CHICAGO (Feb. 25, 2008) – U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Peter Nowak has named 24 players to participate in the team’s final training camp before 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying. The camp will take place in Bradenton, Fla. from March 1-9, before the final 20-player roster travels to Tampa, the location of the first-round games in the qualifying tournament for Group A.
The final 20-player roster may include players not in the Bradenton training camp, and will be announced prior to the team’s arrival in Tampa on March 9, two days before the U.S. opens the qualifying tournament against Cuba on March 11 at Raymond James Stadium. The U.S. will then face Panama on March 13 at 8 p.m. ET and Honduras on March 13 at 7 p.m. ET.
Group B features Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico facing off on March 12, 14 and 16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. LP Field in Nashville will host the semifinals on Thursday, March 20, and the championship match and third-place game on Sunday, March 23. The tournament will send its two finalists to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each of the eight doubleheaders in the tournament are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 813-287-8844 (Tampa), 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles) or 615-255-9600 (Nashville) and at local Ticketmaster ticket centers in the venue cities (Tampa | Los Angeles | Nashville).
ESPN Deportes will broadcast all 16 matches of the tournament as the exclusive Spanish-language rights holders. In addition, ESPN360.com will also show all 16 games live online, and will have a replay of each game available on demand for 48-hours following its completion. English-language broadcast information will be announced later this week.
"We are very excited to begin the final phase of preparations before the qualifying tournament begins," said Nowak. "The work over the past couple months has been very good. We have confidence in the ability of our group, and we will now spend the next 11 days putting the finishing touches on the roster so we can select the best players to help us achieve the goal of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing."
There are 10 players on the roster who have earned full-team caps, with Benny Feilhaber leading way with 15 total appearances for the senior side, while Eddie Gaven and Sacha Kljestan have five each. Jozy Altidore is coming off of his first start for the MNT, scoring his first goal against Mexico in February.
Altidore was also the fourth-leading scorer at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup last summer, netting four goals in five games. He is among 14 players with Under-20 World Cup experience, including Freddy Adu and Nathan Sturgis, who are veterans of both the 2005 and 2007 tournaments.
Of the 24 players called into camp, seven will join the team from abroad, including Charlie Davies, Kamani Hill and Sal Zizzo, who each earned their first caps with the Men’s National Team in 2007. Hill and Zizzo both ply their trade in Germany, for Vfl Wolfsburg and Hannover 96, respectively, while Davies, who plays in Sweden, is one of two Scandinavian-based players on the roster with goalkeeper Tally Hall, who plays for Esbjerg in Denmark. Along with Feilhaber (England) and Adu (Portugal), Michael Orozco rounds out the foreign contingent, joining the U.S. squad from San Luis in Mexico.
Of the 17 Major League Soccer representatives, Real Salt Lake sends the most to Florida with the trio of Robbie Findley, Chris Seitz and Sturgis. Six teams will each send two players into camp, including the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Houston Dynamo and Toronto FC, while Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy will each send one.
Maurice Edu, who earned 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year honors as a midfielder for Toronto FC, may move into a position on the back line, where he could play beside with Toronto teammate Marvell Wynne, the Dynamo’s Pat Ianni, Orozco or Hill.
The U.S. also boasts a strong selection of midfielders in Arturo Alvarez, Stuart Holden, Feilhaber, Gaven, Kljestan and Dax McCarty, who will prove to be an important link to a powerful attack. Along with Adu and Altidore, the two youngest players on the roster, Chad Barrett, Robbie Findley and Charlie Davies provide Nowak with a number of dangerous options.
Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Dominic Cervi (out of contract), Tally Hall (Esbjerg fB), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hil (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Mike Randolph (LA Galaxy), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Arturo Alvarez (FC Dallas), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)
FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire),
Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)
National Team Staff:
|Head Coach:||Peter Nowak||Naples, Fla.|
|Assistant Coach:||Lubos Kubik||Prague, Czech Rep.|
|Assistant Coach:||Mike Sorber||St. Louis, Ill.|
|Goalkeeper Coach:||Tim Mulqueen||Bradenton, Fla.|
|Team Coordinator:||Alfonso Cerda||Carson, Calif.|
|Team Coordinator:||Jon Fleishman||Pittsburgh, Pa.|
|Equipment Coordinator:||Gabe Vogler||Shoreview, Minn.|
|Athletic Trainer:||Dave Andrews||Gig Harbor, Wash.|
|Athletic Trainer:||Marcus Holliday||Bradenton, Fla.|
|Strength and Conditioning:||Randy Rocha||Washington, D.C.|
|Press Officer||Kate McMaster||Chicago, Ill.|
|Videographer:||Alejandro Becker||Los Angeles, Calif.|