Obed Vargas has been called into the final US training camp ahead of the U20 Men’s World Cup, while Reed Baker Whiting was called into the U19 camp. This is the final camp before the U20 World Cup that runs May 20-June 11.
Vargas is one of only two players named to the U20 roster who were born in 2005, and he’s actually a few months younger than fellow 17-year-old Josh Wynder. The U19 team is mostly redundant, but allows for US Soccer to get a look at more age-eligible players.
The USMNT U20 training camp will run from March 19-29 and features three matches against France, England and Serbia’s U21 team. The U19 team runs March 18-28, will be held in Argentina, and features matches against Argentina and Racing Club de Avellaneda
As a result, both players will miss the Sounders’ match against Sporting KC on March 25.
If the Sounders had wanted they could have declined the call-ups for one or both players.
“It’s important as a club that we do right by both players young and old,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said on Friday. “Some of these opportunities for these kids are good ones for their development and also for the club in case they do well and there’s a potential sale down the road. It’s an easy question to answer.”
Unlike the last time Vargas was called into the U20 team — which came during World Cup qualification — there wasn’t as much push-and-pull around letting him go this time. Although he’s fully healed from the back injury that ultimately kept him out of that qualifying tournament, Vargas suffered a quadriceps injury that forced him to miss much of preseason training camp this year. He returned from that injury several weeks ago, but the Sounders have elected to get him minutes with the Tacoma Defiance during preseason games rather than put him on the bench for any of their first three MLS contests.
Similarly, Baker-Whiting had not been playing for the first team and recently appeared for the Defiance in a preseason game. His absence — along with Alex Roldan’s — likely clears the way for Ethan Dobbelaere to start at right back.
U-19 MYNT ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; HOMETOWN) - MARCH TRAINING CAMP
GOALKEEPERS (2): Gavin Beavers (Real Salt Lake; Las Vegas, Nev.), Charles DeMarco (BW Gottschee; New York, N.Y.)
DEFENDERS (7): Reed Baker-Whiting (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Tyler Bindon (Los Angeles FC; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Alexander Freeman (Orlando City SC; Plantation, Fla.), Drew Murray (Oakland Roots; San Jose, Calif.), Nolan Norris (FC Dallas; Celina, Texas), Walter Portales (Club America/MEX; Los Angeles, Calif.), Fritz Volmar (St. Louis CITY SC; St. Louis, Mo.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Favian Loyola (Orlando City SC; Orlando, Fla.), Bryan Moyado (Los Angeles FC; La Puente, Calif.), Sergio Oregel Jr. (Chicago Fire FC; Chicago, Ill.), Miguel Perez (St. Louis CITY SC; St. Louis, Mo.), Paulo Rudisill (LA Galaxy; Irvine, Calif.), Marcel Ruszel (Torino/ITA; Barrington, IL)
FORWARDS (5): Zach Booth (Leicester City/ENG; Eden, Utah), Kristian Fletcher (DC United; Bethesda, Md.), Rodrigo Neri (Atletico Madrid/ESP; Madrid, Spain), Korede Osundina (Orange County SC; Redmond, Wash.), Marcos Zambrano (Benfica/POR; Gladwyne, Pa.)
U19 SCHEDULE - MARCH TRAINING CAMP
Friday, March 24 - U-19 MYNT vs. Argentina - 9:30 a.m. ET
Monday, March 27 - U-19 MYNT vs. Racing Club de Avellaneda - 9 a.m. ET
U-20 MYNT ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; HOMETOWN) - MARCH TRAINING CAMP
GOALKEEPERS (2): Antonio Carrera (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; Addison, Illinois)
DEFENDERS (7): Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Mauricio Cuevas (Club Brugge/BEL; Los Angeles, Calif.), Marcus Ferkranus (Los Angeles Galaxy; Santa Clarita, Calif.), Jonathan Gomez (Real Sociedad/ESP; Keller, Texas), Michael Halliday (Orlando City SC; Apopka, Fla.), Thomas Williams (Orlando City SC; Titusville, Fla.), Joshua Wynder (Louisville City FC; Louisville, Ken.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Alejandro Alvarado Jr. (Vizela/POR; Los Angeles, Calif.), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Middle Village, N.Y.), Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split/CRO; Stillwater, Oklahoma), Obed Vargas (Seattle Sounders FC; Anchorage, Alaska), Owen Wolff (Austin FC; Austin, Texas)
FORWARDS (5): Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; Medford, N.J.), Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER; South Riding, Va.), Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Darren Yapi (Colorado Rapids; Denver, Colo.)
USA SCHEDULE - MARCH TRAINING CAMP
Wednesday, March 22 - U-20 MYNT vs. France U-20 - 8 AM PT
Saturday, March 24 - U-20 MYNT vs. England U-20 - 8 AM PT
Tuesday, March 28 - U-20 MYNT vs. Serbia U-21 - 6 AM PT