Under-20 Men Arrive in France in Preparation for Thursday's Opener of Toulon Festival
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%TUESDAY'S DOUBLE DAY: The U.S. went through their first real training session in France on Tuesday morning, and then the team went through their secod session six hours later. The first session lasted 90 minutes, and the majority of the time was spent with two teams of five playing in a small grid in one half of the field, with a third group of five working on crossing and finishing on the other end of the pitch. The team returned to the Stade Marine in the evening for their second session of the day. After warming up, the team was broken up for an 8 v 8 half-field scrimmage with goalkeepers. When two 20-minute halves produced a tie, Suhnholz called for a penalty-kick shootout. D.J. Countess saved three of five penalties to lead his team to victory.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%BYE, BYE BUDDLE: Columbus Crew forward Edson Buddle was scheduled to be a part of the team in Toulon, but was recalled by new Crew coach Greg Andrulis at the last moment. Buddle, who has scored six goals in 15 appearances for the U. S. Under-20s this year, recently scored his first MLS goal on Wed., May 16 in a 1-2 loss to the New England Revolution. Buddle has seen his playing time increase in Columbus lately and has played in five of the Crew's first seven matches, starting three.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%CHARLES SOON TO BE IN CHARGE: Wednesday morning defender Charles Kazlauskas is scheduled to arrive in Toulon and join the U.S. team for the remainder of their stay in France. Kazlauskas plays with NEC Nijmegen in Netherlands and spent his first time with the Under-20s earlier this month in the team's training camp at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. He received his first cap when he came off the bench in the 1-1 draw against Costa Rica on May 12. U.S. Under-20 assistant coach Erik Visser calls the Dutch defender "Little Jaap Stam".
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%CAST ON, CAST OFF: U.S. forward Alecko Eskandarian missed the USA's most recent international, a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica on May 12, after fracturing a bone in his left wrist during the training camp in Chula Vista, Calif. "Esky" has spent the past two weeks with a splint on his left wrist. Monday night, following the team's dinner, team doctor Mel Hayashi removed Eskandarian's splint and bandages and replaced them with an orthoplastic splint. With the new splint, Eskandarian will be able to play and is expected to see time as a striker for Suhnholz, who has already lost one striker for the trip. "He is healing brilliantly and should have no problems on the field," Hayashi said on Monday.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%TRAVEL DAY: For the majority of the team, travel to France began midday on Sunday, May 20, and ended midday on May 21 in France. Most members of the team flew from their home airports to Newark, N.J., where the team flight for Paris left at 8 p.m.. The eight-hour flight to Paris arrived late and U.S. team was met by a French airline attendant, who led the U.S. team on a long run across Charles de Gaulle airport. At CDG airport, the U.S. team met up with Conor Casey, Wolfgang Suhnholz, Brad Davis and Seth Trembly. Suhnholz, Davis and Trembly flew in on a direct flight from Houston to Paris, while Casey had flown in from Germany, where he plays professionally with Borussia Dortmund. The team was rushed to their next flight and found the plane loaded and waiting for the U.S. After settling in to their seats and taking over the back quarter of the plane, the U.S. enjoyed a quick, one-hour flight to Marseilles. When the U.S. touched down in Marseilles they were greeted by wet weather and overcast skies, but unfortunately not their luggage. The U.S. boarded a bus that took the team to Toulon - a 90-minute drive - while the team's equipment manager Joe Ahearn stayed behind to get the U.S. gear when it arrived more than three hours later. Ahearn and the U.S. gear finally arrived at the team hotel around 6:30 p.m., some six hours after the team had arrived and almost 24 hours after many had started their travel. The U.S. team is still missing two bags, but are due to receive those Wednesday morning.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%COACHES TOUR TOULON: The U.S. arrived - without their luggage - at their hotel Monday afternoon. Wolfgang Suhnholz and Erik Visser wasted no time getting out and exploring the area around the hotel. The coaching duo checked out the marina across from the hotel, before trekking around the cobblestone, tree-lined streets below the hotel. Suhnholz and Visser sampled some of the area's delights, and then settled down in the middle of a sqaure to enjoy a cappucino - or two - and a delicious French pastry.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%FIRST TRAINING SESSION: After the team bags arrived late Monday, the team reboarded its bus and took a short 15-minute ride to the Stade Marine, where the U.S. will train during its time in Toulon. Leaving their cleats at the hotel, the U.S. team used the brief session to gets their legs stretched out after the long trip. The team spent 30 minutes running, and after stretching out, returned to the hotel for dinner.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%WHERE WE ARE: The U.S. is staying in the heart of Toulon, minutes from the Mediterranean Sea. Toulon is located just more than 50 km from Marseilles, between Marseilles and Cannes.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%SLEEPING NEXT TO THE STADE MAYOL: The U.S. opens the tournament on the 24th against Italy at the Stade Mayol. The U.S. will not have to travel very far for the opener, as the Stade Mayol is less than 50 meters from the front door of the USA's hotel. The U.S. team will get its first chance to see the inside of the stadium Wednesday morning, when they will have a quick walk through at the stadium before going to their normal training field at the Stade Marine.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%SUN SPOTTED: After looking out the window and seeing overcast weather for their first 24 hours in France, the U.S. team was greeted by the sun Tuesday afternoon. After very near perfect conditions for their first training session Tuesday, the sun came out Tuesday afternoon. More of the same is expected the rest of the week.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%TV SCHEDULE: All three of the USA's first round matches will be shown live in the United States on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Espanol. Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Espanol will televise the entire tournament, for a full television recap, please visit www.foxsportsworld.com. The U.S. television schedule is as follows for the first round:
- May 24: U.S. vs. Italy - 12:00 p.m. ET (FSW & FSWE)
- May 26: U.S. vs. Colombia - 10:00 a.m. ET (FSW & FSWE)
- May 28: U.S. vs. Netherlands - 1:00 p.m. ET (FSW & FSWE)
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%UPCOMING SCHEDULE: The U.S. will train once Wednesday morning and once again Thursday morning before the U.S. team kicks off the 2001 Festival at Toulon's Stade Mayol against Italy at 6:00 p.m. local (12:00 p.m. ET) on Thursday, May 24. The U.S. - Italy match will be followed by Colombia - Netherlands at 8:00 p.m. local time at the Stade Mayol.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%STAT OF THE DAY: In the past two years, the U.S. Under-20s have posted an undefeated 4-0-2 record in international matches that have taken place outside of the U.S. The U.S. drew 1-1 with Argentina in Buenos Aires last year, and the team also drew 1-1 with Costa Rica in Trinidad in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament on March 22, 2001. The U.S. topped Mexico in a pair of matches in Mexico early in 2001, and Suhnholz's squad hammered out two huge wins in the CONCACAF tournament in Trinidad, beating Guatemala 5-0 on March 18 and walking by the hosts Trinidad & Tobago 5-1 on March 20.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Luckily there is a McDonalds and a Chinese restaurant right next door to our hotel."