CHICAGO (Friday, December 19, 2003) — With Brazil topping Spain 1-0 in the final of the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship this afternoon, U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team starting forward Ed Johnson has officially won the Golden Boot, awarded to the leading goal scorer of the tournament. Johnson notched four goals in five games, and he was an instrumental part of the USA’s remarkable run to the quarterfinals to secure their second-best finish ever in a World Youth Championship.
Johnson finished tied atop the scoring list with Argentina’s Fernando Cavenaghi and Brazil’s Dudu with four goals apiece, but took home the Golden Boot as the first tiebreaker for players even on goals is assists scored. Johnson finished with one assist, while Cavenaghi and Dudu finished with zero.
Johnson’s achievement marks the first time a U.S. men’s player has won the Golden Boot at any FIFA World Championship. The only other male player to finish as one of the top three scorers in a FIFA World Championship was Taylor Twellman, who was awarded the Bronze Boot for his four goals at the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria.
“It’s every soccer player’s dream to win an award like this and I am incredibly honored,” Johnson said. “I’d like to thank my teammates who believed in me to take the penalties. It took all 20 of us to get to the quarterfinals and I think the award shows more about our team and how we are now able to compete with the best teams in the world.”
After falling behind Paraguay by a goal in their opening match, Johnson was involved in all three of the U.S. goals as they came from behind for a 3-1 victory. The Dallas Burn forward scored the USA’s first goal by nodding home a Santino Quaranta cross, and also snagged an assist by feeding captain Bobby Convey on his stunning dribbling run and upper-ninety finish. He also created the game-winning goal as his strike from inside the penalty area was parried away by Paraguay’s goalkeeper directly into the path of fellow forward Mike Magee, who tapped it in for the lead.
All of Johnson’s next three goals came from the penalty spot as the U.S. attack continually pressured opposing team’s backlines. Johnson scored both penalties in a 2-0 victory in their final Group F match against South Korea, marking the first time the U.S. has won their group at a FIFA World Youth Championship. Johnson slammed his back-to-back penalties inside the left post.
Johnson snagged his fourth and final goal of the tournament in the team’s Round of 16 match against Ivory Coast on Dec. 8 in Dubai. Already up 1-0, Johnson doubled the U.S. lead after Freddy Adu was taken down in the box by the Ivory Coast ‘keeper after running down a Convey through ball. Johnson once again stepped up to the spot and ripped his shot inside the left post.
Johnson also tied Twellman as the top U.S. goal scorer for any FIFA World Youth Championship and also joined Javier Saviola (2001) with the most penalties scored in a FIFA World Youth Championship.
Along with winning their group for the first time ever, the U.S. set numerous team accomplishments during their course through the World Youth Championship, including advancing to the quarterfinals of a WYC for just the second time and first time since the tournament increased to 24 teams in 1997, winning the most matches by any U.S. team in any FIFA Men’s World Championship (three), and tying the record for the most goals scored in any FIFA Men’s World Championship (nine).
“We always felt that if we would perform well as a team it was only inevitable that some collective and individual awards would come our way,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. “We are extremely proud to have achieved some extraordinary team accomplishments and we are ecstatic that some of individual players, such as Ed Johnson, are being recognized.”
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Accomplishments at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship
- First time the U.S. has ever won its group at a FIFA World Youth Championship
- Second time ever advancing to the quarterfinals of a FIFA World Youth Championship and first since the tournament increased to 24 teams in ’97
- The team’s three victories in five games matched the most wins by a U.S. team in any FIFA Men’s World Championship
- The team’s 5th Place finish was the second best for the U.S. (behind the 4th Place finish in Saudi Arabia ’89) and just its third top ten finish ever (U.S. finished 8th in Australia ’93)
- Increased streak of advancing out of group play to six straight appearances (’89, ’93, ’97, ’99, ’01, ’03)
- Scored nine goals, tying the U.S. U-17 MNT in New Zealand ’99 with the most goals ever by a U.S. team in any FIFA Men’s World Championship
- The three goals scored against Paraguay were the second most the U.S. has scored in an opening match of a World Youth Championship in nine attempts, only bettered by a 6-0 thrashing of Turkey in 1993
- A 1.20 Goals Against Average, the second lowest ever by a U.S. team at a FIFA World Youth Championship and the lowest by a team that advanced out of group play
- Ed Johnson was awarded the Golden Boot as the leading scorer in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship, the first time any U.S. player has won the award and only the second time a player has finished in the top three in scoring (only other time was Taylor Twellman in WYC in Nigeria ’99)
- Johnson’s four goals in the tournament tied him with Twellman as the top goal scorer for the U.S. at any FIFA World Youth Championship
- Johnson also joined Javier Saviola (2001) with three penalties scored in the tournament – tops in FIFA World Youth Championship history.