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Charles Announces Final U.S. Under-23 Player Pool For Upcoming CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament


CHICAGO (Tuesday, March 21, 2000) - With exactly one month remaining before the first game of the CONCACAF 2000 Olympics Qualifying Tournament, U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team head coach Clive Charles announced his final 25-player pool today as part of Major League Soccer's first weekly conference call of the 2000 season.

The player pool will be narrowed down to 18 roster spots and three alternate spots on April 7, just prior to the U.S. squad heading down to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for a week-long training camp from April 10-17 in preparation for the tournament.

"This is a very strong squad that I have to choose from heading into camp in April," said Charles, who led the Under-23's to a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games and on overall 7-4-6 record last year. "In these days of MLS and players competing abroad, we're able to pull together an experienced bunch of professionals to form the best young team that this country has to offer."

This year's qualifying will mark the first time the U.S. Under-23 MNT has entered a competition of this magnitude with a roster made predominantly of professional players, previously having to rely on current collegiate players and recent graduates to field a team.

In a testament to the strength of the MLS, almost 80 percent of the players (19 of 25) hail from the five-year-old domestic Division I league, including U.S. Men's National Team midfielder and MLS Cup '99 MVP Ben Olsen (D.C. United--MLS), forwards Chris Albright (D.C. United--MLS) and Josh Wolff (Chicago Fire--MLS), goalkeeper Adin Brown (Colorado Rapids--MLS) and defenders Brian Dunseth (New England Revolution--MLS) and Chad McCarty (Tampa Bay Mutiny--MLS).

Leading the list of players from across the pond is another U.S. Men's National Team midfielder, John O'Brien (Ajax--Holland), who along with a pair of German-based players--John Thorrington (Bayer Leverkusen--Germany) and defender Steve Cherundolo (Hannover '96--Germany)--are expected to be major contributors to Team USA.

As they were for the '99 Pan Am Games, former U-17 superstars Landon Donovan (Bayer Leverkusen--Germany) and DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire--MLS), who won the Gold and Silver Balls respectively as the tournament's two most valuable players after leading the U.S. band of teenagers to a fourth place finish at the FIFA Youth U-17 World Championship in New Zealand last November, have again been called in for duty.

The CONCACAF 2000 Olympics Qualifying Tournament, which will place two finalists into the final round of 16 at the 2000 Olympics, will be played over the course of five doubleheaders from April 21-30 at the 16,000-seat Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa. Tickets, which are priced as low as $10 for a single day ticket, are available by contacting the Hersheypark Arena Box Office at 717-534-3911.

As for the teams that will join the USA in Hershey, Pa., 12 CONCACAF teams have been divided into three groups of four (A, B and C) and will try to earn one of five spots in the final qualifying round. The United States, as part of Group C, receives a bye into the final round of qualification as the host federation.

Group A play begins today and runs through Saturday (March 25), while Groups B and C will complete round-robin play by April 9. The top team in each group and the runners-up from Groups B and C advancing to the final round of qualification to be held April 21-30, 2000.

Semifinal Round--Qualifying--Different Venues (March 21-April 9, 2000)
DateGroupTeamsHost City, Country
March 21-25ACanada, Guatemala, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad & TobagoPort-of-Spain, T & T
April 4-8BMexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, HondurasGuadalajara, Mexico
April 5-9C(United States), Panama, Bermuda, CubaPanama City, Panama

March 21 -- Canada vs. Guatemala -- 4 p.m. / Trinidad & Tobago vs. Netherlands Antilles -- 9 p.m.
March 23 -- Canada vs. Netherlands Antilles -- 6 p.m. / Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guatemala -- 8 p.m.
March 25 -- Guatemala vs. Netherlands Antilles -- 6 p.m. / Trinidad & Tobago vs. Canada -- 8 p.m.

April 4 -- Jamaica vs. Costa Rica -- 6 p.m. / Mexico vs. Honduras -- 8:30 p.m.
April 6 -- Costa Rica vs. Honduras -- 6 p.m. / Mexico vs. Jamaica -- 8:30 p.m.
April 8 -- Jamaica vs. Honduras -- 6 p.m. / Mexico vs. Costa Rica -- 8:30 p.m.

April 5 -- Panama vs. Bermuda -- 8 p.m.
April 7 -- Cuba vs. Bermuda -- 8 p.m.
April 9 -- Panama vs. Cuba -- 8 p.m.

Final Round--Qualifying--Hershey, Pa., USA
(April 21-30, 2000)
Group #1USA, Group A first place, Group B second place
Group #2Group C first place, Group B first place, Group A second place

Final Round--Qualifying
DateMatchVenueTime (ET)
April 21TBD vs. TBDHersheypark Stadium5:30 p.m.
April 21United States vs. TBDHersheypark Stadium8:00 p.m.
April 23TBD vs. TBDHersheypark Stadium1:00 p.m.
April 23TBD vs. TBDHersheypark Stadium3:30 p.m.
April 25TBD vs. TBDHersheypark Stadium5:30 p.m.
April 25United States vs. TBDHersheypark Stadium8:00 p.m.
Semi-finals
April 28Group #1 1st vs. Group #2 2nd*Hersheypark Stadium5:30 p.m.
April 28Group #2 1st vs. Group #1 2nd*Hersheypark Stadium8:00 p.m.
Third Place/Championship
April 30Third-place (Semifinal losers)Hersheypark Stadium1:00 p.m.
April 30Championship (Semifinal winners)*Hersheypark Stadium3:30 p.m.
* Both finalists (Semifinal winners) advance to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

2000 U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team Player Pool
CONCACAF 2000 Olympics Qualifying Tournament
April 21-30, 2000 - Hershey, Pa.
NamePos.BirthdateHt.Wt.HometownClub
Albright, ChrisF01/14/796'1"185Philadelphia, Pa.D.C. United - MLS
Beasley, DaMarcusM05/24/825'7"135Fort Wayne, Ind.Chicago Fire- MLS
Brown, AdinGK05/27/786'4"200Pleasant Hill, Calif.Colorado Rapids - MLS
Brown, ChrisF03/10/775'11"165Portland, Ore.Kansas City Wizards - MLS
Califf, DannyD03/17/806'1"185Orange, Calif.Los Angeles Galaxy - MLS
Casey, ConorF07/25/816'1"170Gilpin, Colo.University of Portland
Cherundolo, SteveD02/19/795'6"145San Diego, Calif.Hannover 96 - Germany
Chulis, MattD08/29/775'10"155Central Islip, N.Y.Columbus Crew - MLS
Corrales, RamiroD03/29/776'1"170Salinas, Calif.NY/NJ MetroStars - MLS
Denton, EricD02/08/785'9"160Manteca, Calif.D.C. United - MLS
DiGiamarino, JoeyM04/06/775'11"160Corona, Calif.Colorado Rapids - MLS
Donovan, LandonF03/04/825'8"140Redlands, Calif.Bayer Leverkusen - Germany
Dunseth, BrianD03/02/776'0"170Upland, Calif.New England Revolution - MLS
Howard, TimGK03/06/796'1"195N. Brunswick, N.J.NY/NJ MetroStars - MLS
Kirk, AndyGK10/03/776'0"175Milwaukee, Wis.Tampa Bay Mutiny - MLS
McCarty, ChadD10/05/775'11"175Clovis, Calif.Tampa Bay Mutiny - MLS
O'Brien, JohnM08/29/775'9"150Playa del Rey, Calif.Ajax - Holland
Olsen, BenM05/03/775'8"140Middletown, Pa.D.C. United - MLS
Parra, CarlosM02/03/776'1"175West Haven, Conn.New England Revolution - MLS
Thorrington, JohnM10/17/795'8"150Palos Verde, Calif.Bayer Leverkusen - Germany
Vagenas, PeterM02/06/785'8"160Pasadena, Calif.Los Angeles Galaxy - MLS
Victorine, SashaM02/02/786'2"180Carmichael, Calif.Los Angeles Galaxy - MLS
Whitfield, EvanD06/23/775'11"160Glendale, Ariz.Chicago Fire - MLS
Winters, BrianM12/31/775'10"172Tacoma, Wash.---
Wolff, JoshF02/25/775'10"160Stone Mountain, Ga.Chicago Fire - MLS

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