Four U.S. Youth National Teams Set for U.S. Soccer Festival in Rhode Island, July 31 to August 6
The fifth annual tournament will also include men's and women's teams from all four USASA regions along with Canada's Under-20 Men's National Team and the California Storm of the Women's Professional Soccer League (WPSL).
The featured match of the tournament will pit the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team against border rival Canada on Friday, August 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Leading the way for the U-20s will be future 2000 Olympians Damarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire -- MLS) and Conor Casey (University of Portland). The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team heads into the Festival with an 15-7-8 overall record which includes a recent second place finish at the Monthey Tournament held in Monthey, Switzerland, June 7-11. U.S. U-20 head coach Wolfgang Suhnholz is in early preparations for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship to be hosted by Argentina in late Spring.
Earlier this year the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team took second place at the Albena Cup in Varna, Bulgaria, when the Americans came out on the short end of a penalty kick shoot-out to the Ukrainian Women's National Team. The USA was the only youth national team in the tournament with all other nations sending their full national teams. The USA had won its group to earn a berth in the semifinals with a 2-0 victory over Scotland, a 2-1 win over Ukraine and a 6-1 thumping of Moldova. The U-18s advanced to the finals after beating hosts Bulgaria 4-3 on penalty kicks. The Albena Cup was just the second international trip for the U-18 women in their short two- year history and marked the first international matches for new U-18 head coach Steve Swanson.
The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team will be looking to improve on their 9-5-1 overall record this year. In last year's tournament the U-18s finished the tournament by defeating the Oregon State Select Team, 4-0, to finish with a 2-1-1 record.
The U.S. Under-16 Girls National team, coached by Tracey Leone, finished fifth at their last competition, the United States Youth Soccer Association's International Tournament in May. Look to the U-16s to come out and better last year's performance where the team finished with a 0-3-1 record.
The U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival was originally conceived when the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) discontinued the staging of their annual Sports Festival in 1995. The U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival, which is sponsored and organized by the USASA, has incorporated the concept used in the U.S. Sports Festival and has expanded it to also include several U.S. National Teams.
The first U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival was held in San Antonio in August of 1996, with the tournament moving on to Blaine, Minn., in 1997 and Manchester, N.H., in 1998.
The U.S. teams have been placed into one of two groups of four on the both the men's and women's sides with each U.S. National team playing a total of four games. U.S. Youth National Team updates and scores will be available online at www.us-soccer.com.