U.S. Will Face Argentina U-20s and Three Youth Club Teams;
Rongen Names 11 Professionals to the 20-Player Roster
CHICAGO (April 14, 2006) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, from April 18-27 to play three matches during their first foreign camp of 2006, including one against the Argentina U-20 Men’s National Team.
The trip to Argentina will be just the second camp for the U.S. Under-20s this year as they kicked off their two-year cycle towards the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 last month in Sunrise, Fla. Players eligible for the World Cup must be born after Jan. 1, 1987.
Before closing their 10-day training camp with their first international match of the year against Argentina on Wednesday, April 26, the U.S. will go up against two Argentine first division youth club teams. The U.S. will train for three days before facing Arsenal de Sarandi on Saturday, April 22, and River Plate on Monday, April 24.
“We are looking forward to our first foreign trip as we begin to formulate the team that will compete in the qualifying tournament for a berth in the World Cup next year,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen, who was hired in March for his second stint with the team. “It is still early in the process, but playing two quality games against top-notch Argentina club teams and then getting the chance to test ourselves against the reigning U-20 world champion makes this a very worthwhile camp. Going up against this high-level competition will help us to determine which players will probably be with us next year.”
Rongen will bring a 20-player roster to Argentina, which includes 11 professionals. All but two – Nicolas Torres (Argentina) and Preston Zimmerman (Germany) – ply their trade in Major League Soccer. Torres, a midfielder from Miami, Fla., plays for Club Deportivo Espanol in the Argentine second division. After impressing during the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, Zimmerman signed with Hamburg SV in the German Bundesliga and is playing on the club’s reserve team. The Pasco, Wash., native talked about his move to Germany in the latest Center Circle.
Five MLS teams provide the other 10 professionals, including two from Chivas USA – forward Estuardo Sanchez and midfielder Rodrigo Lopez. Sanchez and Lopez will be entering into their first U-20 camp.
The New York Red Bulls, L.A. Galaxy and FC Dallas also each supplied two players, while defender/midfielder Nikolas Besagno was the lone player from Real Salt Lake. David Arvizu joins his Red Bull teammate Josmer Altidore, who is the youngest player on the roster, for both players’ first U-20 camp. Nathan Sturgis is the veteran on the roster after being part of the 2005 U-20 World Championship team in Holland and will show the ropes to his Galaxy teammate Quavas Kirk, who jumps from the U-17s to U-20s. Dax McCarty and Blake Wagner will both join the U-20 ranks after FC Dallas drafted them in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft in January.
Goalkeeper Steve Sandbo (SMU), defender Neven Subotic (USF) and midfielder Sal Zizzo (UCLA) constitute the college players on the roster, while high school players Corben Bone (Plano, Texas), Genaro Fernandez (Santa Cruz, Bolivia), Eric Lichaj (Aurora, Ill.), Chance Myers (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Anthony Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Carlos Borja (Anaheim, Calif.) round out the team. Borja will be looking for his second international cap after coming on as a substitute on Nov. 21, 2004, against Mexico.
Out of the 20 players, 14 were, or currently are, members of U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program. Arvizu, Besagno, Borja, Kirk, McCarty, Sanchez, Sandbo, Sturgis, Subotic, Wagner and Zimmerman all spent time with the U-17s in Bradenton, Fla., while Altidore, Lichaj and Wallace will graduate from the Residency Program this summer.
During the last U-20 cycle, the U.S. defeated Argentina in both of their meetings in 2005. The U.S. got a late goal for a 2-1 victory at the opening game of the Suwon International Youth Tournament on March 22, and then stunned the Argentineans, 1-0, in the opening match of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland. Despite suffering the upset to the U.S. at the WYC, Argentina went on to win their record-setting fifth U-20 championship.
The U.S. Under-20s are preparing for the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, where they will attempt to earn a berth to the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the sixth straight time. In early April, CONCACAF announced Mexico and Panama will each host a final round qualifying tournament, which will take place in January or February of 2007. The top two squads from each of the four-team qualifying tournaments will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Genaro Fernandez (Santa Cruz, Bolivia), Steve Sandbo (SMU)
DEFENDERS (6): Eric Lichaj (Downers Grove, Ill.), Chance Myers (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Neven Subotic (USF), Blake Wagner (FC Dallas), Anthony Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Nikolas Besagno (Real Salt Lake), Corben Bone (Plano, Texas), Carlos Borja (Anaheim, Calif.), Rodrigo Lopez (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Nicolas Torres (Club Deportivo Espanol), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)
FORWARDS (5): Josmer Altidore (New York Red Bulls), David Arvizu (New York Red Bulls), Quavas Kirk (L.A. Galaxy), Estuardo Sanchez (Chivas USA), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg SV).
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