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U.S. U-17 MNT Arrives in Uruguay, Eyes Oct. 5 Match vs. Uruguay

United States Under-17 Men’s National Team
Training Camp Update
October 4, 2006 – Montevideo, Uruguay

ESTAMOS AQUI EN MONTEVIDEO: The U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team has arrived in Uruguay to begin their month-long trip in South America, taking up residence in Montevideo on Monday afternoon (Oct. 2). Head coach John Hackworth put the group through the paces on Wednesday afternoon in their third training session since touching down. The U-17’s will face their first international test of the tour on Thursday, Oct. 5, when they take on Uruguay at Estadio Centenario. The match has been moved to 5 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), to accommodate GolTV, who will now broadcast the match locally. A full match report will be available following the match at

HACKWORTH NAMES 20-MAN ROSTER FOR URUGUAY MATCH: One day before their match against Uruguay, head coach John Hackworth named the 20 players that will be available, making four players inactive for the match. The four inactive players are goalkeeper Larry Jackson, defenders Christian Ibeahga and Brandon Zimmerman, and midfielder Ryan Gracia. The match is the first of nine matches (four internationals) the U.S. U-17s are scheduled to play while in Uruguay and Argentina.

U-17 MNT Roster vs. Uruguay
GOALKEEPERS (2): Josh Lambo, Zac MacMath
DEFENDERS (6): Mykell Bates, Lonnie Carter, Kofi Sarkodie, Howard Turk, Matthew Uy, Sheanon Williams
MIDFIELDERS (8): Danny Barrera, Greg Garza, Jared Jeffrey, Brendan King, Amobi Okugo, Jesse Paredes, Kirk Urso, Daniel Wenzel
FORWARDS (4): Jose Altimorano, Ryan Finley, Axel Levry, Ellis McLoughlin.

U-17 Match Schedule
Date      Opponent
Oct. 5     Uruguay
Oct. 10   Peru *
Oct. 13   TBD (New Zealand or Argentina) *
Oct. 16   River Plate
Oct. 19   TBD
Oct. 23   Rosario Central
Oct. 24   Newells Old Boys
Oct. 25   Paraguay
Oct. 28   Renato Cesarini

* Four Nations Tournament

SETTLING IN: The team is enjoying early spring weather here in Montevideo, having settled into their Uruguayan headquarters in the residential neighborhood of Carrasco, which is situated in the department – the U.S. equivalent of a state – of Canelones, just outside the city limits of Montevideo and 15 kilometers from downtown. It’s a 10-minute ride to the training site at LosCeibos, a sports club and the training site for the first division side Danubio. A ‘ceibo’ is a type of tree, the blossom of which is a deep, rich tangerine color and is the national flower of both Argentina and Uruguay. The training site has four fields, including one for rugby, and has its own built-in fan base consisting of two dogs and six horses that are frequently seen observing the proceedings. At least it looks like they’re watching…

NEXT STOP - ARGENTINA: After meeting Uruguay, the team heads south – and one time zone back – on Friday when they catch a 29-minute flight to Buenos Aires. They’ll set up shop for a couple days before embarking on a 10-hour bus ride to San Luis to compete in a four-team tournament that also includes Argentina, New Zealand and Peru. The U.S. first faces Peru in the 15,000 seat Estadio Juan Gilberto Funes on Oct. 10, and will then meet the winner of Argentina vs. New Zealand three days later.

TAKING A HISTORY TOUR: The group got a rare glimpse inside the rich soccer history of the country on Thursday morning when they were escorted on a two-hour tour of Montevideo, beginning with a stop at the Gran Parque Central. Home of 39-time Uruguayan champion Nacional, the stadium has the distinction of hosting the first-ever match in World Cup history. Played on July 13, 1930, the contest pitted Belgium against a nation little known for its football exploits at the time, the United States. The U.S. won the match 3-0, but it was Uruguay who would win the inaugural tournament, collecting the first of two World Cup titles. La Celeste Olímpica have also laid claim to two Olympic titles, in 1924 and 1928. After watching the training session of Nacional, the U.S. team then inspected the match field at Parque Mendez Piana, which sits across the street from Montevideo’s other famed stadium, El Centenario, site of the 1930 World Cup final. From there it was a bus tour through the downtown areas and past the beaches along the Rio Plate (Silver River), the widest river in the world and the natural barrier between Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

GEARING UP: Both the United States and Uruguay are in preparation mode for their upcoming qualifying tournaments for the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held Aug. 18-Sept. 9 in South Korea. The U.S. will compete in the CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament in April of 2007, in which five teams will gain entry into the 24-team World Cup. Meantime, Uruguay is getting ready for the Sudamericano Sub-17 championship that will take place in Ecuador next March and April.

Five teams – all from the AFC – have qualified for the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup. South Korea was given an automatic bid as host, while Japan, North Korea, Syria and Tajikistan all qualified during the AFC U-17 Championship, which took place from Sept. 3-17 in Singapore.

WHEN IN ROME…:In addition to their usual studies, the players are getting educated in the local language by receiving Spanish lessons every other day. The coaches have joined in on the act, too, with Raul Diaz Arce seeming to be a very, very quick learner. Some are showing less fear than others in practicing their new vocabulary.

“No. Not used to it at all. Especially smelling it. I’m from California. We usually have just heat and grass.”
-- U.S. defender Mykell Bates, on the new experience of sharing a training site with horses

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