Union's Mark McKenzie, Matt Real Called up by United States Under-20 National Team Ahead of 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup
CHESTER, Pa. - In conjunction with U.S. Soccer, Philadelphia Union announced today that Homegrown defenders Mark McKenzie and Matt Real have been called-up by the United States Under-20 Men's National Team to represent the Stars and Stripes at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The tournament takes place in Poland, beginning on May 23.
McKenzie and Real join Auston Trusty and Derrick Jones as Union Academy graduates who have represented the United States while on the Union roster at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Both Trusty and Jones played for the USA in the 2017 version of this tournament. Including Bethlehem Steel FC forward Saed Diaz, who has been named to Panama's roster for this tournament, the Union organization has had five different players represent the club at this event over the past two cycles.
"It is an incredible honor for both Mark and Matt to represent their country at this tournament, and all of us at the Union are proud of their achievements thus far," said Ernst Tanner, Union Sporting Director. "The U-20 World Cup will be a difficult test, but one that Mark and Matt have earned the right to take on through their talent and hard work here with Philadelphia. We look forward to watching the tournament and we know that both players will represent the Union well."
Both players will depart for Poland on Monday, May 13 ahead of a training camp and a pre-tournament match vs. Uruguay (May 18). From there, the USA plays three matches in the Group Stage: vs. Ukraine (May 24), Nigeria (May 27) and Qatar (May 30). The top two teams in each group are guaranteed qualification to the Knockout Stage, which begins on June 2 and ends with the final in Lodz, Poland on June 15.
McKenzie was called up to the U.S. U-20s for the first time in late 2017, ahead of the inaugural United States Youth National Team Summit Camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Recently, he played for the U-20s in the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship, a tournament which he helped the U.S. win, earning qualification to the World Cup in the process. In the Semifinals, vs. Honduras (November 19), he started and served as captain in a 1-0 win. He also started the final vs. Mexico, a 2-0 win (November 21).
Similarly, Real's first U-20 call-up came in late 2017 at the Summit Camp. He also participated in the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship, where he was named the team's captain. He started each of the first three Group Stage matches, all victories, as well as the first match of the qualification stage, vs. Costa Rica (November 16), and the final vs. Mexico.
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