CHICAGO (Nov. 19, 2004) — U.S. Soccer will host the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from January 12-16, 2005. The four-team, Group A qualifying tournament will feature the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, along with Costa Rica, Panama and the winner from the Caribbean Zone Series 1 playoff between Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba.
CONCACAF has released the schedule for the six-game round-robin tournament, which 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 the winner of the Caribbean Zone Series 1 playoff 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. Ticket information will be released and made available at ussoccer.com when it becomes available.
“With less than two months before the qualifying tournament, we are now sorting through the U-20 player pool to determine the final roster we will bring to Carson,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Sigi Schmid, who recently took over the reigns of the team in late October. “We have a good mix of professionals and college players available and I’m looking forward to playing at a great venue such as The Home Depot Center as we aim towards our goal of qualifying for next year’s world championship.”
While a roster for the qualifying tournament will not be announced until early January, Schmid has a deep pool (players born since January 1, 1985) to chose from that includes a blend of MLS players, European professionals and the top college players in the nation. The MLS players eligible for selection include Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Craig Capano (Chicago Fire), Guillermo Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy) and Michael Bradley (MetroStars).
Adu, Szetela and Gaven were all part of the U.S. Under-17 MNT that qualified and played in the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship and are expected to play major roles for the U.S. in Carson. Adu is the only player to have prior experience with the Under-20s before this year, playing in four games during the USA’s run to the quarterfinals in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates.
The final team in Group A, the winner of the Caribbean Zone Series 1 between Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba, will be determined in a home-and-home series on Nov. 26 in Cuba and Dec. 10 in Trinidad & Tobago. The other qualifying group, Group B, consists of Honduras, Mexico, Canada and Jamaica, and will be played from Jan. 26-30 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The top two teams from each group’s qualifying competition will advance to the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship.
This marks the second straight time that U.S. Soccer will host an Under-20 qualifying tournament, as just two years ago the U.S. hosted the 2003 Under-20 Group B qualifying tournament in Charleston, S.C. Before that, the U.S. hadn’t hosted the event since 1980.
This will be the first time any U.S. Youth National Team will play at The Home Depot Center, site of U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center. The U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams have both played matches at The Home Depot Center. Ticket information for the qualifying tournament will be announced in the coming weeks.
CONCACAF Under-20 Qualifying Tournament
The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
Group A - January 12-16, 2005 (All Times PT)
Wednesday, Jan. 12
Costa Rica vs. Panama 5:30 p.m
USA vs. T&T/Cuba 8 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 14
T&T vs. Costa Rica 5:30 p.m.
USA vs. Panama 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 16
Panama vs. T&T/Cuba 12 p.m.
USA vs. Costa Rica 2:30 p.m.