CHICAGO (Thursday, January 22, 2004) — U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Glenn “Mooch” Myernick announced a 22-player roster that will travel down to Guadalajara, Mexico, this afternoon in advance of the 2004 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament from Feb. 2-12. The team will train for seven days before Myernick must cut down the roster to 20 players by the Jan. 31 deadline imposed by CONCACAF.
“It’s been a two-year process in which I’ve learned a lot about this pool of players, and overall I think it’s a very talented pool,” said Myernick, who took over the team in January 2002. “Maybe we’re not as experienced in some areas as others, but they’re still a very capable team.”
“Tournaments of this nature have proved in the past that the entire roster will be tested at one point or another, and I’m pleased that we’ll have 10 more days of training prior to our first game to continue our preparation,” added Myernick, who led the team to a 4-0-2 international record in 2003.
The U.S. U-23s will first face Panama on Tuesday, Feb. 3, followed by matches against Canada on Thursday, Feb. 5 and Honduras on Saturday, Feb. 7. All three U.S. opening round matches in Group A will be played at the 10,000-seat Estadio Tres de Marzo (in the Zapopan area of Guadalajara) and kickoff at 8 p.m. (local/CT). U.S. games can be followed by fans live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
The tournament opens on Feb. 2 with Group B action featuring Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the host nation at Estadio Jalisco. The top two teams from each group will meet in the single-elimination semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Estadio Jalisco, with the winner of Group A meeting the second-place team from Group B, and the winner of Group B meeting the second-place team from Group A. The two semi-final winners will earn automatic berths to Athens 2004 and meet in the final on Feb. 12.
The U.S. roster is led by current U.S. Men’s National Team stars Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire) and Bobby Convey (D.C. United), all of whom played in a 1-1 draw with Denmark on Jan. 18 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Donovan, who was honored with the 2003 Chevrolet Male Athlete of the Year award on Jan. 16 as the top men’s player in U.S. Soccer, scored the long goal for the U.S. on a penalty kick in the 76th minute.
The trio of experienced midfielders, along with defensive midfielder Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids), all hail from the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team that finished an impressive fourth at the FIFA U-17 World Championship at New Zealand ’99. Donovan and Beasley took the top two individual honors in that tournament, winning the Golden Ball and Silver Ball, respectively.
Donovan was a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team that exceeded expectations and advanced to the medal round and a record fourth-place finish in Sydney. The 21-year-old San Jose Earthquakes forward, who was just 18 at the time, scored the clinching goal in the 88th minute of a 3-1 win over Kuwait that helped the U.S. not only advance to the second round for the first time in history, but win Group C with a 1-0-2 record. Earlier that year, Beasley was a part of the U.S. team that posted a 2-1-1 record and finished second at the 2000 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Hershey, Pa., earning one of two CONCACAF berths for the Olympics.
Also featured on the travel roster are the team’s three leading scorers in 2003 in forwards David Testo (Richmond Kickers), Edson Buddle (Columbus Crew) and Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United). Testo, who led the USA with eight points (3 g, 2 a) last year, earned A-League Rookie of the Year honors with six goals and two assists last year. Buddle, who finished 11th in MLS scoring with 10 goals and four assists, finished second on the U-23s with seven points (3 g, 1 a), including two goals in the team’s 6-0 win over St. Kitts & Nevis on Nov. 15. Eskandarian, the 2003 MLS SuperDraft #1 pick, finished third on the team with six points (2 g, 2 a).
Buddle is joined on the roster by three other players who now call Columbus, Ohio, home. Joining veteran midfielder Kyle Martino, the Crew also boast a pair of U-23 defenders and recent 2004 MLS SuperDraft picks in Chad Marshall and Chris Wingert. Marshall, who helped the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team finish fifth at the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates in December, was selected with the second overall pick in the draft behind only 14-year-old phenom Freddy Adu (D.C. United). Wingert, who was named the 2003 M.A.C./Hermann Trophy award winner on Jan. 9 as the nation’s top Division I men’s college soccer player, was picked 12th overall by the Crew after helping the St. John’s Red Storm to the NCAA championship game, where they fell 2-1 to Indiana.
Marshall’s Under-20 teammate Zak Whitbread (Liverpool – England) receives just his second call to the U-23 camp, having previously played with the team in two games of a four-game tour of England in August 2002 in which they U.S. went 4-0-0 against English First Division and English Premier League reserve clubs.
U.S. U-20 MNT leading scorer Ed Johnson (Dallas Burn) rejoins the U-23s after being sent home five days into the team’s two-week training camp at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif., due to a viral infection closely associated with influenza (flu). Johnson scored four goals and added one assist at UAE ‘03, becoming the first U.S. player to claim Golden Boot honors in a major world championship.
Notably absent from the Olympic Qualifying roster are Belgium-based defender Oguchi Onyewu (R.A.A. Louviere) and German-based forward Conor Casey (F.C. Karlsruher), who were forced to remain in Europe with their club teams.
“Both players are significant components in the pool; unfortunately, FIFA rules and their relationship to international fixture dates prevented them from being a part of this squad.” said Myernick, who led the team to a 2-1 comeback win over C.D. Aguila of El Salvador at East L.A. College on Jan. 16 in the team’s first exhibition match of 2004. “While I believe that they can possibly help us in the future, I have all the confidence in the world in this team to get the job done.”
The U.S. Under-23 MNT began the road to the 2004 Olympics in November, when they defeated the Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts & Nevis in the second round of CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying by an aggregate score of 10-0 in a home-and-home series after receiving a bye in the first round.
U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Roster
|Beasley, DaMarcus||M||5’9”||135||05/24/82||Fort Wayne, Ind.||Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|Beckerman, Kyle||M||5’10”||160||04/03/82||Crofton, Md.||Colorado Rapids (MLS)|
|Borchers, Nat||D||6’2”||175||04/13/81||Pueblo, Colo.||Colorado Rapids (MLS)|
|Buddle, Edson||F||6’1”||185||05/02/81||New Rochelle, N.Y.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|Burciaga, Jose Luis||D||6’1”||170||11/16/81||Duncanville, Texas||Kansas City Wizards (MLS)|
|Carroll, Brian||M||5’10”||155||07/20/81||Springfield, Va.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|Convey, Bobby||M||5’9”||160||05/27/83||Philadelphia, Pa.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|Countess, D.J.||GK||6’1”||185||01/09/82||Sacramento, Calif.||Dallas Burn (MLS)|
|Davis, Brad||M||5’11”||165||11/08/81||St. Charles, Mo.||Dallas Burn (MLS)|
|Donovan, Landon||F||5’9”||155||03/04/82||Redlands, Calif.||San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)|
|Eskandarian, Alecko||F||5’9”||165||07/09/82||Montvale, N.J.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|Gaven, Eddie||M||6’0”||165||10/25/86||Hamilton, N.J.||MetroStars (MLS)|
|Johnson, Ed||M/F||6’0”||180||03/31/84||Palm Coast, Fla.||Dallas Burn (MLS)|
|Lewis, Ricky||D||6’0”||170||05/29/82||Spring, Texas||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)|
|Marshall, Chad||D||6’4”||190||08/22/84||Riverside, Calif.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|Martino, Kyle||M||5’10”||150||02/19/81||Westport, Conn.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|Pause, Logan||M||5’10”||160||08/22/81||Hillsborough, N.C.||Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|Stokes, David||D||6’3”||195||05/28/82||Dumfries, Va.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|Testo, David||F||5’10”||160||08/07/81||Arden, N.C.||Richmond Kickers (A-League)|
|Warren, Doug||GK||6’0”||190||03/18/81||Hoffman Estates, Ill.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|Whitbread, Zak||D||6’3”||180||01/10/84||Liverpool, England||Liverpool Reserves (England)|
|Wingert, Chris||D||5’10”||160||06/16/82||Babylon, N.Y.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Staff -
Head Coach: Glenn “Mooch” Myernick
Assistant Coach: Thomas Rongen
Assistant Coach: Curt Onalfo
Goalkeeper Coach: Tim Mulqueen
Team Coordinator: R.J. Noto
Trainers: David Andrews & Scott Piehl
Massage Therapist: Adam Parrett
Equipment Manager: John McDonald
Press Officer: Bryan Chenault