CHICAGO – Maryland rising junior Eryk Williamson and the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team are set to compete in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic from May 20-June 11.
Williamson and other team members departed for training camp in Japan on May 10 before arriving in Korea Republic on May 17. The U.S. was drawn into Group F with Ecuador, Senegal and Saudi Arabia. The team opens group play against Ecuador on May 22 (4 a.m. ET), followed by matches with Senegal on May 25 (7 a.m. ET) and Saudi Arabia on May 28 (5 a.m. ET). The first two games will be played at Incheon Stadium in Incheon, while the third and final group game will be played at Daejeon World Cup Stadium in Daejeon. All of the U.S.'s group matches will be broadcast live on FS1.
The U-20 MNT capped its qualifying run at the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship with five-straight wins. After opening the tournament with a 1-0 loss against Panama, the team went on to defeat Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis by matching 4-1 score lines, earning first place in Group B and advancement to the Classification Stage. There, the U-20 MNT used a 29th minute header from Erik-Palmer Brown to earn a 1-0 victory against rivals Mexico, breaking El Trí's 20-match unbeaten streak at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Head coach Tab Ramos' side followed up that victory with a 2-1 win against El Salvador to punch its ticket to Korea Republic and also advance to the tournament Final against Honduras. Having played to a 0-0 draw, the U.S. was perfect in converting its penalty kicks, defeating Los Catrachos 5-3 in the shootout to clinch its first regional crown at U-20 level.
The USA's best finish at the U-20 World Cup came in Saudi Arabia in 1989, where a team backstopped by future MNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller finished fourth. Most recently under Ramos in 2015, the USA advanced from its group and defeated Colombia 1-0 in the Round of 16 before falling to eventual champions Serbia 6-5 on penalty kicks in the Quarterfinal.