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U.S. U-20s Close in on World Youth Championship Opener


U.S. Under-20 MNT Notes
Enschede, Holland
June 9, 2005

CLOSER AND CLOSER: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is now just two days away from their opening match of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship against Argentina. After arriving at their venue of Enschede on Monday (June 6), the team held a practice that evening and then the coaching staff surprised the players with a much-needed day off on Tuesday. The team was back to business practicing on Wednesday and Thursday, though. The Thursday evening session took place at the 13,500-seat Arke Stadium in Enschede, which will host all three of the USA’ first round games. The U.S. kicks off against Argentina on Saturday (June 11) at 5:30 p.m. local time / 11:30 a.m. ET. The team will then face Germany on June 14 (8:30 p.m. local time / 2:30 p.m. ET) and conclude group play on June 18 (1:30 p.m. local time / 7:30 a.m. ET) against Egypt. Every U.S. match at the World Youth Championship can be followed live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

ALL U.S. GAMES ON FOX SOCCER CHANNEL: All three of the U.S. Under-20 Group D matches will be televised live by Fox Soccer Channel, Telefutura and Galavison. Fox Soccer Channel will also be re-playing the three U.S. games later the same day. A number of other World Youth Championship matches will also be televised by the three stations.

Fox Soccer Channel Listings
Date         Matchup                   Time – Live/Replay (ET)
June 11    U.S. vs. Argentina    11:30 a.m. / 8 p.m. (FSC)
June 14    U.S. vs. Germany     2:30 p.m. / 11 p.m. (FSC), 
June 18    U.S. vs. Egypt           7:30 a.m./ 12 and 4 p.m. (FSC)

Telefutura / Galavision Listings
Date         Matchup                   TV Station         Time

June 11    U.S. vs. Argentina     Telefutura            11:30 a.m. ET
June 14    U.S. vs. Germany      Galavision           7 p.m. ET/ PT (same day tape delay)
June 18    U.S. vs. Egypt            Galavision           5 p.m. ET/PT (same day take delay)

RIGTERSBLEEK MATCH: The U.S. faced local club team Rigtersbleek on Wednesday evening in Enschede in a 60-minute scrimmage, providing the players with the chance to play someone other than each other. The Rigtersbleek players played hard, but were very respectful with their intensity, making sure no one would get hurt on the U.S. team (and thankfully, no one did). The U.S. ended up getting an 8-0 win behind two hat tricks from Sammy Ochoa and Eddie Gaven, while Jacob Peterson and Lee Nguyen also tallied. The U.S. has been practicing on Rigtersbleek’s game field this week in Enschede as it is one of the two training sites the four teams in Group D are using during the first round of play.

I WANT TO RIDE MY BICYCLE: The next installment of ussoccer.com’s All_Access Video is now available and you will not want to miss this one. With the day off on Tuesday, about half the team decided to check out the city. Seeing so many people on bikes here in Holland, the players were inspired to do get into the Dutch culture and do their sightseeing by way of bikes. The players rented “fiets” from the hotel to cruise around Enschede, taking in some of the tourist attractions and visiting the bustling town square. With about 15 players and staff bicycling together, most in U.S. gear, they received a number of humorous looks from locals. The bike gang, nicknamed the “Yankee Doodles” by forward Chad Barrett, got to see a good amount of the city and talked to some of the locals to find out more about their WYC venue. To view today’s All_Access Video, click here

AUDIO DIARY PART II FROM HOLLAND: As part of ussoccer.com’s new content, midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan will be providing an audio diary throughout the U.S. Under-20 MNT’s journey through the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. Now available is the midfielder duo’s second installment and their first since arriving in Enschede. The Californians talk about their friendly against China, their trip to Enschede, their day off which included a bike ride and a private movie screening, an intense game of ping-pong, and much, much more (including breaking down into uncontrollable laughter at one point).  For the latest audio diary podcast, click here.

MLS ROOKIES: For four Under-20 players the past five months have marked the beginning of their professional careers. Hunter Freeman (Colorado Rapids), Tim Ward (MetroStars), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire) and Will John (Chicago Fire) were all drafted during the 2005 MLS SuperDraft in January, getting picked in the midst of qualifying for the FIFA World Youth Championship. The four sat down with ussoccer.com and talked about life in MLS. Click here to read what they had to say.

A1 FREDDY: Freddy Adu was in Enschede for less than a day before he graced the front page of the De Twentsche Courant Tubantia, the city’s major newspaper. Adu was featured prominently on the front page, juggling a ball during the team’s first practice they held on the day the team arrived into the city. Similar to the U.S. media that has followed Freddy since he emerged onto the soccer scene two years ago, he is being compared to Pele, the headline beneath the picture stating, “De nieuwe Pele is neergestreken in Enschede,” or “The new Pele has arrived in Enschede.”

FREDDY YOUNGEST ONCE AGAIN: Freddy Adu is once again the youngest player in the FIFA World Youth Championship, a title he also carried during the 2003 tournament. Adu just turned 16 this past week and is the only player out of 504 on the team rosters that was born in 1989. While Adu is one of 24 players that also played in 2003 and will become one of almost 80 players that have played in two editions, he also has an opportunity for an even more impressive distinction. In two years from now, Adu could become just the second player in the history of the World Youth Championship to play in three editions of the tournament as he is age eligible for 2007. The only other is Al Roomi of Saudi Arabia, who played in '85, '87 and '89.

STOPPING THE RUMORS: There has been a rumor circulating that Freddy Adu is going to be signing with PSV Eindhoven, and a number of Dutch reporters have been asking him about the possibility. Thing is, Fredua knows nothing about it. “I just had to laugh when I saw the story,” he said. And he would also like to explain that his girlfriend does not live in Eindhoven, which the story also reported.

FLYING UNDER THE RADAR: Similar to the odds makers it appears not too many other people are giving the U.S. much of a chance at the World Youth Championship despite their strong showing two years ago. A local Dutch reporter at one of the team’s practices asked if the U.S. really felt it could play with some of the better teams in the world, such as Argentina, Brazil and, of course, the Netherlands, to which a U.S. staff member replied with a confident “yes.” The reporter paused and asked again saying, “But, I mean do you actually think you really have a chance of winning?” The reply: “Yes.” The reporter gave a dubious shrug overflowing with skepticism until the staff member informed the journalist that the U.S. had just beaten Argentina and Egypt this past March in South Korea and reminded him of the team’s quarterfinal appearance two year ago. The reporter’s reply: “Oh, I didn’t know about that.”

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL: It appears reporters aren’t the only ones not giving the U.S. much of a chance in the World Youth Championship, as some of the opposition is doing the same. Brazil’s Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Renee Webber was quoted in a newspaper article that he considered Brazil, Argentina, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Germany as the top teams to win the tournament. “With the exception of Turkey, who won the European U-17 Championship and finished runners-up to Spain in the U-20’s, I can’t see any other sides capable of springing a surprise,” said Webber.

MAN CHILD: Marvell Wynne has acquired a nickname during his time with the U-20s. The UCLA defender has  been dubbed “Man Child” due to his superior size, strength and overall athletic physique. More than a number of times, Marvell has been called “a man among boys” after games by both staff, players and even journalists, which brought on the nickname.

NOT GOING THIRSTY: The U.S. players will not have to worry about staying hydrated as two large crates of Gatorade arrived at the team hotel this morning, courtesy of the U.S. Soccer sponsor. Getting it from the lobby to the second floor and into the dining room was a bit of an adventure. The players were using a cart to move the individual cases up the elevator, but on the second trip one of the wheels came off and it took a bit of maneuvering to get it off the elevator. Even “Man Child” wasn’t able to move the cart out of the elevator, so the players loaded all the Gatorade onto another cart to finish the task.

HOTEL SHARING: The Best Western Dish Hotel that the U.S. and the rest of the three teams in Group D are staying at is a bit different than probably any other hotel in the world. The hotel is located in a 15-floor building, but only six floors are actually part of the Best Western. The bottom floor is the lobby and the second floor is the conference and dining rooms, while the four top floors (11-15, no floor 13) are the actual hotel rooms with each team occupying an entire floor. The third floor to the 10th floor are dorms for students at a nearby college.

BETTING ODDS: Some of the players found it interesting that they are considered 13-to-1 long shots to win Group D, tied along with Egypt and behind Germany a 3-to-1 and Argentina, the favorites, at 4-to-6. The U.S. is also a 51-to-1 long shot to win the entire tournament, along with Japan, Canada and Egypt. Some of the teams listed directly above the U.S. were Morocco (34-to-1), Chile (26-to-1), Australia (21-to-1) and Ukraine (23-to-1). The favorite is Brazil at 5-to-1 and the team with the worst odds is China at 201-to-1.

VIDEO GAME SYSTEM: If the players were getting a little bored during their downtime here in Holland, the latest shipment they received on Tuesday will help cure their yawning. A brand new video game system arrived at the hotel and was quickly assembled and connected in the players’ lounge on the team floor. There’s not much chance the players will get bored of the games either as there are about 20 to select from, including sports (soccer of course), fighting, car racing and adventure games. Less than six hours after the game console arrived, the trash-talking began as players were challenging each other and ripping on those that aren’t as savvy on the controls.

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