SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – A pair of youngsters will get a chance to shine for Costa Rica ahead of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Head coach Ramirez has called in under-20 national team star Jimmy Marin and 23-year-old Jose Leiton – both midfielders with current Costa Rican champion Herediano -- making them part of a 26-player squad that will train before the roster is reduced to 23 for next month’s tournament in the United States.
“Leiton and Jimmy are boys who have been working in the processes of other national teams and are part of this intermediate group that we have and who we want to continue watching,” said Ramirez. “It is not the same watching them in their teams as having them called up.”
Earlier this year, the 19-year-old Marin competed in five games at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship and scored once in four appearances at the recently-completed FIFA U-20 World Cup. Leiton played in 27 games during the 2016/17 campaign for the Florenses after arriving from CS Uruguay in June 2016,
The Ticos open their Gold Cup schedule on July 7 against Honduras at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, so Ramirez is keen to make the most of the next two-and-a-half weeks.
“We know that we have to reduce the list (from 26 to 23 players),” Ramirez finished. “But, for the moment, we will work with this deep group of players to be able to complete a series of specific tasks, foreseeing any situation that can arise during the two weeks of preparation.”
Costa Rica had advanced to the quarterfinals in each of the last three Gold Cups.
Preliminary Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS: Dany Carvajal (Saprissa), Leonel Moreira (Herediano), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense)
DEFENDERS: Johnny Acosta (Herediano), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United/USA), Christian Gamboa (Celtic/Scotland), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Palermo/Italy), Kenner Gutierrez (Alajuelense), Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC/USA);Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland/England), Jose Salvatierra (Alajuelense), Michael Umaña (no club), Juan Pablo Vargas (CS Herediano)
MIDFIELDERS: Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), David Guzman (Portland Timbers), Jose Leiton (Herediano), Jimmy Marin (Herediano), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Lisbon/Portugal), Ulises Segura (Saprissa), Yeltsin Tejeda (Lausanne-Sport/Switzerland), Johan Venegas (Minnesota United); Rodney Wallace (New York City FC/USA)
FORWARDS: Joel Campbell (Arsenal FC/England), David Ramirez (Saprissa), Ariel Rodríguez (Bangkok Glass/Thailand), Marco Ureña (San Jose Earthquakes/USA