CHICAGO (Jan. 6, 2003) - As 2004 begins, U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center kicks off the new year in full swing as nine national teams will train at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., during the month of January. The NTC will see the most activity since its inception last June as four men’s and five women’s national teams will combine to conduct over 80 days of activities in the span of 31 days, with as many as four teams using the center on certain days.
The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team brought in the new year, wrapping up their latest camp last Friday (Jan. 2), as they begin to focus on the CONCACAF U-19 Women’s Qualifying Tournament that will be held in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, this May 28-June 6. The Under-19s will also return to the NTC from Jan. 23-Feb. 1.
The Under-19 WNT was replaced by the Under-18 and Under-20 MNTs on Friday (Jan. 2), as the teams participated in the ODP Interregional at the NTC earlier this week, and will finish up their fist camp of the year with a match on Thursday, Jan. 8. The camp is the first for the new group of U-20s and U-18s, and both rosters are loaded (15 each) with former and current U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team players. Thirteen of the players on the U-20 roster participated in the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship this past August, including forward Freddy Adu and midfielder Danny Szetela, who were named to the Tournament All-Star Team.
Both teams had success in the ODP Interregional as the Under-18s finished 2-1-0, and the Under-20s compiled a 2-0-1 record. The Under-18s cruised in their first two matches, beating Region III 3-1 on Sunday (Jan. 3) and Region I 2-0 on Sunday (Jan. 4), but fell to Region IV 2-1 on Monday (Jan. 5). Forwards Rodrigo Hidalgo and Charlie Davies led the way, scoring every goal (three each) for the U-18s. The Under-20s downed Region IV 2-1 on Saturday (Jan. 3), Region II 2-1 on Sunday (Jan. 4), and tied Region I 1-1 on Monday (Jan. 5). Jamie Watson led the way for the U-20s, notching two goals in two games, while Adu notched a goal and an assist in the two matches he played in.
On Sunday (Jan. 5), the U.S. Men’s National Team and U-23 Men’s National Team rolled into Carson to begin their two-week long training camps, where they will face each other in four exhibition matches. The top two MNTs will go head-to-head on Jan. 10, 12 (twice), and 14. The Under-23s will also have one more match, for a total of five, against an L.A. Select squad on the morning of Jan. 10.
The MNT’s camp will culminate with the USA’s first-ever match at The Home Depot Center against 13th-ranked Denmark on Jan. 18. Kickoff for the match is set for 12:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN. Of the 26 players in the MNT camp, all but two hail from MLS, with Wade Barrett (AGF Aarhus – Denmark) and Robbie Russell (FC Sogndal – Norway) representing the MNT’s foreign-based contingent. Eight players are in search of their debut appearance in a full U.S. Men’s National Team match, led by MLS Rookie of the Year runner-up forward Pat Noonan, and midfielder Brian Mullan of the 2003 MLS Cup Champion San Jose Earthquakes.
The U.S. Under-23s camp will mark the team’s final preparation before heading down to Guadalajara, Mexico, for the final round of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament from Feb. 2-12, 2004. The strongest group of players to be assembled since the first U-23 camp in January 2002, the 25-player roster is led by U.S. Men’s National Team and 2002 World Cup stars Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes) and DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), who last played for the U-23s in a 3-1 win over Mexico in Guadalajara back on May 14. The roster includes another veteran of the 2000 Under-23 squad in German-based forward Conor Casey (FC Karlsruher), who will be making his first appearance with the team since the 2000 Olympics.
As the U.S. MNT and Under-23s camps come to a close, the U.S. women will take over the NTC, starting with the U.S. Women’s National Team. The WNT will arrive Jan. 12 for their first camp of the year as they begin preparations for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying from Feb. 25-March 7 in Costa Rica. The 11-day camp will feature four-time Women’s World Cup veterans like Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly, and young stars like teenage forwards Heather O’Reilly and Lindsay Tarpley.
The U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team will close out the month as they arrive, along with the U-19 WNT, on Jan. 23 for a 10-day camp. This will be the first training camp of year for the U-21s, and their first of four scheduled at the NTC this year before they travel to Iceland to compete for their sixth straight championship in the Under-21 Nordic Cup. The U.S. Under-17 and Under-16 Women’s National Team will also help close out a hectic January, beginning their 10-day training camps on Jan. 30.
U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center – January Schedule
Men’s National Team Jan. 5-22
Under-23 MNT Jan. 5-17
Under-20 MNT Jan. 2-9
Under-18 MNT Jan. 2-9
Women’s National Team Jan. 13-23
Under-21 WNT Jan. 23-Feb. 1
Under-19 WNT Jan. 23-Feb. 1
Under-17 WNT Jan. 30-Feb. 8
Under-16 MNT Jan. 30-Feb. 8