Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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The United States has announced its 21-man roster for this summer's U-20 World Cup in Turkey - and once again, two Minnesotans will represent their country.
Maple Grove native Cody Cropper will likely enter the tournament as the USA's starting keeper. Cropper, 20, played every game in February and March's CONCACAF Championship, which also served as the regional qualifying tournament for this World Cup. The USA reached the final before losing to Mexico, 3-1 in extra time.
Eric Miller of Woodbury will also be part of the squad heading to Turkey. Miller, also 20, just finished his sophomore year at Creighton, where he was manned the back line with current Minnesota United FC defender Brent Kallman. Miller played just 45 minutes in the CONCACAF tournament, but is back with the squad for this summer's trip to Europe.
Unlike the senior World Cup, the U-20 version is held every two years instead of every four. The USA did not qualify for the 2011 edition, or Cropper - who was part of the U-20 national team even then, as an 18-year-old - would be on his second World Cup visit.
The tournament starts June 21; the Americans are in a group with France, Spain, and Ghana, and will face a challenge in getting through to the knockout round, where they haven't made it since 2007. The games against Spain (June 21, 1pm) and France (June 24, 10am) will be televised on ESPN2; the game against Ghana (June 27, noon) will be shown on ESPNU.
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