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Rongen Names 21 Players for Final U-20 MNT Camp Before CONCACAF Qualifying

CHICAGO (Dec. 30, 2006) – United States Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has invited 21 players to participate in the team’s final training camp before the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament. The players and staff arrived in Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday and will train through January 6 at IMG Academy. 

Following the eight-day camp, Rongen will name his final 20-player roster for CONCACAF qualifying, which will take place from Jan. 17-21 in Panama City, Panama. The team will regroup on Jan. 10 in Fort Lauderdale where they will train before heading to Panama on Jan. 14 for the qualifying tournament.

Rongen had initially planned to name his qualifying roster after last week’s U-20 camp that included 26 players, but the announcement has been delayed until he can confirm the release of midfielder Michael Bradley from Dutch club Heerenveen. Heerenveen has already released midfielder Robbie Rogers, who is in Bradenton for the final camp.

Forward Johann Smith is not in camp, but will be released by Bolton FC (England) for the qualifying tournament and will join the team when they regroup on Jan. 10 in Fort Lauderdale. With the addition of Smith, and possibly Bradley, Rongen will need to trim his 21-man roster by two or three players. The final qualifying roster will be announced upon the team’s arrival in Fort Lauderdale.

“With more and more of our youth national team players abroad, we are entering into an area that is similar to what our senior national team encounters on a frequent basis, and that is the challenge of getting players released,” said Rongen. “While Heerenveen has been cooperative in releasing Robbie Rogers, right now we are still in discussions with the club to try and obtain Michael Bradley for the tournament. With the unknown of Michael’s availability, we wanted to bring in one or two extra players in the event he is not available, which would force us to make some changes. At the end of this camp we will narrow it down to the 20 players that will represent us in Panama.”

During the previous camp,’s Studio 90 followed the real-time story of Andre Akpan, Tony Beltran and Julian Valentin as they tried to make an impression and earn a spot on the USA roster for the qualifying tournament. In the first episode of “Roster Spot,” fans can watch the players go through challenging fitness tests and discover the ups and downs of the first half of the camp.

In the conclusion (now available on, viewers see how the players performed in the all-important games and are actually in the room when Rongen addresses each player individually, informing them whether they had made the initial cut.

Of the 26 players that participated in the U-20’s last camp in the middle of December, 19 were invited back for this final camp. Along with Rogers, forward Preston Zimmerman, who plays for Hamburg SV in Germany, is the only other player on the roster that was not in the prior camp in Bradenton.

The U.S. is in Group A of the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament with Guatemala, Haiti and host Panama. The top two teams in the group will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, which will take place from June 30-July 22 across six cities – Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Burnaby and Victoria. The U.S. will be attempting to qualify for their sixth straight FIFA World Cup (formerly FIFA World Youth Championship).

The other two of the four CONCACAF berths (not including Canada which gets an automatic berth as host) will come from Group B, which consists of a separate qualifying tournament a month later from Feb. 21-25 in Culiacan, Sinaloa, located on the west coast of Mexico. Competing with the hosts will be Costa Rica, St. Kitts & Nevis and the winner between a two-game series between Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

In their upcoming camp, the U-20s will play four games against the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team. In an attempt to prepare for the qualifying tournament, which will require them to play three games in five days, the U-20s will play the U-17s on Jan. 2, 3, 4 and 6.

Of the 21 players named to camp, 10 are in college, nine are professional players and two just exited U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program. Seven of the professional players ply their trade in Major League Soccer, while Rogers and Zimmerman are based in Europe. Five MLS teams are represented on the roster, with the Columbus Crew providing Danny Szetela and Tim Ward, and the L.A. Galaxy providing Quavas Kirk and Nathan Sturgis. The other three MLS players are Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake), Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls) and Blake Wagner (FC Dallas).

2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament

Date Match-up Venue Time (ET)
Jan. 17 USA vs. Haiti Rommel Fernandez Stadium 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 Panama vs. Guatemala Rommel Fernandez Stadium 8:30 p.m.
Jan. 19 USA vs. Guatemala Rommel Fernandez Stadium 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 19 Panama vs. Haiti Rommel Fernandez Stadium 8:30 p.m.
Jan. 21 Guatemala vs. Haiti Rommel Fernandez Stadium 6 p.m.
Jan. 21 USA vs. Panama Rommel Fernandez Stadium 8 p.m.

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team
Training Camp
Bradenton, Florida
December 30 – January 6, 2007

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. DOB Hometown College / Club
11 Adu, Freddy M 5’8”  145  06/02/89  Potomac, Md. Real Salt Lake (MLS)
20 Akpan, Andre F 6’0”  190  12/09/87  Grand Prairie, Texas Harvard University
13 Altidore, Josmer F 5’10”  176  11/06/89  Boca Raton, Fla. N.Y. Red Bulls (MLS)
3 Arguez, Bryan M 6’2”  165  01/13/89  Miami, Fla. West Kendal Optimists
15 Davies, Kyle D 5’10”  160  04/11/89  Pleasanton, Calif. Ballistic United
16 Hall, Jeremy M 5’11”  160  09/11/88  Tampa, Fla. University of Maryland
4 Igwe, Amaechi D 6’0”  165  05/20/88  Belmont, Calif. Santa Clara University
6 Kirk, Quavas D 6’2”  190  04/13/88  Long Beach, Calif. L.A. Galaxy (MLS)
18 Perk, Brian GK 5’11”  175  07/21/89  Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. UCLA
7 Rogers, Robbie F 5’10”  165  05/12/87  Huntington Beach, Calif. SC Heerenveen (Netherlands)
12 Sarkodi, Ofori D 5’9”  170  06/18/88  Huber Heights, Ohio Indiana University
1 Seitz, Chris GK 6’4”  205  03/12/87  San Luis Obispo, Calif. University of Maryland
5 Sturgis, Nathan D 5’11”  155  07/06/87  Redondo Beach, Calif. L.A. Galaxy (MLS)
8 Szetela, Danny M 5’11”  172  06/07/87  Clifton, N.J. Columbus Crew (MLS)
16 Valentin, Julian D 5’11”  180  02/23/87  Lancaster, Pa. Wake Forest University
10 Villanueva, Jonathan M 5’9”  150  03/30/88  Grand Prairie, Texas University of Virginia
19 Wagner, Blake D 5’10”  160  01/29/88  Tampa, Fla. FC Dallas (MLS)
14 Wallace, Anthony D 5’11”  155  01/26/89  St. Petersburg, Fla. Brandon FC
2 Ward, Tim D 6’0”  165  02/28/87  Waukesha, Wis. Columbus Crew (MLS)
9 Zimmerman, Preston F 5’11”  180  11/21/88  Pasco, Wash. Hamburg SV (Germany)
21 Zizzo, Sal F 5’11”  165  04/03/87  San Diego, Calif. UCLA