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U.S. Under-20s Arrive in Carson, Begin Final Preparations for CONCACAF Qualifyng Tournament


U.S. Under-20 MNT Notes
Carson, Calif.
Jan. 5, 2005


KICKING OFF 2005

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team kicked off their first training camp of 2005 on Monday (Jan. 3) at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as they begin the final preparations for the U-20 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, which is also at the HDC, from Jan. 12-16. Head coach Sigi Schmid has invited 22 players into camp and they will compete for the one of the final 18 spots for the qualifying tournament, as the roster will be reduced by four players before their first match. Schmid has pushed the players through two-a-day training sessions on Monday and Tuesday as the players attempt to get their legs back after the holiday break. 



COLLEGE AND PROFESSIONAL MIX

Of the 22 players named to camp, 16 are in college while five are professional players, four of which play in Major League Soccer – Freddy Adu (D.C United), Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars) and Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew). The final professional player is first-choice goalkeeper Quentin Westberg, who plays for ESTAC Troyes in the second division in France. Midfielder Robbie Rogers, who recently had a two-month trial with PSV Eindhoven in Holland, is currently not under contract with any professional team.
U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Quentin Westberg (ESTAC Troyes); Justin Hughes (UNC), Andrew Kartunen (Stanford); DEFENDERS (6): Greg Dalby (Notre Dame), Hunter Freeman (Virginia), Patrick Phelan (Wake Forest), Nathan Sturgis (Clemson), Tim Ward (St. Louis), Marvell Wynne (UCLA); MIDFIELDERS (7): Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Robbie Rogers (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Benny Feilhaber (UCLA), Patrick Ianni (UCLA), Sacha Kljestan (Seton Hall), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew); FORWARDS (6): Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Chad Barrett (UCLA), Charlie Davies (Boston College), Will John (St. Louis), Randi Patterson (UNC-Greensboro), Jacob Peterson (Indiana).


COLLEGE BREAKDOWN

Out of the 16 college players invited into camp, a total of 12 schools from six conferences are represented. The Pacific-10 Conference leads the way with five players (four from UCLA), followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference with four, the Big East with three and Conference USA with two. The two remaining – Big Ten Conference and Southern Conference – each have one representative.

IN AND HEALTHY

Unlike the past two camps head coach Sigi Schmid has conducted with the Under-20s since taking over in October of 2004, all the players invited in arrived on time and, even more important, all are healthy. The players were given a complete medical physical after dinner on Monday night at a conference room in the hotel. Team doctor Scott Powell and some of his medical colleagues conducted the physicals on all the players, making sure the players are healthy enough to play as they screened out any injuries they may have suffered since the last camp in December.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO FIRST OPPONENT FOR U.S. IN QUALIFYING

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.
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.


U-20 QUALIFYING TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Tickets for the Under-20 world championship qualifying tournament go on sale nationally this Friday (Dec. 17) at 10 a.m. PT. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $10 to $24 are available online at ussoccer.com, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Southern California (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records), by calling 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles), 714-740-2000 (Orange County) or 619-220-8497 (San Diego), and at the Home Depot Center ticket office. Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290.

DIR, VERMES, LAPPER AND THE FRENCHMAN
Along with Dave Dir, Peter Vermes and Mike Lapper are back in as assistants with the Under-20s for the  qualifying tournament after each former MNT player had stints as assistants with Schmid during the past two U-20 camps (Lapper in November, Vermes in December). Also in, maybe somewhat to the chagrin of the players, is MNT Strength and Conditioning Coach Pierre Barrieu, who will be with the team throughout the week as he will help the players continue to increase their fitness leading up to their first game against Trinidad & Tobago. Dir, the assistant coach with the longest tenure with the U-20s will arrive into camp on Wednesday afternoon. Dir has been with the team since 2001, joining the U-20s when Thomas Rongen took the head coaching position.

PICTURE THIS
A number of familiar faces are back at The Home Depot Center as head coach Sigi Schmid has brought the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team together for the first time in 2005 as they begin their final preparations before they open CONCACAF qualifying for the FIFA Youth World Championship 2005 on January 12. A total of 22 players were invited in and they will compete over the next week for the final 18 roster spots, so things will be quite competitive. Take a quick visual tour of the players competing for those final slots during pracice, while also having a little fun in the photo gallery below.

COMPETITIVE MUCH?
Knowing four players will be sent home when Schmid cuts the qualifying roster down to 18, the players have been fiercely competitive when split into teams during certain drills in practice the first couple days. On Monday, the players were separated into three teams (red, green, yellow) of six and they played games in a shortened field with full-size goals. The red team of Nathan Sturgis, Benny Feilhaber, Hunter Freeman, Charlie Davies, Will John and Sacha Kljestan were able to come away with four victories before the green and yellow squads, allowing them to drink water while their teammates dropped to the ground and did push-ups and sit-ups. On Tuesday, Schmid kept the same squads and despite some spirited and tough play from the contenders, the red team was once again able to pull out the victory in the end to keep a hold of their crown. The players were also broken into teams of three during Tuesday’s morning training session and played on four short fields with small goals. Each game was four minutes and ties were broken by rock-paper-scissors between two players, until the top two teams squared off in the championship match. The team of Freddy Adu, Danny Szetela and Patrick Phelan were able to carry a Szetela goal to victory over Chad Barrett, Marvell Wynne and Tim Ward. Despite the loss, Ward said he was happy with his team’s effort and awarded himself the Golden Boot with four goals overall.

LOCKER ROOM TENNIS
With the rain coming down on the Under-20s during their first practices at The Home Depot Center the amount of soccer tennis they’ve played has been reduced. Well, outside at least. The players have built their own soccer tennis court in their locker room and are playing games whenever they get a chance. While the court smack-dab in the middle of the locker room makes for some interesting maneuvering to the shower, the majority of players have joined in the fun as they are routinely looking for a partner to help them grab the title of the best Under-20 locker room soccer tennis team. 

A FAST "QUOTE OF THE DAY"
Under-20 defender Marvell Wynne has got some wheels. Then again, so does USC’s sophomore running back Reggie Bush. The connection? Wynne ran the 100 and 200-meter dash against the college football national champion in high school as they were both in the same conference – Wynne at Poway High School, Bush at Helix High School. After practice yesterday afternoon, the players were watching the first quarter of the Orange Bowl last night in the locker room it was brought up that Wynne had competed against Bush in track and the UCLA defender was asked, “Did you ever beat him?” He turned with a bit of a stunned look and answered with a deadpan delivery:  “No, definitely not.”

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