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Conference Call Quotes - U-20 Head Coach Sigi Schmid on WYC Draw


Opening comments on the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship:
“The FIFA World Youth Championship in 2005 is going to be the best youth world championship in awhile because of the timing of the tournament. Being in the summer, it is going to allow all the European countries and South American countries to bring basically all of their players. I don’t think there is going to be club conflicts from any of the teams. Last time in 2003 because of the timing of the tournament due to the postponement there were club conflicts. I know in ’99 there were club conflicts as well and maybe less so in 2001. This is definitely going to be a World Youth Championship where all the top teams are going to come with all their top guns. It’s not going to be a case where people are missing. If they’re missing it will be due to injury. We’re excited. We certainly have a big opener and my feeling is that the U.S. has always found a way to play well against good opponents. If we have a weakness it’s because maybe we relax a little bit when we play opponents that are not considered of the top echelon, but there is no one we can relax against in our group.”

On getting placed in Group D with Argentina, Germany and Egypt:
“I think we’re in the toughest group to be very honest. Argentina might not have done well in the qualifying round (this year), but if you look at their history over the last five (World Youth Championship) competitions they’ve won three out of the last five. In the last one, they lost in the semifinals. They are usually either winning it or they are getting into the final four, so you can not discount them at all. Germany beat the U.S. the last time pretty solidly, so they are a team that is obviously always difficult. Egypt is a team that has also produced a lot of good players in recent years and has done very well. We have a tough group, but on the same token as I said before, for me it is more glass half-full. We are in the World Cup and there are a lot of teams that would like to be in the position we are in. As a country over the last period of time in youth world championships and with the full team we’ve obviously responded very well when we are playing against teams that are considered to be of the upper echelon.”

On if teams like the U.S. or Canada should have gotten rewarded with a seed for going undefeated in qualifying:
“Well, they obviously decided to seed six teams going into the draw with the Netherlands being a natural choice because they are the host nation. The rest of the teams were all European and South American teams. When you look at the run that the U.S. had at the last World Youth Championship and when you look at what we did in qualifying, I don’t know how close the U.S. was to consideration for a seed, but certainly that is something that should have been considered. It’s a case of us continuing to earn our respect. Hopefully, by coming through our group and doing well by finishing first or second in our group, then when it comes around for 2007 maybe we’ll see a CONCACAF team get a seed.”

On what his immediate reaction was after the draw:
“Somebody said to me from CONCACAF, ‘well, you didn’t get any gifts today,’ but that is okay. It was interesting while we were sitting there and actually going through the draw, when Argentina got seeded I said to (team coordinator) Erik Carlson who is here with me, ‘watch we’ll be in Argentina’s group.’ Then I predicted we would get Egypt and predicted that we’d end up with Germany. Maybe it was a premonition or whatever, but maybe that’s a good sign.”

On getting the chance to play against Germany due to his German background:
“For me to coach against Germany is very exciting. I had an opportunity to do it one time as an assistant to Bora (Milutinovic), but this is the first time I’m going to get the opportunity as a head coach of one of the U.S. national teams to go against Germany. From my standpoint, that will certainly be an emotional day, and a day I’m looking forward to.”

On the city of Enschede where the U.S. will play their group games:
“I know it is close to the German border (laughs). One of the decisions that the organizing committee made was that whatever group Germany was in, was going to play in Enschede. Germany was given the opportunity to play there because it is only 80 kilometers from Germany, so obviously the intention is to draw the German fans from across the border. I know in our game the German fans will be behind Germany, but I hope they realize in the Argentina and Egypt games that the U.S. has a coach with German background and will support the U.S.”

On how important the U-20 program is in preparing players to play for the full national team, MLS or other professional clubs:
“I think the Under-20s are a huge step. The last time I coached the Under-20 team, when you go against Japan and there’s (Shinji) Ono on the field, who is one of the players that they highlighted in the video tonight as a premier player that has played in a Under-20 world championship. Now, if you’re a Carlos Bocanegra or a Steve Cherundolo you’ve played against that player. When someone like Xavi (Hernandez), who’s playing for Barcelona and playing for the Spanish national team, is a guy that you’ve played against at the Under-20 level, it just makes you as a player a lot more confident when you run into them at the full national team level. So, in a way playing the Argentinas, Germanys and Egypts of the world gives us that opportunity for our young players. It’s is such a huge step for them to play against players that are going to be big-time pros. And one day when our guys come across the pond, like (DaMarcus) Beasley is right now, he is either going to play with or against guys he’s already encountered at the Under-20 level and he knows he can play with.”

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