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Pre-Game Quotes: USA U-17 Men's National Team vs. Netherlands


U.S. Head Coach John Hackworth
On playing in the quarterfinals:
“We’re excited to be here and we’re not settling to just make the quarterfinals. We want to progress in the tournament and we think we have a good shot to do that. We know it is going to require us to play our best soccer. We’re prepared for that, so hopefully tomorrow we can go out and have some success.”

On having been eliminated in 2003:
“Having that sour taste in my mouth of being eliminated wasn’t a good feeling. We’ve tried to work real hard in our preparation to reach a mentality where the team doesn’t want to go home and they want this ride to continue.”

On being the underdog:
“I think it is always great that we are considered the underdog because it kind of lights a fire under us. I certainly use it to motivate the guys as much as possible. The guys don’t like it, they think we deserve a little bit more respect.”

On playing the Netherlands:
“Holland is one of the best soccer playing nations in the world. This particular team is very good and we’re going to have to play our best. They played in the toughest group, Group D, and scored a good amount of goals. It will be a great game. It will be a bit of a tactical battle and we’ll see which team can find their own rhythm and execute.”

U.S. Captain Ofori Sarkodie

On if the team is satisfied with getting out of the group:
“I don’t think we’re satisfied yet. I think we have worked hard to get here, but were not satisfied with just a quarterfinal appearance. We want to go out there and win as many games as possible, and this game against Holland is another step toward the world championship.”

On getting this far:
“This is a great accomplishment. There were a lot of doubters who thought we wouldn’t even qualify. This is a great treat to us for the work we’ve done the past two years. I think it would be a great experience to get a chance in the semifinals.” 

On how the team is feeling:
“I think right now we’re feeling recovered, we’re feeling relaxed and energetic, but at the same time we’re ready to go into tomorrow’s game that winning is the only option.”

On preparing for the Netherlands:
“We’ll have to deal with the versatility of the Netherlands’ attack. I think a lot of the work is going to be on our outside midfielders, so we’re looking for them to have a great game.”
 
U.S. Midfielder Quavas Kirk
On playing in the quarterfinals:
“It’s not like you can tie now since it goes to overtime and then penalty kicks. It is definitely going to be a fight, a brawl tomorrow because one of the teams is going to move on to the semifinals.” 

On the chance to move onto the semifinals:
“That will be a huge accomplishment because nobody really had faith in this team. As a group we had to fight so hard to come together, so moving on and doing something only one other U.S. team has accomplished would be amazing.”
 
U.S. Midfielder Kyle Nakazawa
On how the team is feeling:
“We had a good training session today and I’m real positive and confident about the game tomorrow. We’re just thinking about what we’ve gone through over the past two years and what it took to get to this point, so it is very important for us to win this game.”

On Holland:
“Holland is a very good team. They are very technical and make good decisions. It is going to be a good game.”

On getting ready to play:
“I think coming out attacking is one of the most important things and try and get them on their heels. We want to attack so we can make them aware that they will have to deal with us for 90 minutes.”

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