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U.S. U-17 MNT Heads to Guatemala Sunday

U.S. Under-17 MNT Notes
CONCACAF Qualifying
Sunrise, Fla.
March 1, 2003

U.S. UNDER-17s GO THROUGH FINAL PREPARATIONS WITH 60-MINUTE SCRIMMAGE:  The U.S. went through their final training session in Florida Saturday, scrimmaging an Under-21 Haiti Select team this morning at the Sunrise Hilton in Sunrise, Fla.   The teams played two 30-minute halves, with the U.S. side coming away with a 3-1 win over a talented Haitian team. Corey Ashe was too much for the visitors, scoring the first U.S. goal and then setting up Guillermo Gonzalez’s penalty kick when he was taken down on the left side of the penalty area.  The U.S. played what is expected to be their starting 11 for the first 30 minutes, before making seven changes at half.  The Haitian squad scored early in the second half to add some suspense to the final 15 minutes.  Defender Brandon Owens capped the scoring when he squeezed a header just under the crossbar from five yards out.

U.S. HEADS TO GUATEMALA SUNDAY:  The U.S. team will travel to Guatemala City tomorrow, arriving in the country’s capital three days before opening play against Jamaica in the CONCACAF Group A Qualifying Tournament.  The team will leave the Sunrise Hilton after an early morning breakfast and depart for Guatemala from Miami International Airport.  The U.S. team is scheduled to arrive in Guatemala just before 1 p.m., and will have lunch at their hotel before heading to the training field for an afternoon training session.

LAST MEAL:  For one the of their final meals on U.S. soil for a week, the U.S. players and staff journeyed out of the hotel for a meal out last night.  The team went to one of their favorites – Macaroni Grill – for some Italian food, which they likely won’t see in Guatemala.  The players struck a chord with the wait staff and were helped by a few awestruck waitresses, and were the subject of many points and stares from the restaurant’s patrons.

AUSTRALIA CLINCHES SPOT IN FINLAND ’03: Australia’s Under-17s were crowned Oceania Champions yesterday after defeating New Caledonia 4-0 in the 2nd leg of the Oceania playoff.  Combined with a 3-1 victory in the first leg played on Thursday, the Australians secured a 7-1 aggregate win. Despite the scoreline, it was far from easy for the Australians with the score locked at 0-0 at half time and the underdogs having much the better of the first half.  Australia have only missed one Under-17 World Championship, when they didn’t take part in Egypt ‘97.  Australia defeated the U.S. in penalty kicks in the semifinals of the 1999 Under-17 World Championship in New Zealand.

TEN GAMES LATER:  The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team has played 10 matches in 2003, posting a 6-3-1 record and outscoring opponents 21-10.  The team leaders after 10 games:

1 (tie).  Jonathan Spector 9 appearances
1 (tie).  Danny Szetela  9
1 (tie).  Guillermo Gonzalez 9
1 (tie).  Eddie Gaven  9

1.  Jonathan Spector 9 starts
2 (tie).  Brandon Owens 7
2 (tie).  Adrian Chevannes 7
2 (tie).  Guillermo Gonzalez 7

1.  Eddie Gaven   5 goals
2.  Jacob Peterson  3
3 (tie).  Freddy Adu  2
3 (tie).  Michael Harrington  2
3 (tie).  Danny Szetela  2
3 (tie).  Jamie Watson  2

1. Jamie Watson  3 assists
2 (tie).  Freddy Adu  2
2 (tie).  Brandon Owens 2
2 (tie).  Christian Jimenez 2

John Ellinger lists six defenders on his 18-man qualifying roster, and here is the head coach’s breakdown of each of them:

No.  /  Name  /  Ht.  /  Wt.  /  Birthdate  /  Hometown  /  Club
16  /  Chevannes, Adrian  /  5’11”  /  180  /  06/17/86  /  Ft. Worth, Texas  /  Club Dallas
6  /  Germani, Chris  /  5’6’  /  146  /  07/10/86  /  Yardley, Pa.  /  FC Delco
2  /  Helton, Kyle  /  5’7”  /  155  /  05/20/86  /  Alpharetta, Ga.  /  Atlanta Fire
5  /  Owens, Brandon  /  6’0”  /  170  01/23/86  /  Murrieta, Calif.  /  La Jolla Nomads
3  /  Spector, Jonathan  /  6’0”  /  180   03/01/86  /  Arlington, Heights, Ill.  /  Sockers FC
14  /  Valentin, Julian  /  5’10”  /  175  02/23/87 /  Lancaster, Pa.  /  Leeds United

#16 Adrian Chevannes
"We saw him a year ago and didn’t start brining him in with us until last summer.  He’s been a bit of a late bloomer for us, and he continues to get better and better.  We felt what he needed was a higher level of games to get more polished, more savvy.  He reads the game well and the cover he provides for his teammates is excellent.  When he gets forward he is dangerous, and it helps that he used to play up front as a forward."

#6 Chris Germani
"Chris has good speed, not great size, but he is still good in the air.  He reads the game very well and is an excellent tactician as far as defending.  On the flip side he knows when to get forward and is very smart in those decisions.  He provides great cover and service from our left back position."

#2 Kyle Helton
"He has excellent speed and is very versatile in the fact that he can play left or right wide in defense, or in the midfield as well.  Technically he’s really improved his 1v1 defending, which is a key to him being here on the 18-man roster.  Again, he is somebody we have used before in our first 11, and with him in the lineup we don’t really drop a beat."

 #5 Brandon Owens
"Brandon is one of our leaders; he is a quiet leader of sorts.  He’s great in the air, and he has really worked on his skills on the ball.  In that position he has a great working relationship with (Jonathon) Spector, and they really seem to feed off of each other."

#3 Jonathon Spector
"Obviously Jonathon’s ability to adapt to a center back position from his spot as a forward has been the biggest bonus for us.  He gives us even more speed in the back, he’s great in the air, and he has a little a bite to him.  He is very technical, he makes good runs forward, and he gives us a settling influence in the back."

#14 Julian Valentin
"Julian is one of our ‘87s (players born in 1987) and an individual who showed us a lot before residency, but he really shot up the ranks once he entered residency and worked his way up to the number three center back position.  He has good speed, he’s good in the air and is very technical and comfortable with the ball.  He’s great for team morale and is one of everyone’s favorite players."