CHICAGO (May 23, 2003) — The United States Under-17 Men’s National Team has accepted an invitation from the Korean Football Association and will participate in the Busan International Youth (U-17) Tournament in Busan, Korea from May 31 – June 4. The tournament, which will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, will serve as preparation for the U.S. before it plays in the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Finland this August 13-30.
The Korean Football Association invited all three teams from Group D at the 2002 World Cup, which included the U.S., Poland and Portugal. The U.S. and Poland accepted the invitation, but Portugal was unable to participate, leaving Argentina, who recently qualified for the U-17 World Championship, to take their place as the fourth and final team.
“These games will be great for our preparation for the World Championship,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s head coach John Ellinger. “Argentina and Korea both qualified for the World Championship by winning their qualifying tournaments, while Poland will be a new European opponent for us and will be very challenging.”
Argentina secured their first South American U-17 Championship trophy since 1985 after finishing atop the CONMEBOL final round of qualifying last week. The eventual champions went unbeaten during the final round, scoring 19 goals while only conceding five. Korea also qualified for the U-17 Championship in Finland by winning the AFC Under-17 Championship back in September of 2002. The Koreans captured their first U-17 championship in dramatic fashion, beating Yemen 5-3 in penalty kicks after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Despite a strong squad, Poland was unable to advance to Finland after failing to get past the second round of UEFA qualifying.
The U.S. qualified for their record 10th FIFA World Championship by winning Group A in the CONCACAF final round of qualifying, putting up an impressive record of seven points with seven goals and two clean sheets during their three matches in Guatemala this past March. The U.S. are the only nation to qualify for all 10 world championships at this age group.
In Korea, Ellinger will be looking to a quartet of talented attackers to provide the majority of the team’s offensive scoring threat. 2003 MLS draftees Guillermo Gonzalez (15 goals) and Eddie Gaven (11), along with fleet-footed Corey Ashe (6) and 13-year-old Freddy Adu (9) have combined to score 41 goals in the past five months.
The U.S. defense, led by central defenders Jonathan Spector and Brandon Owens, has been solid, giving up just three goals in eight international matches this year, helping the team to a 5-1-2 record. Goalkeeper Phil Marfuggi has also recorded five shutouts in six international starts, amazingly allowing only one goal.
The U.S. Under-17s shattered several U.S. Soccer records in 2002, setting new marks for wins in a year (40), games played (66) and shutouts (25). The Under-17s posted a 40-15-11 record in 2002, scoring more than twice as many goals as their opponents (153 goals for, 74 goals against). So far this year, the team has continued its success by compiling an overall record of 27-5-7, with 110 goals for and only 28 against.
Busan, located on the southeast coast of the Korean Peninsula, is the second largest metropolis in the country with a population of four million. The city is considered the maritime gateway to Korea and ranks third in the world in volume of goods handled. Busan has hosted a variety of sporting events, including the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 14th Asian Games, which also took place last year.
U.S. U-17 MNT Roster
|1||Marfuggi, Phil||GK||6'0"||185||01/15/86||West Windsor, N.J.||PDA United|
|2||Helton, Kyle||D||5'7"||155||05/20/86||Alpharetta, Ga.||Atlanta Fire|
|3||Spector, Jonathan||D||6'0"||180||03/01/86||Arlington Heights, Ill.||Sockers FC|
|4||Gaven, Eddie||F||6'0"||145||10/25/86||Hamilton, N.J.||MetroStars (MLS)|
|5||Owens, Brandon||D||6'0"||170||01/23/86||Murrieta, Calif.||La Jolla Nomads|
|7||Grazier, Brian||M||6’0”||165||03/17/86||Edwardsville, Ill.||Metro FC|
|8||DiRaimondo, John||M||5'6"||140||04/23/86||St Louis, Mo.||Busch SC|
|9||Harrington, Michael||M/F||6’0”||165||01/24/86||Greenville, N.C.||CASL Elite|
|10||Gonzalez, Guillermo||M||5'11"||145||01/04/86||Paramount, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)|
|11||Adu, Freddy||F||5'8"||140||06/02/89||Potomac, Md.||Bethesda International|
|12||Curfman, Steven||M||5'11"||155||10/08/86||Raleigh, N.C.||CASL Elite|
|13||Watson, Jamie||F||5'9"||150||04/10/86||Coppell, Texas||Dallas Comets|
|14||Valentin, Julian||D||5'10"||175||02/23/87||Lancaster, Pa.||FC Delco|
|15||Ashe, Corey||F||5'5"||135||03/14/86||Virginia Beach, Va.||Beach FC Impact|
|16||Chevannes, Adrian||D||5'11"||175||06/17/86||Ft. Worth, Texas||Club Dallas|
|17||Szetela, Daniel||M||5'11"||170||06/17/87||Clifton, N.J.||World Class Olympic|
|18||Sandbo, Stephen||GK||6'2"||190||02/23/87||Columbus, Ohio||Ohio Thunder|
|19||Denny, Jay||F||6'0"||150||01/06/86||Shenstone, England||Stoke City, England|
|20||Peterson, Jacob||F||5'10"||160||01/06/86||Portage, Mich.||Michigan Wolves|
|-||Ward, Tim||M||5'11"||150||02/28/87||Waukesha, Wis.||Parkland SC|