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U-17s To Put 18-Game Unbeaten Streak To Test Against Mexico and Ghana Oct. 15 & 17, in Atlanta


CHICAGO (Wednesday, September 29, 1999) - In their final preparations for the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship to be hosted by New Zealand, November 10-27, the U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team will play two marquee matches against New Zealand '99 qualifiers Mexico and Ghana at the Born in USA Tournament, to be hosted by Atlanta, Oct. 15 & 17.

"Mexico is a huge CONCACAF rival and there is a good similarity between them and Uruguay. Ghana are very athletic and have a dynamic attacking style that should provide a good test for our team," said U.S. U-17 head coach John Ellinger.

The USA will head into the match against Mexico riding an 18-match international unbeaten streak that began in August, 1998. The unbeaten streak, spanning 14 months and 1,620 minutes, is the longest in U.S. Soccer U-17 history.

Mexico is also in their final preparations for their sixth appearance at the world youth championship after qualifying as the top team from CONCACAF. Mexico was drawn into Group B for New Zealand '99, a group that features four number-one seeded countries, including two-time world champion Ghana, European champions Spain and Asian champions Thailand.

Ghana are the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship pre-tournament favorites after finishing runners-up in 1997 and 1993 and winning the world title in 1991 and 1995. Heading into New Zealand Ghana will be looking to earn themselves a unique place in the history of the tournament by becoming the first country to win three U-17 world championship titles.

U.S. U-17 scoring sensation Landon Donovan is scheduled to make his first appearance on home soil, at the Born in USA Tournament, since his departure to Germany over the summer to train with German Bundesliga powerhouse Bayer Leverkusen. The 17-year old Northern California native made U.S. Soccer history when he became one of the youngest players to sign an overseas contract when he signed with Leverkusen in March, 1999. Donovan is the U.S. U-17 all-time leading scorer with 31 international goals in 34 matches.

Other teams to be featured in the Born in USA Tournament include Uruguay and Jamaica. Uruguay and the USA will meet in the final match of group play on Nov. 16, in Auckland, New Zealand, at the '99 FIFA U-17 World Championship. Jamaica finished first at the '99 Group A CONCACAF qualifying tournament and will play Burkina Faso, Qatar and Paraguay at the world championship.

The USA will play Mexico on Oct. 15 at Adams Stadium (kickoff - 8:00 p.m.) and on Sunday, Oct. 17, the U.S. will square off against Ghana at Memorial Stadium (kickoff - 4:00 p.m.). For further information regarding the tournament please contact Okehi Sports promotions at 912-742-8466.

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