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U-20 Men's National Team Prepares for Brazil in Ft. Lauderdale


U.S. Under-20 MNT Notes
Sunrise, Fla.
June 15, 2004

ONE DAY TO GO

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will hold their second and final practice at the Sunrise Hilton this evening before their match against Brazil on Wednesday, June 16 at Lockhart Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on a 24-hour tape delay by Gol TV (8 p.m. ET Thursday), but fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The match will be the U.S. U-20’s second match at Lockhart Stadium in two months after they defeated Haiti Select 1-0 on April 21 behind a 20-yard strike from Craig Capano in the second half. Head coach Thomas Rongen named a roster that consists of six professionals, along with top college and high school players. Rongen continues to sort through the U.S. U-20 player pool in preparation for the CONCACAF U-20 World Youth Championship qualifying tournament in January 2005.
U-20 MNT Schedule
Date               Opponent                Kickoff  Televison
June 16           Brazil                      8 p.m. ET  Gol TV (24-hour tape delay; June 17, 8 p.m. ET)
U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Andrew Kartunen (Stanford), Quentin Westberg (ESTAC Troyes); DEFENDERS (5): Kiel McClung (UCLA), Steve Purdy (UC-Berkeley), Nathan Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.), Julian Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.), Tim Ward (Waukesha, Wis); MIDFIELDERS (10): Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Craig Capano (Chicago Fire), Nico Colaluca (Coventry, R.I.), Steve Curfman (Wake Forest), John DiRaimondo (St. Louis University), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Guillermo Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy), Will Hall (Virginia), Stuart Holden (Clemson), Danny Szetela (Clifton, N.J.); FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Charlie Davies (Manchester, N.H.), Kamani Hill (Berkley, Calif.), Will John (St. Louis University), Jamie Watson (UNC).

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
Advance tickets for the Brazil match on June 16 are $20 for adults and $10 for kids under the age of 12 and are on sale now by calling Complete Ticket Solutions at 1-877-877-7677 or online at www.tixops.com. For groups of 25 or more, there is a $2 discount per ticket. Tickets are also available online.

ON TO KOREA
After the Brazil match, the majority of the team will then travel to Busan, South Korea to participate in the Busan Four Nations International Tournament along with South Korea, Poland and Brazil. The team will leave on Thursday (June 17) and have a few days of training before facing South Korea in the opening match of the tournament on June 22. The U.S. will then face Brazil on June 24 and finish the round-robin play against Poland on Feb. 26. All the matches will take place at Busan Asiad Main Stadium. Four MLS players – Freddy Adu, Arturo Alvarez, Craig Capano and Eddie Gaven – will not make the trip to Korea as they will head back to their respective MLS squads.
U-20 MNT Schedule – Busan International Tournament
Date                Opponent               Kickoff (local / ET)
June 22           South Korea           7 p.m. / 6 a.m.
June 24           Brazil                      4:30 p.m. / 3:30 a.m.
June 26           Poland                    12:30 p.m. / 11:30 p.m.

PHELAN HEADS HOME
U.S. Under-20 defender Patrick Phelan left camp this afternoon after it was determined that an ankle injury he had suffered three weeks earlier was more severe than originally thought and would make him unable to play in the match against Brazil in Fort Lauderdale and most likely make him unavailable to the team in Korea as well. Phelan sat out of Monday’s practice, but had hoped to be able to recover in time for the Busan Invitational before the U.S. medical staff made their final prognosis. Phelan started in both matches against Jamaica during the U-20s camp in April.

FIRST TOUCH
The Under-20s held their first practice on Monday evening after the final members of the team arrived in Florida earlier that morning. The 80-minute practice in the hot temperatures was intense, as players knew they only have a short time to convince Rongen they should occupy a spot on the starting list against Brazil. The players scrimmaged in a shortened field with four small goals (two for each team), while the goalkeepers worked on their technique with goalkeeping coach Dave Dir. The team then played a full-field scrimmage with regulation goals, stopping play periodically to work on free kicks and corners. In between the training session there were some light moments as well, including a unique drill during the team’s warm-up. Assistant coach Cle Kooiman had the players partner up, and had one player hike a soccer ball to his partner before going out on a short pattern and catching the pass thrown to him by his partner. After the practice, Rongen split the players up into two teams and they faced off in a penalty kick contest. Goalkeepers Quentin Westberg and Andrew Kartunen had their work cut out for them as the majority of players buried their chances to the corners. During the PK contest, Rongen invited some of the young fans that were watching the practice out onto the field and the players signed shirts and soccer balls for them. 

ALL ABOUT BRAZIL
Brazil comes to Fort Lauderdale with a talented squad as all 20 players on the roster are playing at the professional level. The majority of players are playing at the largest Brazilian league clubs such as Santos, Sao Paulo, Flamengo, Corinthians and Palmeiras. There’s also one player, Leo, who signed for Olympique Marseille in the first division in France. From now until the end of the year, Brazil’s Under-20s will play in a number of tournaments as it prepares the team for CONMEBOL qualifying and head coach Rene Webber said he will cycle through a number of different players available over that time span. The team competed in the Toulon Festival last week in France and revised their roster by seven players before coming to Florida. Only two members from Brazil’s U-17 World Championship team are on the current U-20 roster – Evandro and Leo. Evandro, who plays for Guarani F.C., won the Silver Ball at the ’03 FIFA U-17 World Championship as the second best player in the tournament after scoring four goals. Below is Brazil’s roster:

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Renan Brito (International), 12-Diego (Mineiro); DEFENDERS (7): 15-Leonardo (Santos), 3-Halisson (Santos), 4-Edcarlos (Sao Paulo), 13-Ilsinho (Palmeiras), 2-Leo (Olimpique Marseille), 6-Felipe Soares (International), 16-Andre (Sao Paulo); MIDFIELDERS (8): 14-Levi (Minerio), 10-Wagner (America), 5-Rafael (Corinthias), 8-Junior (Flamengo), 7-Rodrigo (International), 17-Tiago Matos (Vitoria), 19-Vinicius (Flamengo), 18-Ernane (Bahia); FORWARDS (3): 11-Dennys (Paranese), 9-Evandro Ronatto (Guarani), 20-Neto (Bahia). 

LAST MEETINGS WITH BRAZIL
The U.S. and Brazil last met at this age group in the final of the 2002 C.O.T.I.F. XIX Torneig International in L’Alcudia, Spain on Aug. 29, with the U.S. falling 1-0. The U.S also faced Brazil in their first match of the tournament, taking a 1-0 lead before being reduced to ten men and allowing Brazil to find the back of the net twice for a 2-1 comeback win. While no members of that team are still with the U.S. Under-20s, a large amount of players on the roster have experience against Brazil with the Under-17s. Nine players were on the U.S. roster when they met Brazil in the quarterfinals of the ’03 U-17 World Championship in Finland and eight of them played in the match. Freddy Adu, Steve Curfman, Quentin Westberg, Eddie Gaven, Danny Szetela, John DiRaimondo and Jamie Watson started, while Julian Valentin came on as a substitute in the match. Guillermo Gonzalez was the only player that is now with the U-20s that did not take the field against Brazil.

U.S. Under-17 MNT vs. Brazil
FIFA U-17 World Championship
Turku Stadium; Turku, Finland
August 24, 2003

Scoring Summary:    1   2   F
USA                          0   0   0
Brazil                        1   2   3

BRA – Leonardo (Jonathan)                    18th minute
BRA – Ederson     61st
BRA – Evandro     64th

Lineups:
USA – 1-Quentin Westberg; 2-Kyle Helton (14-Julian Valentin, 87), 3-Jonathan Spector, 5-Brandon Owens, 12-Steve Curfman; 4-Eddie Gaven, 15-Corey Ashe, 17-Danny Szetela, 8-John DiRaimondo (9-Michael Harrington, 78); 11-Freddy Adu, 13-Jamie Watson (19-Jacob Peterson, 78).
Subs not used: 6-Chris Germani, 7-Brian Grazier, 10-Guillermo Gonzalez, 16-Adrian Chevannes, 18-Quentin Westberg, 20-Steve Sandbo.

BRA – 1-Bruno; 2-Leo (15-Felipe, 67), 3-Joao (capt.) (13-Marlon, 86), 4-Leonardo, 6-Sandro; 5-Junior,7-Jonathan, 8-Arouca, 10-Ederson; 11-Evandro (9-Thyago, 81), 18-Abuda.
Subs not used: 12-Marcelo, 14-Arthur, 16-Juliano, 17-Tody, 19-Hugo, 20-Walisson.
 

QUICK HITS

  • This will be Freddy Adu’s sixth game with the Under-20 and his first since turning 15 on June 2.  Adu is the only player on the roster that competed with the Under-20s last year during their quarterfinal run in the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates.
  • U.S. U-20s have compiled a 6-3-2 record so far this year, playing only two international matches, both victories over Jamaica in April. The U.S. defeated the Reggae Boyz 1-0 on April 20 and 4-0 two days later, with both matches being played in Sunrise.
  • Fourteen players on the U.S. roster were also on the roster for Under-20’s last training camp in Sunrise in April, when they defeated Haiti Select 1-0 at Lockhart Stadium. Similar to the last camp, there are five MLS players on the roster. Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Craig Capano (Chicago Fire) and Eddie Gaven (MetroStars) were on the roster in April, but Guillermo Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy) is making his first appearance. Michael Bradley (MetroStars)  was the fifth professional on the roster in April, but was not called into this camp.
  • The Under-20s are on a four-game winning streak after winning all of their matches during their April camp in Florida.
  • Forward Jamie Watson is the U-20’s overall leading scorer in 2004, compiling four goals since January, but no international goals. The international goal-scoring leader is Will John, who found the back of the net twice against Jamaica on April 22. Watson also leads the team in appearances (8) and starts (8).
  • Goalkeeper Quentin Westberg will be looking for just his second cap with Under-20s. Westberg started for the U.S. in the team’s 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew on Feb. 22 in Bradenton, Fla. The other goalkeeper in camp, Andrew Kartunen, will be looking for his fifth appearance on the year.
  • Eleven players on the U.S. roster graduated from U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., during the past few years. This past May, Freddy Adu, Nathan Sturgis, Danny Szetela, Julian Valentin and Tim Ward all received their high school diplomas. In the previous two years, Steve Curfman, John DiRaimondo, Eddie Gaven, Guillermo Gonzalez, Jamie Watson and Craig Capano all finished their time in Residency.
  • Three players on the U.S. roster will be looking for their first appearance with the U.S. U-20s. Nico Colaluca, Charlie Davies and Steve Purdy have yet to set foot on the field for the Under-20s.

QUOTE SHEET

Head Coach Thomas Rongen
On facing Brazil…
“We are looking forward to playing the reigning World Champions. Any time you have an opportunity to play the best in the world, which they are, it posses a great challenge for us and also gives us the unique opportunity to showcase our talented players in this country. We are in a phase of finding our team for qualifying in January and playing games such as this allow a coach to determine which guys can play and which guys can not play. It is pretty simple. Hopefully, we’ll get a feel of what we can do.”

On how the U.S. is approaching the match against Brazil…
“We are looking to field our best team in January for qualifying, so we can get past that point and then move on to the World Cup in the Netherlands in 2005. This game is just another step for me to evaluate individual players and evaluate the team collectively and see how they respond to a good opponent.

On how his evaluation of the team is going…
“It is fairly early still to say this is the group that will still be there in January. We will make some changes and evolve as a team. Some U-17 players that did well at that level are not here and may not be part of the team, and some of the unknowns in college might surface and accelerate a little bit quicker than maybe people had anticipated and be part of this team. It’s an ongoing process of evaluating and the best way to do that is to play against opponents like Brazil because your strength will be accentuated, but your weaknesses will also be exploited. It is always good for a coach to find out where we need to get better.”

Freddy Adu
His thoughts on Brazil…
“It was very difficult playing Brazil. They face opponents that are so advanced in their games that when you play them as a forward it is kind of hard. They are the best country in the world at this sport and every time you play against them it is not going to be easy. If you’re up 2-0 in the 90th minute, you still have to be thinking they might come back. That’s just the kind of team they are. It is going to be a challenge for us and I’m looking forward to it.”

On people calling him the next Pele and now playing Brazil…
“I’m not worried about that. People are going to talk and you just have to take it as a compliment to your game, but you have to put everything into perspective at the same time. If I go out there and do the things I have to help my team to win and better myself as a player than I don’t dwell on that too much.”

On jumping from MLS to the Under-20s…
“Most of these guys play professional too, so they’ve been there, done that. They bring the same mentality here, which helps out a lot. I try to bring the same mentality here, too. I’m not seeing coming here as a step down or anything because it is definitely not. If you think of it like that, you’re only going to play worse. I try to bring what I’ve learned and apply it here.”

On whether he followed Brazilian soccer…
“I’ve watched Brazilians play all the time and they are so skillful and the way they move the ball is unbelievable. Ghana is pretty close to Brazil in the way everyone goes out and plays every day and tries to do moves and improve their skill level. They're obviously not as good as Brazil, but it is pretty close.”

Arturo Alvarez
On facing Brazil…
“It is going to be a hard game and we all know that, but we have a pretty good team here and we are going to go out and give it all we have and work as much as possible together and individually. It should be a pretty good match.”

Craig Capano
On the team’s attitude going into the match…
“If you can’t get excited for a game like this against the best team in the world there is a problem obviously, but I think everyone is ready to play. Everyone knows how hard we’ll have to work because it is not going to be an easy game. I think it will be a great experience for all of us to push each other and do well.”

On how the team is approaching the match…
“You have to go in expecting them to be a good team, but if you expect them to be too good I think that will be more intimidating for us than anything else. If we go in expecting to play well, which we know we can than that will make a big difference on the game.”

Danny Szetela
On the match against Brazil…
“It is going to be a tough game obviously going up against the U-17 and U-20 World Champions. I think we all need to work together and play with our hearts. This will be one of the toughest games we’ve ever played, so we just need to go out there, play hard and hopefully come away with a good result.”

On what he learned playing Brazil in the U-17 World Championship…
“When we played Brazil in the (U-17) World Cup, the one thing I noticed was that they certainly don’t like to lose. No matter what the score is, even if they have a five-goal lead, they will still play to score goals. We have to expect Brazil is going to come out fast and strong.”

Eddie Gaven
On what the U.S. needs to do to get a victory…
“I think it is going to start with our defense. We will need to be tight and not allow too many gaps in the backfield. We might not have the ball most of the game, but when we do get it we need to keep it and make the most of our chances.”
 
Brazilian Under-20 Goalkeeper Diego 
On what he thinks about the level of soccer in the United States…
“I believe in the future, the United States will win some type of title be it a Under-20 or World Cup. The production of the U.S. team is ever growing.”

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