CHICAGO (Feb. 23, 2009) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has named 20 players who will compete for the 2009 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, from March 6-15 in Trinidad & Tobago. The tournament will qualify four teams to the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, which will take place from Sept. 24-Oct. 16 in Egypt.
The U.S. will come together in Bradenton, Fla., on Feb. 24 for five days of training before traveling on March 2 to Bacolet, Tobago, site of the USA’s three group games. The U-20s will have four days of final preparation leading into the opening game of the tournament.
Of the 20 players on the qualifying roster, nine are currently professionals, with six in Major League Soccer and three overseas. The roster also features three players who were part of the U.S. team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada in midfielder Bryan Arguez, goalkeeper Brian Perk and defender Anthony Wallace.
“We’ve put a lot of preparation into the CONCACAF Championship and we feel we’ve chosen the best possible players who will help us qualify for Egypt,” said Rongen. “We have 20 players who have shown dedication to the difficult task of qualifying and have proven themselves during the past two years through training camps and international games.”
A total of eight teams will compete in the CONCACAF event, which is being held in a championship format for the first time since 1996. The U.S. was drawn into Group A for the tournament along with El Salvador, Jamaica and either Honduras or St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Group B includes Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the U-20 World Cup. The top two teams will also move on to the semifinals of the regional championship, which will be played on March 13 at Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad. The third-place match and final will be played on March 15 at the same location.
The U.S. will open its qualifying campaign on Friday, March 6, taking on Jamaica at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago at 7 p.m. local time (6 p.m. ET). Rongen’s squad will face either Honduras or St. Vincent & the Grenadines on March 8 at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. ET) and round out group play against El Salvador on Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. ET). The U.S. will learn its second opponent when Honduras and St. Vincent & the Grenadines square off in a playoff game on March 2.
The three U-20 veterans on the roster provide Rongen with valuable experience, starting in goal with Perk, who proved his worth in 2007 when he made seven saves in a Round of 16 win against Uruguay in place of an injured Chris Seitz, and has earned his spot as the No. 1 ‘keeper. Wallace, despite being one of the youngest players on the 2007 roster, started four matches, including both games in the knockout phase. He is the leading U-20 cap winner on the team, having represented the U.S. 17 times at this age level including four appearances at the 2007 U-20 World Cup in Canada. Though Arguez did not see game action in Canada, he is second on the team with 10 international appearances leading into the qualifying tournament.
The U.S. attack will be fueled by FC Dallas rookie Peri Marosevic, who led the U.S. in 2008 with four goals, including two against Mexico in a July 11 meeting in Laredo, Texas. He will be joined by a trio of collegiate forwards in Sam Garza, Billy Schuler and Tony Taylor. Garza, a University of Denver standout, made his only international appearance of 2008 worthwhile, going the full 90 minutes and scoring the only goal of the game against Canada on Dec. 22 in Sunrise, Fla. Taylor is also a relative newcomer to the national team system. Schuler is one of five veterans of the U.S. team that advanced to the Round of the 16 at the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the Korea Republic on the roster along with U.S. teammates Danny Cruz, Jared Jeffrey, Josh Lambo and Brek Shea.
The midfield includes four professional players in Hertha Berlin’s Arguez, Houston Dynamo’s Cruz, Club Brugge’s Jeffrey and FC Dallas’ Shea. Shea contributed three international goals from his wide midfield spot in 2008, while Cruz added a pair. Dilly Duka, led Rutgers University as a sophomore with 17 points in 17 games while fellow college standout Brian Ownby made 19 appearances and 14 starts for the University of Virginia to earn a place on the ACC All-Freshman team in 2008.
Joining Wallace on the backline will be Southampton’s Kyle Davies, converted forward Jorge Flores from Chivas USA and former U-17 Residency players Gale Agbossoumonde, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams.
Perk leads the goalkeeping corps that includes Lambo, twice named Man of the Match for the U-17s in the Korea Republic and the only professional goalkeeper on the roster, and the University of Central Florida’s Sean Johnson.
Notre Dame defender Aaron Maund will also be joining the team for training in Bradenton, but his addition to the final roster depends on whether he receives approval from FIFA to play for the United States after requesting for a change in national association. Maund, who has dual citizenship with the U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago, played in all three games for T&T in the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Maund has submitted the necessary paperwork to change his national association to the United States and U.S. Soccer is awaiting FIFA’s decision. The final roster is required to be submitted to CONCACAF 48 hours before the opening game against Jamaica. If a decision is not reached by FIFA before that time, Rongen will name a replacement to the 20-player roster.
The U.S. will be looking to qualify for their record seventh-straight FIFA Under-20 World Cup. In 2005 and 2007, when CONCACAF qualifying was held as two groups at two separate venues, the U.S. has won their group. In the previous three editions in 1999, 2001 and 2003, the U.S. qualified for the World Cup as the second-place finisher in their respective group.
The four CONCACAF teams will be the last qualifiers for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup as 20 other countries have already booked their place in Egypt. Asia will send four representatives in Australia, Korea Republic, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan. Africa will have five teams in the tournament, including the hosts, as Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have qualified. The 2008 U-19 European Championship served as the tournament that saw the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Spain qualify. Oceania sends Tahiti to their first ever world championship, while Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela will represent South America.
|Agbossoumonde, Gale||D||6-2||185||11/17/91||Syracuse, N.Y.||unattached|
|Arguez, Bryan||M||6-2||175||01/13/89||Miami, Fla.||Hertha Berlin (Germany)|
|Cruz, Danny||M||5-8||180||01/03/90||Glendale, Ariz.||Houston Dynamo|
|Davies, Kyle||D||5-10||160||04/11/89||Danville, Calif.||Southampton FC (England)|
|Duka, Dilly||M||5-9||160||09/15/89||Montville, N.J.||Rutgers University|
|Flores, Jorge||D||5-11||150||09/16/89||Anaheim, Calif.||Chivas USA|
|Garza, Sam||F||5-10||165||10/17/89||Highland Village, Texas||University of Denver|
|Jeffrey, Jared||M||5-10||160||06/14/90||Richardson, Texas||Club Brugge (Belgium)|
|Johnson, Sean||GK||6-4||220||05/31/89||Lilburn, Ga.||University of Central Florida|
|Lambo, Josh||GK||6-0||205||11/19/90||Middleton, Wis.||FC Dallas|
|Marosevic, Peri||F||5-9||160||05/05/89||Rockford, Ill.||FC Dallas|
|Maund, Aaron||D||6-2||175||09/19/90||Dorchester, Mass.||Notre Dame|
|Okugo, Amobi||D||5-11||165||03/13/91||Sacramento, Calif.||San Juan Lightning Crew|
|Ownby, Brian||M||5-11||160||07/16/90||Glen Allen, Va.||University of Virginia|
|Perk, Brian||GK||5-11||180||07/21/89||Rancho Sta. Margarita, Calif.||UCLA|
|Shea, Brek||M||6-3||180||02/28/90||College Station, Texas||FC Dallas|
|Schuler, Billy||F||5-11||155||04/27/90||Allentown, N.J.||University of North Carolina|
|Taylor, Tony||F||6-0||175||07/13/89||Jacksonville, Fla.||Jacksonville University|
|Wallace, Anthony||D||5-11||165||01/26/89||St. Petersburg, Fla.||FC Dallas|
|Williams, Sheanon||D||5-11||165||03/17/90||Boston, Mass.||unattached|
U.S. Under-20 MNT Roster by Position
2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship
Feb. 24-March 15
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (University of Central Florida; Lilburn, Ga.), Josh Lambo (FC Dallas; Middleton, Wis.), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (7): Gale Agbossoumonde (Unattached; Syracuse, N.Y.), Kyle Davies (Southampton; Danville, Calif.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame; Dorchester, Mass.), Amobi Okugo (San Juan Lightning; Sacramento, Calif.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (Unattached; Boston)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin; Miami), Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz.), Dilly Duka (Rutgers University; Montville, N.J.), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge; Richardson, Texas), Brian Ownby (University of Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.); Brek Shea (FC Dallas; College Station, Texas)
FORWARDS (4): Sam Garza (University of Denver; Highland Village, Texas), Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas; Rockford, Ill.), Billy Schuler (University ofNorth Carolina; Allentown, N.J.), Tony Taylor (Jacksonville University; Jacksonville, Fla.)
National Team Staff
|Head Coach:||Thomas Rongen||Sewalls Point, Fla.|
|Assistant Coach:||Dave Dir||Dallas, Texas|
|Assistant Coach:||Brian Maisonneuve||Louisville, Ky.|
|Assistant Coach:||Juan Carlos Michia||Miami, Fla.|
|Goalkeeper Coach:||Tim Mulqueen||Lakewood Ranch, Fla.|
|Team Coordinator:||John Fleishman||Redondo Beach, Calif.|
|Equipment Coordinator:||Beto Cuevas||Redondo Beach, Calif.|
|Athletic Trainer:||John Dunham||Lawrenceville, Ga.|
|Massage Therapist:||Marcus Holliday||Bradenton, Fla.|
|Team Doctor:||Mel Hayashi||Thousand Oaks, Calif.|
|Security Officer:||Butch Hummel||St. Cloud, Fla.|
|Videographer:||Jesse Kennedy||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Press Officer:||Kate McMaster||Chicago, Ill.|