U.S. Under-20s Making Themselves A Home in Charleston
U.S. U-20 MATCHES AVAILABLE ON PAY-PER-VIEW: U.S. Soccer and Innovative Sports Marketing have partnered to make the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s three matches at the CONCACAF Under-20 qualifying tournament available on pay-per-view. The three U.S. qualifying matches will be shown live and are available for $19.95 each through DirecTV and Time-Warner cable (in New York City). For more information on the pay-per-view broadcasts, contact ISM at 201-610-0200 or ismsports.com.
WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND: After a week of training sessions that tested the players, Rongen gave his players a little bit of a break this weekend. The U.S. team went through a light training session on Saturday, and then were free until Sunday’s 3 p.m. training session. At Saturday’s session the U.S. team did some light jogging and stretching to shake out the effect of the previous night’s game. Most of the U.S. players didn’t even put on their cleats for the workout, instead running in running shoes at the nearby field. The players attended a hockey game on Saturday night and then laid low until Sunday’s training session. The U.S. team will train on Sunday afternoon and then have a team meeting on Sunday night.
U.S. WATCHES HOCKEY GAME, HOCKEY CROWD WATCHES U.S. TEAM: The U.S. team took in a minor league hockey game at the North Charleston Coliseum on Saturday night, watching the South Carolina Stingrays fall 3-2 to the Charlotte Checkers. The U.S. team, however, took a little more of an interest in the on-ice entertainment that took place between the periods. During the first intermission Ford Williams, Chris Lancos, Chad Marshall and Jordan Harvey joined equipment manager Bryan Rosenbaum and team coordinator Erik Carlson on the ice for a game of musical chairs. The crowd of 5,261 enjoyed the spirited game, which included wrestling, slipping, sliding and more. Harvey drew the biggest laugh from the crowd when he pulled the chair out from under Williams just as the goalkeeper was sitting down, sending Williams crashing to the ice. Harvey and Lancos were the last two standing, with Lancos eventually crowned as the last one sitting. During the second intermission Steve Cronin, Ned Grabavoy and C.J. Klaas participated in the Stingrays’ three-lap tricycle race. Cronin got out to an early lead, but Klaas made a move from the back of the pack during the second lap and cruised home to a victory. Klaas’ win didn’t stop Grabavoy from celebrating and taking a victory ride.
U.S. TOPS LOCAL SELECT TEAM 5-0 IN FINAL WARM-UP MATCH: The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team topped an Under-20 Charleston Select team 5-0 on Friday night in their final exhibition match prior to the CONCACAF qualifying tournament that starts on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Two Santino Quaranta goals and two Ed Johnson assists led the way for the U.S., who also got a second half goal and assist from halftime sub David Johnson. The U.S. dominated the game even more than the lopsided scoreline showed. U.S. goalkeeper Steve Cronin did not make a save in the match, and the Charleston goalkeepers combined for 10 saves in the first half alone. Santino Quaranta and C.J. Klaas scored goals four minutes apart in the first half and then the U.S. exploded again in the second half for three goals in 11 minutes. David Johnson, Knox Cameron and Quaranta added the second half scores.
HAITI IS HERE: Haiti’s Under-20 squad arrived safely in Charleston today, flying in via Washington, D.C. Haiti opens up the tournament against the U.S. on Wednesday, November 13. Haiti, which has never qualified for a FIFA World Championship, has already played in six qualifying matches to get to the final round Group B tournament. Haiti has posed a 4-0-2 record in those qualifiers, outscoring their opponents 18-4. Haiti qualified for the final round after topping Jamaica 2-1 in Kingston and then recording a scoreless draw at home.
THE CANUCKS ARE COMING! Canada is scheduled to arrive in Charleston late Sunday afternoon. The majority of the team trained in Myrtle Beach for a week before moving south to Charleston. Three of the Canadian’s European-based players were scheduled to join the team in Charleston today.
EL SALVADOR ARRIVES TOMORROW: The El Salvador squad will arrive in Charleston tomorrow (Monday). The team has been preparing in Charlotte before moving to Charleston just 48 hours before their first tournament match. El Salvador plays in the first game of the tournament against Canada at 5 pm on November 13.
RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: The rain returned to Charleston on Sunday – in a big way. Thunderstorms pounded the historic district all morning and into the early afternoon. The skies cleared and the sun came out in full force ahead of the team’s training session.
COACHES TAKE TOUR OF HISTORIC OF CHARLESTON: While walking back to the team hotel from Saturday’s training session, Thomas Rongen, Dave Dir and Cle Kooiman were shown some old-fashioned southern hospitality. The three U.S. coaches struck up a conversation with a local who was out walking her two dogs. She invited the USA’s U-20 braintrust into her home and gave them a quick historical tour. The house was built in 1840 and then remodeled in 1860. All three coaches came away quite impressed with the house. Also on the walk back to the hotel, Thomas Rongen stopped to admire one house, leaning on the gate while he read about the house’s history. An elderly gentlemen stopped and watched Rongen for about 45 seconds, before asking the head coach, “Do you mind if I enter my house now?”
TWO PLAYERS PLAYING FOR TWO TEAMS: Two of the USA’s players played games this weekend, even though the U.S. team didn’t play a game. Ford Williams made a quick trip north to Chapel Hill for UNC’s top-25 tilt against South Carolina. Williams pitched a shutout on Friday night in net for the Tar Heels, going all 90 minutes in UNC’s 2-0 win. Williams made two saves in UNC’s fifth shutout win of the year. Ricardo Clark flew back to Furman on Saturday night and will suit up for Furman against Davidson on Sunday afternoon.
QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT OVERVIEW: The United States Under-20 Men’s National Team will face Haiti, El Salvador and Canada in the CONCACAF Under-20 Group B Qualifying Tournament at Blackbaud Stadium in a series of three doubleheaders. The U.S. Under-20s, who are attempting to qualify for a fourth consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship for the first time in U.S. Soccer history, play the second match on each day and open on November 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET against Haiti before facing El Salvador on November 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET and then wrapping up the tournament against Canada on November 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The top two finishers in Charleston will advance to the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates from March 25 – April 16, 2003.
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE: Tickets for the qualifying tournament are currently available at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the Carolinas (including Publix and Cat’s Music Stores), by phone at 843-554-6060, on-line at www.ussoccer.com and at Blackbaud Stadium (office open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Series and group tickets are available through the Charleston Battery at 843-971-4625 or U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1249.