Men's National Team Opens Florida Training Camp in Preparation for Match at Honduras Next Wednesday
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Wednesday, March 21, 2001) - The U.S. Men's National Team reconvened in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Wednesday for the first of five training sessions in South Florida before the team will depart for Honduras on Monday. The 75-minute practice was designed to ease the players into the routine of daily training for the Honduras match, and featured an extended warm-up before the field players broke into a possession drill. Training ended with a seven-on-seven game played on a 36-yard field. Play was spirited throughout, as players were required to perform shuttle runs for every two goals their team allowed. Players who participated in the MLS Spring Training games at Lockhart Stadium on Tuesday were excused from the exercise, as was Landon Donovan, who joined the squad immediately following a pair of dominating performances with the U.S. Under-20 National Team in World Youth Championship qualifying in Trinidad.
One relatively new face in camp was that of defender Steve Cherundolo, a 22-year-old defender who plays with German club Hannover 96. Cherundolo, who last trained with the full National Team in Claremont, California, before last year?s friendly against Iran, missed a major portion of 2000 (and a chance to go to the Sydney Olympic Games) after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while training in Germany. The California native showed no signs of the injury or the long recovery, and should battle another German club player, Tony Sanneh, for a starting spot on the defense.
Supplanting Sanneh will be no easy task for Cherundolo, as Sanneh has seen more action in qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup than any other player on the U.S. roster (496 minutes in six matches, one minute more than Chris Armas). Sanneh proved his toughness in more than one way in the recent World Cup qualifier against Mexico, playing most of the game with a dislocated bone in his foot and walking out onto the field in the 29-degree Columbus night wearing a short-sleeved uniform top.
One U.S. player who looked sharp in training today was midfielder Eddie Lewis, who scored a long-range bomb in his first training session with the National Team since the September World Cup qualifier against Guatemala in Washington, D.C. That Lewis was even able to stay awake through training was something of an achievement for the 26-year-old Fulham player, as he and his wife, Marisol, recently became parents for the first time. "I wish I could say she's sleeping through the night, but I can't," said Lewis of Giselle Marisol Lewis, who was born on March 3.
The trip to Honduras will mark the Men's National Team's fourth visit to the Central American nation, and the third for a World Cup qualifier. The USA holds a 1-1-1 all-time record in Honduras, with the only loss coming in an international friendly in March 1993. The USA and Honduras have not met at the full international level since December 1994, when Jovan Kirovski tallied for the Americans in a 1-1 draw in Fullerton, California.
The team will resume its preparation for the March 28 match against Honduras on Thursday afternoon with its second training session at Florida Atlantic University. The Honduras match, which will be available to more than 45 million U.S. households via cable pay-per-view, DirecTV and the Dish Network, will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET.