Tab Ramos knows Brandon Allen.
The U.S. national team legend surprisingly chose the Georgetown freshman forward last week for the under-20 U.S. men's national team that will compete for the CONCACAF championship next week in Mexico. The aim: earning a spot in the under-20 FIFA World Cup.
"He's a [New] Jersey kid, so I've followed him for many years," said Ramos, who wasn't shocked to see Allen score 16 goals for the Hoyas and get named Soccer America freshman of the year.
Allen's rapid ascent from earning an invitation to training camp for the first time in December to making the final roster in February has altered his plans. He has withdrawn from Georgetown for the spring semester and is expected to return during the summer to catch up on his studies.
"He's excited, but he's as about as stoic a kid as you'll come across," Hoyas coach Brian Wiese said. "You'll get him to smile and say, 'Sweet,' when he's super excited. Like a lot of kids in that group, he's very confident in himself and what he can do."
Allen, 19, scored 10 game-winning goals for the Hoyas en route to the national championship game, and Wiese expects him to be unfazed by the bigger international stage. The tighter the circumstances, the more Allen seems to thrive.
"That's what he does," Wiese said. "He's got that better than anyone I've ever coached."
The United States faces Haiti on Monday and Costa Rica on Feb. 22. The top team in the three-country group advances to the semifinals March 1, with the championship March 3.
- Craig Stouffer