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Under-20 MNT Prepare for Four Matches in Three Days at HDC

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has hit the halfway mark of their 12-day camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and get set to play the first two of four matches on Saturday. The 30 players in camp have been split up into two teams (see below for rosters) with the Grey team playing the Canadian Under-20 Men’s National Team at 10 a.m. and the Blue team playing Mexican first division club team Necaxa at 3 p.m. The players will have the day off on Sunday before playing two more games on Monday, once again facing off against Canada at 10 a.m. and then a collection of local college and professional players at 3 p.m.
U.S. Under-20 MNT Match Schedule
Date Opponent Venue Time (PT)
Dec. 18 Canada U-20 HDC – Field 1 10 a.m.
Dec. 18  Necaxa  HDC – Field 1 3 p.m.
Dec. 20 Canada U-20 HDC – Field 1 10 a.m.
Dec. 20  All-Star Team HDC – Field 1 3 p.m.
U.S. U-20 Grey Team
GOALKEEPERS (1): Justin Hughes (UNC); DEFENDERS (4): Kiel McClung (UCLA), Patrick Phelan (Wake Forest), Nathan Sturgis (Clemson), Marvell Wynne (UCLA); MIDFIELDERS (5): Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Nico Colaluca (Virginia), Robbie Rogers (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Benny Fielhaber (UCLA), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew); FORWARDS (4): Ely Allen (Washington), Chad Barrett (UCLA), Adam Christman (Virginia), Randi Patterson (UNC-Greensboro).
U.S. U-20 Blue Team
GOALKEEPERS (1): Quentin Westberg (ESTAC Troyes); DEFENDERS (5): Greg Dalby (Notre Dame), Hunter Freeman (Virginia), Mike Ordonez (Dartmouth), Karl Schilling (Connecticut), Tim Ward (St. Louis); MIDFIELDERS (4): Craig Capano (Chicago Fire), Patrick Ianni (UCLA), Sacha Kljestan (Seton Hall), Michael Videira (Duke); FORWARDS (4): Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Charlie Davies (Boston College), Will John (St. Louis), Jacob Peterson (Indiana).

** Andrew Kartunen (Stanford) will be the backup goalkeeper for both games.


The U.S. will join Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago as they compete in Group A of the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from Jan. 12-16, 2005. The six-game round-robin tournament will consist of three doubleheaders with each team playing on January 12, 14, and 16. The U.S. U-20s, who are attempting to qualify for a fifth consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship, play the second match on each day and open against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, Jan. 12 before facing Panama on Friday, Jan. 14. The U-20s wrap up the tournament against Costa Rica on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. PT. The top two finishers in Carson will advance to the FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands from June 10-July 2, 2005. Tickets for the Under-20 world championship qualifying tournament are now on sale. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $10 to $24 are available online at
U-20 CONCACAF Final Round Schedule
Date Match-up Kickoff (PT)
Jan. 12 Costa Rica vs. Panama 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 USA vs. T&T 8 p.m.
Jan. 14 T&T vs. Costa Rica 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 USA vs. Panama 8 p.m.
Jan. 16 Panama vs. T&T 12 p.m.
Jan. 16 USA vs. Costa Rica 2:30 p.m.

Canada has been in Carson since Sunday (Dec. 12) training as they get set for their qualifying tournament as well. Canada will be looking to qualify for their third consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship when they compete in Group B of CONCACAF Under-20 Final Round Qualifying from January 26-30, 2005 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with host Honduras, Jamaica, and Mexico. Head Coach Dale Mitchell brought in a 22-player roster for their training camp in Carson, which goes until Dec. 22. While in Carson, Canada will also play an exhibition game against Necaxa.
After holding training sessions for the first three days of camp, the 30 players split into two teams (Grey and Blue) for an intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday morning (the teams were different than the Grey and Blue teams set for the Canada and Necaxa games). Each squad was coached by an assistant coach, with Marcelo Balboa heading up the Blue team and Peter Vermes taking the reins with the Grey team. Despite a fairly even contest that saw both sides with good opportunities on net, it was Balboa’s Blue team that came out on top with a 3-1 victory, behind goals from Chad Barrett, Arturo Alvarez and Freddy Adu. The match started out as a defensive battle as neither side was able to create a quality attempt on goal during the first 25 minutes. Things quickly turned in favor for the Blue team as Danny Szetela got free down the right flank and crossed in a ball to the back post for Barrett, but his header was parried out for a corner on a great diving save by Andrew Kartunen. On the ensuing corner kick, the ball got knocked out to the top of the area where Szetela quickly pushed it sqaure to Alvarez on his right. With a defender applying pressure, Alvarez took one touch along the 18-yard line to his left and fired a shot on goal that was deflected, spinning towards goal high into the air. Barrett had gotten free from his marker and was able to beat Kartunen coming off his line to head the ball over the ‘keeper and into the open net. In the second half, the Grey team bounced back, also getting a goal off a corner kick in the 52nd minute. The ball was served in and was cleared out to the top-left corner of the box where John one-timed a blast into the upper-left corner past a helpless Quentin Westberg. The Blue team got the game winner seven minutes later when Alvarez was able to dispossess the last Grey defender near the center line and dribble in on a breakaway, finishing past Kartunen. In the 79th minute, Adu put the game away when Jacob Peterson found him with a through ball on a nice diagonal run and the youngest member of the team buried the ball with his left foot just inside the right post.

Defender Steve Purdy caught a flight back to the University of California this morning as he is suffering tendentious in his right Achilles and would not be able to participate at 100 percent during the duration of the camp. The injury was assessed by the U.S. medical staff and it was decided that Purdy would need about of week of rest and then some rehab, so the decision was made to have the Cal defender fly back to college. One good thing for Purdy is that he’ll now be able to take one of his final exams in class instead of in the team coordinator’s hotel room, something he already did this week.

Freddy Adu may be quick, but he has nothing on the lighting-fast guy who made an appearance on the field during the Under-20 MNT’s intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday. During the first five minutes of the match a jackrabbit got a bit lost and ended up running across the width of the field and startling a few of the players. Darting left and right, extremely frightened rabbit raced directly towards the action on the field along the sideline before getting away unscathed from a inadvertent boot or ball and racing past the team benches and eventually into some shrubbery near the fence surrounding the fields. While some of the players were a bit taken aback by the twelfth man making his way onto the field, they were able to regain their composure and continue with the game.

Having been hired in late October, Sigi Schmid has only had about two months to start his selection process for the 18 players he will select for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team at the CONCACAF U-20 Qualifying Tournament, which will be at The Home Depot Center from January 12-16, 2005. With less than a month to go and 30 players currently in camp – the U-20s final camp before he chooses his final roster – Schmid sat down with and talked about what challenges he’s faced with the limited time available to choose his squad, how the players are looking in camp and what he’s hoping to get out of this final week to help him make his decision.

Having played with the full U.S. Men’s National Team, played in MLS and clubs in Mexico and Europe, and played in multiple World Cups means more than just being able to spread your knowledge of the game as a coach. Apparently, it also means you can dominate anyone in soccer tennis. The players that went a full 90 minutes in the intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday had a light warm-up and then broke into teams of two and played in a small soccer tennis tournament, but no one could come close to knocking off the unofficial championship team of assistant coaches Marcelo Balboa and Peter Vermes. With four courts set up on the field, the players went against each other and also got the chance to take on the Balboa/Vermes team, but no one was able to pull off the upset. In the final match, head coach Sigi Schmid also joined in the fun, teaming with defender Hunter Freeman, but despite their best effort, Balboa/Vermes kept their belt for another day. 


Between practice, resting, eating and team meetings, the players haven’t had the chance to spend much of their downtime outside of the hotel, so team coordinator Erik Carlson pushed up dinner tonight to give the players the chance to go catch a movie at a nearby theatre. Ocean’s Twelve appears to be the front runner at this point, along with Flight of the Phoenix. The players will also have the majority of the day off on Sunday, doing only a short pool rehab in the morning. The day will allow some players the chance to see family if they live nearby or an opportunity to get some of their holiday shopping done if they haven’t already started.


“Hey! Somebody mark up on that guy!”

     U.S. U-20 MNT assistant coach Peter Vermes yelling to his team after a jackrabbit ran across the field during the team’s intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday