp in Portland in April of 2012, participated in a South America tour with the team in June of 2012 and also played with the U-20 team U.S. team in a series of international friendlies against Canada, Scotland and Azerbaijan from Oct. 6-17, 2012 at the 2012 Marbella Cup in Marbella, Spain.
"Playing internationally allows you to test our where your game is," said Miller. "Hopefully I can learn from the players I face and those I'm with. Then bring that knowledge back to Creighton to make myself a better player and make my teammates better."
Miller started 19 matches for the Bluejays in 2012, logging 1, 596 minutes. A midfielder/defender, Miller collected three points on one goal and one assist this season. In his career, the Woodbury, Minn. native has one goal, three assists in 43 matches. He has started 42 matches in two seasons with the Jays, playing 3, 638 minutes.
The team departed for Toluca, Mexico, today and will head to Puebla next week to prepare for the tournament.
"We are excited and looking forward to the World Cup qualification process with this group of players," Ramos said. "This is a cohesive, talented and professional roster, and the majority of the players were on hand for our two international friendly matches against Panama in January. Having played those games in Puebla will be helpful for qualifying as the players are now familiar with the environment we will face in the CONCACAF Championship."
The U.S. is looking to qualify for its 13th FIFA U-20 World Cup, which takes place from June 21-July 13 in Turkey later this year. The top four teams from the CONCACAF U-20 Championship advance to the U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. is grouped with Costa Rica and Haiti in Group A and opens the tournament against Haiti on Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m. CT at Estadio Olímpico Universitario Lobos BUAP in Puebla. The USA then faces Costa Rica at 5:30 p.m. CT on Feb. 22 at Estadio Olímpico. Should the USA advance to the quarterfinals, its match would take place on Feb. 26. The semifinal stage is set for March 1 and the championship and third-place games on March 3.
U.S. U-20 MNT Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Zackary Steffen (FC DELCO Academy; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (5) : Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (C.D. Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5) : Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5) : Brandon Allen (Georgetown; Old Bridge, N.J.), Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.) Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)