RSL’s Okwuonu named to U-23 roster for Toulon Tournament

May 24th, 2015 | by Sean Walker
Boyd Okwuonu wins possession for Real Monarchs during a 1-1 tie with Portland Timbers 2 at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Screen capture/Real Monarchs)

Boyd Okwuonu wins possession for Real Monarchs during a 1-1 tie with Portland Timbers 2 at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Screen capture/Real Monarchs)

United States U-23 national team coach Andi Herzog named 19 players to his team’s roster for the upcoming Toulon Tournament on Sunday evening, and the squad will include at least one Real Salt Lake player.

Rookie right back Boyd Okwuonu made the cut on the current roster, which will add one more player before it is officially submitted Tuesday night.

“Toulon is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world at this age level, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the world,” Herzog in a statement from U.S. Soccer. “Having seen matches here many times before, I know the type of talent we will face. This is huge for us as we get ready for qualification this October, and is another step in the development of our players in international competition.”

Notable teammates for Okwuonu at Toulon will include U.S. senior international and 2014 World Cup veteran Julian Green of Bayern Munich, Marc Pelosi of Liverpool, standout youth goalkeeper Cody Cropper of Southampton, and Stanford’s Jordan Morris, who already owns a goal against rival Mexico to his international career before he leaves college.

Okwuonu is one of 11 players on the roster that played in the U-23’s most recent international friendly, a 3-0 wi over Mexico at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Cropper, Morris and the Colorado Rapids’ duo of Dillon Serna and Shane O’Neill were also on that team, which included RSL midfielder Luis Gil at the time.

That continuity was a primary focus for the latest tournament, Herzog said, and likely explains why Gil was among those not included in the current roster.

“I think we have a good group together,” the coach told “It’s mostly the same players we had against Mexico and the first Bosnia and Denmark trips. I want to have a little continuity and hopefully it will work in France. Obviously it’s a situation where a lot of MLS teams have a lot of games during the same time period, so mostly the players starting for the MLS teams were not released.”

The tournament is composed of two five-team groups, with the United States facing Costa Rica, France, Netherlands and Qatar in Group A. The tournament, which will be broadcast on beIN Sport in the United States, will pit the winners of Group A and Group B against each other in a one-game final June 7. The second-place teams from each group will also play in the third-place game the same day.

Attached is the complete 19-man roster, by position, for the U-23 Toulon Tournament, courtesy of U.S. Soccer.

GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Southampton; Maple Grove, Minn.), Charlie Horton (Cardiff City; Cleveland, Ohio), Tyler Miller (Zweibrücken; Woodbury, N.J.)

DEFENDERS: Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United; Catonsville, Md.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Sam Strong (Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS: Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Daniel Metzger (Unattached; Holmdel, N.J.), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool; Sunnyvale, Calif.)

FORWARDS: Julian Green (Bayern Munich; Tampa, Fla.); Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Tex.), Jerome Kiesewetter (Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.).


Sean Walker

Sean Walker

Salt City FC editor-in-chief Sean Walker has been covering soccer at all levels since 2007. He began his career in Las Vegas, and has since written for publications from the Intermountain West to Central New York, where he attended graduate school in 2012. Currently, Sean covers Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer for A struggling Evertonian by birth, Sean follows European soccer through the blue lens of the Toffees, and has strong feelings toward the UEFA Europa League.

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