SHORT HOP TO JAMAICA: The U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica on Sunday, Feb. 21 after a short flight from the Miami International Airport following a fond farewell at halftime from the fans in attendance at the USA-Chile match in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The Honduras Men's Under-17 National Team were also aboard the same flight as the two teams made their way to Jamaica to begin their quest for a CONCACAF berth in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship to be hosted by New Zealand in November. Both teams were greeted by the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) as they departed the plane. From the airport, the U.S. Delegation boarded a bus for a one-hour ride to the Trelawny Beach Resort, in Famouth, a small Jamaican town on the Northern coast. The USA will open qualifying against Costa Rica on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Two days later the U.S. U-17s will play Honduras in their second qualifying match on Friday, February 26 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The team will conclude qualifying on Sunday, Feb. 28 against Jamaica at 3:00 p.m. ET. All games will be played at Jarrett Park Stadium in Montego Bay, Jamaica and shown live on Jamaica televsion.
LANDON DONOVAN SIGNS WITH LEVERKUSEN: U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team forward Landon Donovan (Redlands, CA) signed a multi-year contract with German Bundesliga powerhouse Bayer Leverkusen. Donovan will begin training with Leverkusen's reserve and youth teams in July '99.
SET YOUR VCR'S, U-17s TO BE FEATURED ON ESPN2: World Wide Soccer, one of the top-rated soccer shows in the country, will feature a U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team segment on Monday, March 1 (check local listings for times). The show will showcase the teams 10-month residency program at the Bolleittieri Sports Academy in Bradenton, Fla. and their preparations for the 1999 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament. The team also performed a skit, which will be shown, that they performed at the banquet of the Christchurch Tournament in New Zealand last winter.
"We entered a 10-month residency program in January, leaving home and our families to prepare for this tournament and the World Championship. We are ready to qualify."
"We don't know that much about Costa Rica, except that it is going to be a tough match. We have come to Jamaica for one reason and one reason only, to qualify and that begins tomorrow against Costa Rica." - U.S. Forward Landon Donovan (Redlands, CA) on the USA's first opponent, Costa Rica