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U.S. Under-20 MNT World Youth Championship Notes - Dec. 3, 2003


U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team
2003 FIFA World Youth Championship
Dec. 3, 2003 -- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

SECOND ROUND GOAL: Coming into the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship, the U.S. knew Group F, with Paraguay, Germany and South Korea, would be a tight race. After two games, it couldn’t be any closer as all three teams are sitting at three points and goal differential and goals scored are determining the standings. The U.S. is in second place with a zero goal differential, behind group leaders South Korea, who have a goal differential of +1. Germany, who beat the U.S. 3-1 on Tuesday night, also has a zero goal differential, but is sitting in third place as they have are behind the U.S. in the next tiebreaker – goals scored. Germany has only notched three goals, while the U.S. has four. Paraguay bounced back after falling to the U.S. 3-1 in the first match, to topple Korea 1-0, but has a –1 goal differential and sits in last place. The U.S. will next face South Korea in their final group game on Friday, Dec. 5 at 8:30 p.m. local (11:30 a.m. ET) at Al-Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The match will be televised tape delayed on Galavision at 1:30 p.m. ET & PT, but can be followed live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. will know what result is needed in the match, as the game kicks off almost three hours after Paraguay-Germany (8:45 a.m. ET kickoff).

2003 FIFA World Youth Championship – Group F
Team GP W L T GF GA +/- Pts
South Korea 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 3
USA 2 1 1 0 4 4 0 3
Germany 2 1 1 0 3 3 0 3
Paraguay 2 1 1 0 2 3 -1 3

Nov. 29
USA 3
, Paraguay 1 (Johnson, Magee, Convey)
Germany 0, South Korea 2

Dec. 2
USA 1, Germany 3
South Korea 0, Paraguay 1

Dec. 5
Germany vs. Paraguay 5:45 p.m. local
USA vs. South Korea 8:30 p.m. local (11:30 a.m. ET), Televised tape delay on Galavision 1:30 ET & PT

FROM SEVEN TO SIX: The U.S. changed things up a bit today practicing on a new field this morning, moving from field No. 7 to field No. 6 at the Zayed Sports Complex, but as always had a spirited workout under the warm Middle East sun. The U.S. went through an hour-long practice with the 11 starters against Germany working with assistant Cle Kooiman. They went through some light running and stretching, before playing a few games of horseshoes. The rest of the team worked on finishing with Rongen and assistant Dave Dir, playing in a small field with full-size goals. The players will have just one practice tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m., their final session before their match against South Korea.

BACK TO THE MALL: A few of the players ventured out of the hotel again today, this time hitting up a different mall located in the middle of Abu Dhabi. The mall was twice as big as the one they went to the other day, and provided the players with enough shops to complete their Christmas shopping. Ned Grabavoy did a bit of shopping, but thought he had forgotten the most important thing when he got back to the hotel – his roommate and Indiana teammate Drew Moor. Moor told Grabavoy he was going to the bathroom before they left and then jumped on the bus without Grabavoy seeing him. Grabavoy forgot all about Moor telling him he was going to the bathroom until he got back to their room and Moor didn’t show up. Grabavoy was seen running through the halls of the hotel asking everyone if they had seen Moor, but no one had. He was certain that Moor had been left behind, but finally found him checking his e-mail in one of the staff’s room.

A TOUCH OF UAE CULTURE JUST OUTSIDE: The UAE Local Organizing Committee provided all eight of the teams with a peek into the Arabian culture this evening in a small village of wood huts built just outside the hotel. Along with camel rides, the players got to drink Arabian coffee, smell Arabian perfume and eat Arabian prepared food. All three coaches also received henna on their arms, with head coach Thomas Rongen and assistant Dave Dir getting FIFA 2003 designs, while assistant Cle Kooiman was a little more sentimental, getting his wife’s name, Kris, on his arm. While all the players took in the festivities, only two – Santino Quaranta and Ed Johnson – were brave enough to take the short camel ride.

GOT ONE BRACKET COVERED: The U.S. Under-20 MNT has one entire bracket of the NCAA Div. I Men’s Soccer Championship with UCLA (Jordan Harvey), Indiana (Ned Grabavoy and Drew Moor), Santa Clara (Steve Cronin and Ryan Cochrane) and Michigan (Knox Cameron) all battling it out to move on to the Final Four in Columbus, Ohio. With Indiana meeting UCLA and Santa Clara taking on Michigan, it is guaranteed that at least one Under-20 MNT player will see his team advance to the final at Crew Stadium on Dec. 14. Below is a list of the relevant team’s opponent in the Elite Eight.

2003 NCAA Div. 1 Men’s College Soccer Championship
Fourth Round (games to be played Dec. 6)
Jordan Harvey (UCLA -- 20-1-1) vs. Ned Grabavoy and Drew Moor (Indiana -- 14-3-5)
Knox Cameron (Michigan -- 14-6-1) vs. Steve Cronin and Ryan Cochrane (Santa Clara -- 15-3-3)

GRAND MOSQUE: Every day on the way to training, the U.S. players are locked on the view out of the right side the bus. Being built just on the opposite side of the highway from the hotel is what will be the biggest mosque in UAE. The grand mosque, named the Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Mosque after the President of UAE, is an Italian joint venture at the cost of $398 million. The mosque covers an area of 50,000 square meters, and has four minarets that are each 115 meters high. When the construction is complete (the actual date in uncertain) there will also be a prayer hall to accommodate 7000 worshippers. During the week and a half the team has driven past, it has seen progress as just a few days ago the workers attached a five-foot marble wall around the entire mosque.

NO FIREWORKS IN UAE: The past two days the Emiraties have been celebrating the 32nd anniversary of UAE’s National Day. The official National Day of UAE was on Tuesday, Dec. 2, but the people celebrate for two days. On Dec. 2, 1971, the United Arab Emirates emerged as an independent country bringing together the Gulf’s tiny trucial states – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharajah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman. Over the past three decades of independence, UAE has been completely revolutionized, making it one of the most progressive areas in the world. While the UAE doesn’t celebrate its independence day with firework shows like the United States, lights are put up across the country and people celebrate with trips to city parks with family.

HEY, COACH! CONGRAGULATIONS!: When Indiana’s Drew Moor and Ned Grabavoy woke up this morning, they were as disappointed as the rest of the team after their 3-1 loss to Germany the night before, but they couldn’t help but crack a small smile after getting some good news. Due to an error discovered in the NCAA’s records, their head coach at Indiana Jerry Yeagley, who is retiring at the end of this year, became the career victory leader in men’s college soccer history. With Indiana’s 5-0 win over Virginia Commonwealth last Sunday in the NCAA tournament, Yeagley reached 541 victories, leaving three him behind San Francisco’s Steve Negoesco, who retired in 2000. However, the NCAA conducted a review of its records and found that Negoesco was incorrectly credited with four victories from 1978, which had been removed over the use of an ineligible player, giving him only 540 victories. Unable to congratulate their coach in person, Moor and Grabavoy decided to do the next best thing – do it from ussoccer.com.

Grabavoy: "Hey coach! I just wanted to say congratulations on obtaining the most career victories for a college coach. I hope you and the boys have a great game against UCLA and I’m looking forward to possibly having the chance to play in the Final Four with you guys. Congrats once again!"

Moor: "What’s up coach!? I just wanted to wish you congratulations on the win record. I know main focus in on the game against UCLA on Saturday, but I just wanted to say you deserve it. Good luck in the game and get the boys ready."

THREE DADS AND A MOM: Not too many parents of the U.S. Under-20 MNT were able to make the trip to the Middle East, but there are four parents in Abu Dhabi cheering the team on. Both of starting goalkeeper Steve Cronin’s parents are here, along with defender Zak Whitbread’s and Drew Moor’s fathers. The players have had the opportunity to spend some time with their parents, especially Whitbread, who’s dad is staying in the same hotel.

CONCACAF IMPROVING: After the first games of the tournament, the U.S. was the only team from CONCACAF to come away with any points. It didn’t get much better after another round of games, as this time Mexico was the only team to snag a point, in a 1-1 tie with Saudi Arabia. The other two teams from CONCACAF – Canada and Panama – are still looking for their first point.

THE NORMAL ROUTE: While the U.S. would have like to have beaten Germany on Tuesday and basically guarantee a trip to the second round with six points in hand, it isn’t treading new ground. In the past four World Youth Championships the U.S. has been in (1993, 1997, 1999 and 2001), the U.S. has come away with one win and one loss after the first two group matches, yet still managed to advance to the second round.

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