After announcing a 25-man player pool one month out on March 21, Charles shaved the U.S. squad to the 18 players that are headed to Hershey, Pa., on April 17 in preparation for the tournament, which runs from April 21-30. Before traveling to Hershey, the U-23's will be in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., from April 10-17, where three alternates will join 17 of the 18 players. During the week-long training camp, Team USA is scheduled to compete in scrimmages on April 12 against the Miami Fusion and April 15 versus a Miami select team.
"These were some very tough choices I had to make," said Charles, who led the Under-23's to a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games and on overall 7-4-6 record last year. "But when it comes time to play, I feel we'll be putting the best possible team out there to represent the United States and hopefully qualify for the Olympics in Sydney."
Leading the charges to Hershey are experienced U.S. Men's National Team midfielders Ben Olsen (D.C. United--MLS), who grew up in nearby Middletown, Pa., and John O'Brien (Ajax--Holland), who will miss the Ft. Lauderdale camp to train with his club overseas before joining up in the States on April 17.
Of the 18 players on the final roster, a surprising 12 hail from California, including three players at MLS power Los Angeles Galaxy--midfielder Sasha Victorine, defender Dan Califf and midfielder Pete Vagenas. Other former residents of the Golden State include European-based professionals Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96--Germany), John Thorrington (Bayer Leverkusen--Germany) and former U-17 superstar Landon Donovan (Bayer Leverkusen--Germany).
The three alternates that will train with the team in Florida are defenders Matt Chulis (Columbus Crew--MLS) and Eric Denton (D.C. United--MLS) and midfielder Brian Winters (Minnesota Thunder--A-League).
This year's qualifying will mark the first time the U.S. Under-23 MNT has entered a competition of this magnitude with a roster made predominantly of professional players, previously having to rely on current collegiate players and recent graduates to field a team.
The CONCACAF 2000 Olympics Qualifying Tournament, which will place two finalists into the final round of 16 at the 2000 Olympics, will be played over the course of five doubleheaders from April 21-30 at the 16,000-seat Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa. Three teams will join the USA, Canada and Guatemala in the six-team tournament once preliminary qualification is complete on April 9, at which point the order of all match-ups will be determined by CONCACAF.
The United States, as part of Group C, received a bye into the final round of qualification as the host federation. Meanwhile, Canada and Guatemala earned a ticket to central Pennsylvania upon finishing first and second in Group A competition, which was completed on March 25. Groups B and C are in the middle of round-robin play that began last Tuesday (April 4) and will end Sunday (April 9). The top two teams from Group B and the winner of Group C will advance to the final round.
|2000 U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team Final Roster|
CONCACAF 2000 Olympics Qualifying Tournament
April 21-30, 2000 - Hershey, Pa.
|Albright, Chris||F||01/14/79||6'1"||185||Philadelphia, Pa.||D.C. United - MLS|
|Beasley, DaMarcus||M||05/24/82||5'7"||135||Fort Wayne, Ind.||Chicago Fire- MLS|
|Brown, Adin||GK||05/27/78||6'4"||200||Pleasant Hill, Calif.||Colorado Rapids - MLS|
|Califf, Danny||D||03/17/80||6'1"||185||Orange, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy - MLS|
|Casey, Conor||F||07/25/81||6'1"||170||Gilpin, Colo.||University of Portland|
|Cherundolo, Steve||D||02/19/79||5'6"||145||San Diego, Calif.||Hannover 96 - Germany|
|Corrales, Ramiro||D||03/29/77||6'1"||170||Salinas, Calif.||NY/NJ MetroStars - MLS|
|DiGiamarino, Joey||M||04/06/77||5'11"||160||Corona, Calif.||Colorado Rapids - MLS|
|Donovan, Landon||F||03/04/82||5'8"||140||Redlands, Calif.||Bayer Leverkusen - Germany|
|Dunseth, Brian||D||03/02/77||6'0"||170||Upland, Calif.||New England Revolution - MLS|
|Howard, Tim||GK||03/06/79||6'1"||195||N. Brunswick, N.J.||NY/NJ MetroStars - MLS|
|McCarty, Chad||D||10/05/77||5'11"||175||Clovis, Calif.||Tampa Bay Mutiny - MLS|
|O'Brien, John||M||08/29/77||5'9"||150||Playa del Rey, Calif.||Ajax - Holland|
|Olsen, Ben||M||05/03/77||5'8"||140||Middletown, Pa.||D.C. United - MLS|
|Thorrington, John||M||10/17/79||5'8"||150||Palos Verde, Calif.||Bayer Leverkusen - Germany|
|Vagenas, Peter||M||02/06/78||5'8"||160||Pasadena, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy - MLS|
|Victorine, Sasha||M||02/02/78||6'2"||180||Carmichael, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy - MLS|
|Wolff, Josh||F||02/25/77||5'10"||160||Stone Mountain, Ga.||Chicago Fire - MLS|
|Brown, Chris||F||03/10/77||5'11"||165||Portland, Ore.||Kansas City Wizards - MLS|
|Chulis, Matt||D||08/29/77||5'10"||155||Central Islip, N.Y.||Columbus Crew - MLS|
|Denton, Eric||D||02/08/78||5'9"||160||Manteca, Calif.||D.C. United - MLS|
|Kirk, Andy||GK||10/03/77||6'0"||175||Milwaukee, Wis.||Tampa Bay Mutiny - MLS|
|Parra, Carlos||M||02/03/77||6'1"||175||West Haven, Conn.||New England Revolution - MLS|
|Whitfield, Evan||D||06/23/77||5'11"||160||Glendale, Ariz.||Chicago Fire - MLS|
|Winters, Brian||M||12/31/77||5'10"||172||Tacoma, Wash.||Minnesota Thunder - A-League|
|U.S. Under-23 National Team Staff|
|Head Coach||Clive Charles||Portland, Ore.|
|Assistant Coach||John Ellinger||Ellicott City, Md.|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Peter Mellor||Palm Harbor, Fla.|
|National Team Coordinator||Craig Blazer||Chicago, Ill.|
|Press Officer||Bryan Chenault||Chicago, Ill.|
|Doctor||Steve Smith||Silver Springs, Md.|
|Trainer||Bruce Snell||Tacoma, Wash.|
|Trainer||Kent Timm||Saginaw, Mich.|
|Equipment Manager||Brent Gonzalez||Chicago, Ill.|