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Pre-Game Quote Sheet: USA vs. Czech Republic

U.S. head coach WILMER CABRERA

On Estadio Torreon:
We saw the field, and today we’ll have the first practice on the field. We are all excited. The stadium is magnificent. It’s a wonderful stadium."

On playing so close to home:
“This is my second World Cup as a head coach and I’m very happy, very excited. The first one in Nigeria was a different environment. Here in Mexico, we are more comfortable because we feel closer to home. We are more comfortable here and hopefully our kids can enjoy that. For sure, we’re going to enjoy this World Cup more because we will have people close to us.”

On opening against the Czech Republic:
“The European teams for us have been stronger. They’ve proven that they’re a level above us, but this is a great opportunity. In soccer, you always have the opportunity to change the history. In this case, we know the Czech Republic is one of the top teams. They earned the right to be here for what they’ve been doing the past two years in Europe so they’re going to be good. They have a good soccer tradition and they’re well respected. We know that. But this is the World Cup and it’s a great opportunity. We want to be here and want to play with them. Our kids are well prepared to play against them.”

On how he has prepared his team for this tournament:
“We have been working very well on the fitness aspect and the mental aspect, the tactical. Today we can say that we’ve worked on everything we needed to. Now it’s up to the players to show that on the field. We will know how we did beginning on Sunday.”

On whether the U.S. is a favorite to advance:
“We never look at ourselves as the favorites to qualify for the next round. The U.S. has qualified for all of these U-17 World Cups and that itself is a reward. Now this is the World Cup and all 24 teams, especially at this age, have an opportunity. At 17 years old most of the teams are still in the development process. We all know that everyone has an opportunity. It’s just the circumstances around the game. In 90 minutes, it is about who is going to play and get the result in 90 minutes of concentration and soccer.”

On the heat in Torreon:
“The weather is the same for all four teams. Obviously we practice in Florida and I know New Zealand went to Arizona. It’s just part of the tournament and something that we all have to deal with, the weather conditions. For us, we’re never going to think that the weather conditions will be an excuse. We have to deal with it and the kids have to learn to deal with all the conditions, like the weather, the people and the environment. It’s part of the learning process for them to compete at this level.”