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A Veteran Voice: Bedoya Looks Beyond Immediate Results

For the U.S. Men’s National Team, another camp in the books meant another 10 days for a group of players to come together and go to work in both training, and against opponents like Denmark and Switzerland.

Alejandro Bedoya, a veteran of these camps, knows how important they are.

“The last 10 days have been what I think we set out for them to be, which is, we tried to come in and get better and at the same time involve these younger guys and get them more experience and understanding of what it takes to play for the National Team on the international scene,” said Bedoya. “We were able to work on different formations with players in different positions, and that can only be better for our game and continued development.”

The camp allowed some of the veterans, like Bedoya, to gain experience with the newer faces. Two of those were goalkeeper William Yarbrough and center back Ventura Alvarado, who both earned their first cap with the U.S. MNT during this camp.

“I feel like the National Team, at the moment, is a lot younger than it maybe was before,” said Bedoya.
“I think being together for 10 days here in Europe; it allowed us to integrate ourselves more with each other not only on the field, but off the field as well. That translates to our performances. We were able to have different options, different formations, different looks and play alongside different players. For the new guys coming up and getting chances, this is going to give them experience and give them more confidence and motivation moving forward.”

Despite the tough 2-3 loss to Denmark on March 25, holding off No. 12-ranked Switzerland to a 1-1 draw while playing with 10 men in the last 22 minutes on March 31, was a valuable opportunity that gave players the chance for performances they can build on.

“Obviously, it’s frustrating to lose like we did against Denmark where we had the lead twice, but there are many positives to take from that game as we continue to work on our high pressure and different elements. With the result against Switzerland, which is a really good side, I think we put in a great effort all around. I think we outplayed them in the first half, and then in the second half, with the circumstances and playing a man down, it made it a lot tougher, but I think the effort was there and there were definitely some bright spots that we can take forward.”

Ultimately, the time spent on the training pitch and playing two games against quality European teams on the road over the past 10 days will only help the team as it continues preparation for the 2015 Gold Cup.

“[The Gold Cup] is the ultimate goal, and these friendlies allow us to tinker around and play with different things, whether it’s players taking different responsibilities or trying out different formations, to seeing who steps up, and what works and what doesn’t,” said Bedoya. “That what these friendlies are for, and that’s more important than results. The results are going to matter when the Gold Cup comes around, and hopefully all these games that we’ve played, we’ll serve us as the right preparation for the summer.”

COPA

U.S. Soccer to Hold Fan Headquarters April 14-15 Prior to USA-Mexico, Presented by AT&T

CHICAGO (March 25, 2015) – U.S. Soccer is planning an exciting series of activities to energize fans and display the passion for the sport of soccer in San Antonio, Texas, beginning on April 14, as the U.S. Men’s National Team is set to take on Mexico, Presented by AT&T, on April 15.

U.S. Soccer’s Fan Headquarters in San Antonio is the official pregame party for fans attending the USA vs. Mexico match. FanHQ San Antonio will kick off on April 14, the night before the game, at Sunset Station to celebrate one of the biggest matchups of the year. Space is limited and an RSVP is required for admission to this free event.

FanHQ at Sunset Station
Date: April 14
Time: 7 p.m.-12 a.m. CT
Location: Sunset Station, 1174 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Space is Limited, Tickets Required - RSVP Below

Fan HQ San Antonio will continue on April 15, outside the Alamodome in the North Plaza, starting at 3:30 p.m. CT, prior to kickoff of the sold-out USA-Mexico game at 7:30 p.m. CT.

The event will include a wide array of activities, ranging from exhibitions to giveaways and contests, for fans to enjoy and experience ahead of one of the biggest rivalries in soccer. There will also be food and beverages available for purchase, and an on-site official U.S. Soccer store.

Several of the exhibitions that will take place will connect art, fashion and culture to the game of soccer, as well as to the USA-Mexico match itself. 

Kicks to the Pitch, an online magazine and live event production company, will bring three exhibitions that together aim to showcase the game in a fresh, unique and cutting edge way to attract tastemakers and trendsetters to the sport. These will include: Stash (a graffiti pioneer); Transhoeformers (turning old sneakers into collectible works of art); and Sneaker Summit alongside SNKSUP (a display of collectible sneakers aiming to unite America through its sneaker culture).

These three innovative exhibitions will each bring something unique and fresh into the event as each aims to tie in their own one-of-a-kind talents with the game of soccer and the match between CONCACAF heavyweights.

Furthermore, U.S. Soccer sponsors will also be on hand for fans to enjoy the festivities while playing games, taking photos and winning prizes.

Finally, TV broadcasters will host their pregame shows outside the Alamodome, as both FOX Sports 1 and Univision will be on-site to prepare the crowd and TV audiences ahead of one of the most anticipated games of the year.

More detailed information of the events taking place can be found below. You can also find detailed information in the USA-MEX match page.

Art and Culture Exhibitions: 

  • Stash: Stash will paint two wall-sized canvasses inspired by the USA-Mexico match, Presented by AT&T, live at FanHQ. He has also created a custom name and number set available for customization on the new U.S. Men’s Nike Away Jersey. The customized jersey is extremely limited and can only be purchased at ussoccerstore.com or on-site at FanHQ. 
  • Transhoeformers: At FanHQ, Transhoeformers will display art created from the back of U.S. Soccer’s equipment room. Old boots and balls intended for National Team players that were never used will be given a new life. He has created model robots, vehicles and animals entirely from sneakers and other recycled materials. Transhoeformers’ work is truly one of a kind. His intricate and creative pieces are a masterfully examples of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and sustainability.
  • Sneaker Summit and SNKSUP: will exhibit a display of unique and collectable sneakers that connects sneaker culture to soccer in America. Sneaker Summit provides a platform for sneaker enthusiast to celebrate sneaker culture and to buy, sell, trade and discuss rare, vintage, and collectible shoes and apparel, and has grown to be one of the biggest sneaker conventions in the country. SNKSUP provides a showcase for sneaker aficionados and collectors to talk shop and come together to celebrate the thriving sneaker culture in Texas. This event is held annually in San Antonio, TX and attracts sneakerheads from all across the country.

Contests, Displays and Giveaways:

  • AT&T: Visit AT&T for the Slo-Mo Photo Op, where fans have the opportunity to showcase their best group goal celebrations and have them turned into a slo-mo video which can then be shared via email/social media. Also, check out the Digital Free Kick game, a fast-pace phone game where fans try to score as many goals as possible in 60 seconds through flicking a ball from a handset into a goal on a monitor. The top scorers are rewarded with great prizes. Fans can also win prizes by taking the “It Can Wait Pledge” to not text and drive and sharing the message on their social channels as well as winning the Speed Kick Challenge, where fans test how hard they can strike a ball on goal.
  • Bud Light: Visit Bud Light’s mobile bar to audition for your chance to be a part of the “Up For Whatever” campaign and play FIFA 15 with other fans.
  • Chevy: Check out Chevy’s display to see new Chevy vehicles, get your face painted in support of the USA, have your image included into the Men’s National Team Starting XI photo, and take home prizes and giveaway items.
  • Continental Tire: The Continental Tire Cornering Performance Challenge allows fans to complete a product information “Challenge” and receive a free Continental Tire scarf (while supplies last). Participants will also be entered to win a U.S. National Team Jersey. Fans can also participate in the Corner Kick Pic; to take a picture against a soccer themed backdrop and retrieve the picture online. Also at Continental Tire’s section, Tic-Tac-Tire, where fans will kick or throw a plush soccer ball into tires to play tic-tac-toe.
  • Coppertone: At Coppertone’s tent, fans will be encouraged to demonstrate their soccer skills by kicking a ball through a target. Prizes awarded while supplies last.
  • Liberty Mutual: Come pick up your crown at the Liberty Mutual Insurance tent where fans will be given the chance to share their passion in a fun, memorable way by posing for a vintage soccer poster (while supplies last). Posters will be printed on-site and also provided digitally to allow fans the ability to share on their social media.

Valentine's Night Sends U.S. Beach Soccer Team into 2015 CONCACAF Championship Quarterfinals

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (March 31, 2015) – U.S. Beach Soccer National Team captain Lewie Valentine scored three times on Tuesday night to help the USA earn a 6-2 victory over the Bahamas in its final group match of the 2015 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship at Estadio de Fútbol de Playa Costa del Sol in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Valentine opened and closed the USA’s scoring, notching his goals in the second minute, the 33rd and the 35th. Valentine’s goal in the first period was the first time the USA was able to break through and get on the board within the first 12-minutes of play.

Jason Leopoldo added a goal in the fourth minute for his second of the tournament, and helped guide the U.S. into the end of the first period with a lead for the first time in the competition.

Andrew Feld, who scored the opening goal for the U.S. in the tournament against Antigua and Barbado, also tallied a score in the 14th minute.

Unable to do much in the first two periods of the game, the Bahamas found some rhythm in the final period of the match. Lesly St. Fleur sent a right-footed strike inside the near post past Chris Toth to give his team a chance to perhaps ignite the comeback.

However, the USA’s Max Griffin quickly added to the U.S. lead, nabbing his first score of the tournament in the 31st minute.

After a second yellow card was shown to Ryan Futagaki in the third period, the Bahamas took advantage of the U.S. playing a man down and was able to get on the board in the 33rd in a second strike attempt from St. Fleur following a blocked penalty kick.

With a 4-2 lead quickly being reduced, Valentine took charge and closed out the game scoring two of his three goals in the last three minutes of the game.

With the win, the USA finished atop Group C standing with nine points and advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face Jamaica on April 2 at 7:45 p.m. ET. Beach Soccer Worldwide is streaming the tournament live. For game results and updates you can also visit ussoccer.com or follow on Twitter @ussoccer

The 2015 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship runs from March 28-April 4, and for the first time in its history, it will feature a record 16 nations vying for two qualifying spots for the 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Portugal from July 9-19. 

- U.S. Beach Soccer National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Beach Soccer National Team vs. Bahamas
Date: March 31, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship
Venue: Estadio de Fútbol de Playa Costa del Sol; San Salvador, El Salvador.
Kickoff: 9:00 p.m. ET
Attendance: ---
Weather: ----

Scoring Summary:               1          2          3          F
USA                                        2          1          3          6
BAH                                        0          0          2          2 

USA                Lewie Valentine           2nd minute
USA                Jason Leopoldo           4
USA                Andrew Feld                14
BAH                Lesly St. Fleur             26
USA                Max Griffin                  31
BAH                Lesly St. Fleur             33
USA                Lewie Valentine           33       
USA                Lewie Valentine           35

Lineups:

USA:  Chris Toth, Jason Santos, Jason Leopoldo Lewie Valentine (capt.), Andrew Feld, Max Griffin
Subs: Harry Abraham, Ryan Futagaki, Chris Cummings, Aldo Balsano, Alessandro Canale
*Nicholas Perera was serving a suspension due to yellow cards accumulation and did not play in the match.
Head Coach: Eddie Soto

BAH:  Christopher Davis, Nesly Jean, Ehren Hanna, Lesly St. Fleur, Gavin Chrsitie
Subs: Tori Ferguson, Daron Beneby, Gary Joseph, Dwayne Forbes, Timothy Munnings, Kyle Williams, Donovan Williamson
Head Coach:  Roberto Ceciliano 

Misconduct Summary: 
USA – Ryan Futagaki (caution)         7th minute
USA – Andrew Feld    (caution)          14
USA – Ryan Futagaki (caution)         33
USA – Ryan Futagaki (ejection)         33

U-20 MNT World Cup Journey Picking Up Speed as First Training Camp Concludes

The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team ended its weeklong camp in England on Monday, March 30, as players returned to their clubs in nine different countries. For U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos, the first training camp since qualifying for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in January had a number of benefits.

"I think it was a very positive camp for us," Ramos said. "We had an opportunity to train at great facilities at Tottenham, and for me, it was an opportunity to see some new players that I hadn't seen before. I thought what I saw was very positive."

The group trained at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur’s renowned facility for five days before playing England's U-21 MNT on March 29 in Plymouth.

Among the 20 players that made up the training camp, 10 were part of the group that participated in January's 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, while four others were part of their first camp with a U.S. team, including Desevio Payne, Maki Tall, Ethan Solis and Thomas Olsen. Payne and Tall started in the 2-1 loss to England, while Sonis entered in the second half.

"I think it's very important to always to bring in new players in the national team environment,” Ramos said. “Not only for those players but also for the players who are already on the team because they realize how competitive it is. Now going into the World Cup, it's a brand new stage and a team that everybody has to fight for."

Payne, who was born in Greenwood, South Carolina, but was raised in Amsterdam, started at center back alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers.

"It was unbelievable to stand there wearing a USA shirt," Payne said of his debut. " When I put it on, I thought about my career and why I came here. It's an honor to play in this shirt so I'm very happy."

Maki Tall had a similar experience. Tall was born in Washington D.C. but moved with his family to Senegal when he was seven years old, and then to his parents’ native Ivory Coast when he was 11. He went on to play in France, signed professionally, and even made nine appearances with France’s U-18 and U-19 teams combined.

"Hearing the (USA) national anthem, I don't even know how to say it,” Tall said. “It was unbelievable. I've watched (MNT) games before on TV, so to hear it for the first time, it was crazy.”

For Carter-Vickers, another dual-citizen, the match against England was the first time he lined up against the country where he was born and raised. Carter-Vickers’ father, Howard Carter, is American and still lives in Louisiana.

"A little bit when you hear the national anthem, a little bit,” Carter-Vickers admitted to the odd notion of going up against England. “But it's also just another game, and you just have to get on with it. You stay professional and play."

The loss to England was the lone negative from the trip.

"In general, I thought the first half was very disappointing for us in terms of our effort and what we brought to the game,” Ramos said. “I thought it took us a good 20-25 minutes to get into the game and definitely in international games you can't afford to do that.”

Forward Lynden Gooch shared similar thoughts.

"It was a tough game,” said the Sunderland forward. “We're all trying to get familiar still; there are new players, and we have to make sure we're right for the World Cup. Aside from that, everything else from the week was 100 percent."

For Ramos, the camp was the first of two this year before he decides on the 21-man roster that will represent the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer. The team will return to Europe from April 18-26 for its second training camp in Austria, with matches scheduled against Qatar and Croatia.

"Between this camp and the camp that we have in Austria, I think it's the last opportunity for us to make final conclusions on players," Ramos said. "I'm trying to see them in different positions and see how certain players may be able to help us. And then after that, we'll focus on trying to get the best group together. We don't have a lot of time for the World Cup but that's normally how this works."

Tall understands the process, and knows that despite scoring the USA’s lone goal against England, he needs to keep his form up.

"You always have to prove yourself,” Tall said. “Moving forward, we all want to play in a World Cup and we're all fighting for positions, like coach said. Everybody needs to impress him and work hard every day. If you're not doing well, you still need to work hard, and that's what's important on the team."

The message is also clear to Payne.

"Of course I'm happy and I'm thinking about the World Cup,” Payne added. “So it would be nice if I get the call to go, but I just need to do my best at my club and then we'll see."

Highlights: MNT Claims Result in Zurich against Switzerland

Brek Shea’s first-half, free-kick goal helped steer the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 1-1 draw against No.-12 ranked Switzerland at Stadion Letzigrund in Zurich

MNT Earns Hard-Fought 1-1 Draw against No.-12 Ranked Switzerland

ZURICH (March 31, 2015) – Defender Brek Shea’s first-half, free-kick goal helped steer the U.S. Men’s National Team to a 1-1 draw against No.-12 ranked Switzerland at Stadion Letzigrund in Zurich on Tuesday.

The U.S. had to play the final 20 minutes of the match with 10 men after forward Jozy Altidore was sent off in the 68th minute for protesting being called for a foul by head referee Luca Banti. Although, Valentin Stocker notched the equalizer for Switzerland in the 80th minute, the USA was able to repel Switzerland’s pressure to earn a result.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Brek Shea, 45th minute:
After Alfredo Morales was fouled in the closing moments of the first half, the U.S. was set up for a free kick from 20 yards out. Both Jozy Altidore and Brek Shea stood behind the ball but it was Shea that took the kick and bent it perfectly over the wall and into the top right corner. USA 1, SUI 0 (SEE GOAL)

SUI – Valentin Stocker, 80th minute: Following a short corner, Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka played in a cross from the left side. A group of players went up for it and the ball bounced off Silvan Widner into the path of Stocker, who poked home a shot from four yards out. USA 1, SUI 1 (SEE GOAL) FINAL

Milestone Watch:

  • The U.S. MNT now has an all-time record of 1-3-4 against Switzerland.
  • Goalkeeper William Yarbrough made his international debut for the USA, entering as a second half sub for Nick Rimando in the 46th minute.
  • Brek Shea’s goal was his second of the year and fourth of his career.
  • Jozy Altidore earned his 80th cap against Switzerland. The red card was the first he has received in his career with the USMNT.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT faces Mexico, Presented by AT&T, on April 15 at 7:30 p.m. CT at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.  
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, UniMas, Univision Deportes Network
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer@ussoccer_esp); FacebookInstagram 

Additional Notes:

  • Michael Bradley recorded his second start as captain. He also wore the armband for the MNT on March 25 against Denmark.
  • Bradley is the only player to have played the full 90 in all four matches for the USMNT so far this year.
  • Danny Williams made his first start since Feb. 6, 2013, when he took the field against Honduras, and his first appearance since the U.S. played Ukraine on March 5, 2014.
  • With Shea’s goal, the USMNT has now scored in the first half of its last nine matches (the last time the team did not score a first-half goal was against Belgium in last summer’s World Cup). This is the fifth 1-0 lead the U.S. has taken into halftime over that stretch and the seventh lead overall.
  • The U.S. has not trailed at halftime of a match since playing Portugal at the 2014 World Cup when it went into the locker room trailing 1-0.
  • Jordan Morris came into the game in the 89th minute. Morris was called into the MNT squad on March 29 after playing with the Under-23 MNT against Bosnia-Herzegovina on March 27 when he scored the opening goal in a 5-2 win.  
  • Brek Shea’s free-kick goal was the first direct free kick score for the U.S. since Jozy Altidore scored from a free kick on Aug. 14, 2013 against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -  

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Switzerland
Date: March 31, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Stadion Letzigrund; Zurich, Switzerland
Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET (6 p.m. Local)
Attendance: 16,100
Weather: 48 degrees, cloudy 

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                           1          0          1          
SUI                             0          1          1        

USA – Brek Shea                                            45th minute
SUI – Valentin Stocker (Silvan Widner)        80

Lineups:
USA: 1-Nick Rimando (22-William Yarbrough, 46); 21-Timmy Chandler, 15-Michael Orozco (19-Ventura Alvarado, 46), 6-John Brooks, 13-Brek Shea; 14-Danny Williams, 11-Alejandro Bedoya (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 76), 7-Alfredo Morales (5-Tim Ream, 89), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 20-Gyasi Zardes (8-Jordan Morris, 89), 17-Jozy Altidore (sendoff, 68)
Subs Not Used: 3-Greg Garza, 10-Miguel Ibarra, 16-Julian Green, 18-Rubio Rubin
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann 

SUI: 21-Roman Burki; 2-Stephan Lichsteiner (6-Silvan Widner, 46), 22-Fabian Schar, 5-Steve von Bergen, 3- Jacques Fracois Moubandje; 8-Gokhan Inler (capt.) (10-Granit Xhaka, 46), 16-Gelson Fernandes (9-Haris Seferovic, 72), 7-Fabian Frei (17-Pajtim Kasami, 46), 23-Xherdan Shaqiri; 19- Josip Drmic (15-Breel Embolo, 56), 18-Admir Mehmedi (14-Valentin Stocker, 46)
Subs Not Used: 1-Yann Sonner, 4-Fabian Lustenberger, 11-Valon Behrani, 12-Marwin Hitz, 13-Ricardo Rodriguez, 20-Johan Djourou
Head coach: Vladimir Petkovic

Stats Summary: USA / SUI
Shots: 6 / 12
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 1 / 8
Fouls: 14 / 13
Offside: 1 / 2 

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution)             68th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (ejection)            68

Officials: 
Referee: Luca Banti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Filippo Meli (ITA)
4th Official: Alain Bieri (SUI) 

Budweiser Man of the Match: Brek Shea

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