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Jonathan Klinsmann wins starting goalkeeper job for U.S. under-20 squad

Jonathan Klinsmann
Cal goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann will start for the U.S. at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.

Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of former U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, will start in goal for the American under-20 squad at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, coach Tab Ramos confirmed on Thursday.

The U.S. opens the regional tournament -- which doubles as qualifying for the under-20 World Cup in South Korea this spring -- on Saturday against Panama.

And Klinsmann, who is in his sophomore season at the University of California, has beaten out Georgetown's JT Marcinkowski for the starting job.

"We've had very good goalkeeper competition in this cycle," Ramos told reporters on a conference call from Costa Rica, where the CONCACAF competition is being held. "At this point, Jonathan Klinsmann looks to be the one who is ahead and the starter for the tournament."

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The 19-year-old from Newport Beach, California, made 14 appearances for the Cal Bears last season, nearly doubling his total from his freshman campaign in 2015. The 6-foot-4 Klinsmann, who also holds a German passport, has represented the U.S. under-18s in the past.

"Jonathan is really coming along well," Ramos said. "He's had some training on the side -- not just training with Cal -- so he's been doing a lot of homework. At this point both goalkeepers look very good, but I think Jonathan will be our starter."

Considered one of the best strikers of his generation, Jurgen Klinsmann won the World Cup with West Germany in 1990 and coached Germany to the semifinals of the 2006 showpiece.

He took over the U.S. program in 2011, naming Ramos as an assistant, but he was fired in November after back-to-back World Cup qualifying losses to Mexico and Costa Rica.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

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