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U.S. Soccer Wire: U-20s Prep for Qualifying Tournament


U-20 MNT ARRIVE IN CARSON, BEGIN TRAINING FOR QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT: The United States Under-20 Men’s National Team arrived in Carson, Calif., on Sunday night as they begin their final training camp before competing in Group A of the U-20 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament at The Home Depot Center from Jan. 12-16. Under-20 head coach Sigi Schmid named the 22 players that will participate in the team’s camp last week, and no changes have been made as every player is healthy and ready to compete for the one of the final 18 spots for the qualifying tournament as the roster will be reduced by four players before their first match. Of the 22 players named to camp, 16 are in college while five are professional players, four of whom play in Major League Soccer – Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars) and Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew). The final professional player is first-choice goalkeeper Quentin Westberg, who plays for ESTAC Troyes in the second division in France. Midfielder Robbie Rogers, who recently had a two-month trial with PSV Eindhoven in Holland, is currently not under contract with any professional team. The U.S. is in Group A along with Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago. The U.S. will open against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. PT before facing Panama on Friday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. PT. The U-20s wrap up the tournament against Costa Rica on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. PT. Fans can follow all three games on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The top two finishers in Carson will advance to the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, which will be held in Holland from June 10-July 2. Tickets ranging in price levels from $10 to $24 are available online at ussoccer.com.
U.S. Under-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Quentin Westberg (ESTAC Troyes), Andrew Kartunen (Stanford), Justin Hughes (UNC); DEFENDERS (7): Greg Dalby (Notre Dame), Hunter Freeman (Virginia), Patrick Ianni (UCLA), Patrick Phelan (Wake Forest), Nathan Sturgis (Clemson), Tim Ward (St. Louis), Marvell Wynne (UCLA); MIDFIELDERS (6): Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Benny Fielhaber (UCLA), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Sacha Kljestan (Seton Hall), Robbie Rogers (Palos Verdes, Calif.), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew); FORWARDS (6): Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Chad Barrett (UCLA), Charlie Davies (Boston College), Will John (St. Louis), Randi Patterson (UNC-Greensboro), Jacob Peterson (Indiana).
U-20 CONCACAF Final Round Schedule
Date    Match-up    Kickoff (PT)
Jan. 12    Costa Rica vs. Panama    5:30 p.m.
Jan. 12    USA vs. T&T    8 p.m.
Jan. 14    T&T vs. Costa Rica    5:30 p.m.
Jan. 14    USA vs. Panama    8 p.m.
Jan. 16    Panama vs. T&T    12 p.m.
Jan. 16    USA vs. Costa Rica    2:30 p.m.

-- FIFA 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --

U.S. MEN TO OPEN HOME QUALIFYING AT BIRMINGHAM’S LEGION FIELD ON MARCH 30: The U.S. Men’s National Team will open its home schedule of the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Kickoff against Guatemala is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and tape delayed on Telemundo. Fans can also follow the match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The match in Birmingham is the first of five qualifiers in this round to be played in the United States, and will follow two road qualifying matches for the USA in Trinidad & Tobago on Feb. 9 and Mexico on March 26 or 27. Ticket information for the game will be announced in January. Guatemala is one of the surprises in the final round, finishing tied on points with Costa Rica at the top of Group 2. Guatemala started out strong in group play, taking seven out of nine points from their first three matches.  Behind the goal-scoring prowess of Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz, Guatemala held on from there to enter the final round of qualifying for the first time in history. Ruiz, the two-time MLS scoring leader, has amassed 50 goals in only three seasons and has proven to be virtually unstoppable at the international level by averaging a goal a game in semifinal round play.  The U.S. will be returning to Birmingham’s Legion Field for the first time since March 10, 2002, when the U.S. defeated Ecuador 1-0 in a World Cup preparation match before 24,133 fans. The team’s only other visit came nearly two years earlier, when the U.S. MNT drew 1-1 with Tunisia in front of 21,637 fans in the team’s first-ever match in Alabama.

U.S. OPENS WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ON FEB. 9 IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: The United States will open its bid to qualify for its fifth consecutive World Cup finals in Trinidad & Tobago on Feb. 9 as the final round draw for 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying was announced on Nov. 30. The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago will compete in the 10-game round-robin format from Feb. 9-Oct. 12, 2005, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.  The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16 against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying.  Drawn as Team 6 in the final round format, the U.S. faces a tricky road to Germany as their first two games will take place on the road.  The U.S. gets its consecutive home dates for Matches 3 & 4 and 6 & 7, and will then face two away matches before concluding final round play in the United States.  Venues for the five home matches for the U.S. will be announced as they become finalized.
2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – CONCACAF Final Round
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Feb. 9           Panama vs. Guatemala 
Feb. 9           Costa Rica vs. Mexico 
Feb. 9           Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA  
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 26/27    Costa Rica vs. Panama
March 26/27    Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago
March 26/27    Mexico vs. USA 
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 30        Panama vs. Mexico   
March 30       USA vs. Guatemala   
March 30        Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 4/5         Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama   
June 4/5         Guatemala vs. Mexico   
June 4/5         USA vs. Costa Rica   
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 8           Panama vs. USA   
June 8            Costa Rica vs. Guatemala   
June 8            Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Aug. 17          Guatemala vs. Panama   
Aug. 17          Mexico vs. Costa Rica   
Aug. 17          USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 3/4        Panama vs. Costa Rica  
Sept. 3/4        Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guatemala
Sept. 3/4        USA vs. Mexico  
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 7          Mexico vs. Panama 
Sept. 7           Guatemala vs. USA  
Sept. 7            Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 8/9          Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Oct. 8/9          Mexico vs. Guatemala 
Oct. 8/9          Costa Rica vs. USA 
Date              Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 12           USA vs. Panama   
Oct. 12           Guatemala vs. Costa Rica
Oct. 12           Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico
 
Playoff (*home team will be determined by lottery at the conclusion of the final round)
Date    Match-up                               
*Nov. 12/13    AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4 
*Nov. 16    AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4

-- U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --

U-18 MNT TO COMPETE IN COPA CHIVAS YOUTH TOURNAMENT IN GUADALAJARA: The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team will get together for the first time in 2005 when they meet at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on Jan. 5 for a few days of training before heading down to Guadalajara, Mexico to compete in the Copa Chivas Youth Tournament. Head coach Bob Jenkins will bring 19 players to the tournament that will include 16 teams, the majority being Mexican club youth teams. The U.S. will play three games in three days, kicking off the tournament against Atlas on Jan. 9 before meeting Chivas La Piedad a day later and finishing against Monterrey on Jan. 11. The top two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, which will take place on Jan. 13. The semifinals will take place on Jan. 14 and the final and third place match on Jan. 15.
U.S. Under-18 MNT Schedule
Date     Opponent
Jan. 9    Atlas
Jan. 10    Chivas La Piedad
Jan. 11    Monterrey
U.S. Under-18 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Marcus Rein (Wake Forest), Stephen Sandbo (SMU); DEFENDERS (5): Pavelid Castenada (Babylon, N.Y.), Greg Folk (UCLA), Robert Rogers (Fairfax, Va.), Karl Schilling (Univ. of Connecticut), Mark Wiltse (Belle Mead, N.J.); MIDFIELDERS (7): Anthony Beltran (Claremont, Calif.), Michael Bradley (MetroStars), Jamie Franks (Medford, N.J.), Sonny Guadarrama (Cedar Park, Texas), Dax McCarty (UNC), Ciaran O'Brien (Tacoma, Wash.), Sal Zizzo (San Diego, Calif.); FORWARDS (5): Ely Allen (Washington), Michele Grella (Glen Cove, N.Y.), Rodrigo Hidalgo (USF), Lee Nguyen (Richardson, Texas), Johann Smith (Bloomfield, Conn.)

U-17 MNT GO UNDEFEATED DURING 2004 DISNEY SOCCER SHOWCASE LAST WEEK: The U.S. Under-17 ’89 MNT went undefeated, going 3-0-2 during five games at the 2004 Disney Soccer Showcase last week in Orlando, Fla. Under-17 head coach John Hackworth used the tournament to look at a number of players who are not yet in U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program, but may get an invitation to join this January, as nearly half of the 20-player roster were with the U-17s for the first time. The Under-17s kicked off the Super Group of the Disney Showcase on Dec. 26 against Benfica, drawing 0-0 with the Portugal youth club team. A day later, the U.S. came away with their first win of the tournament as Cesar Romero finished off a pass from Greg Eckhardt in the 9th minute and Joe Bendik made three saves to hold off Region II (U-17). The U.S. then defeated Region IV 1-0 on Dec. 28 on a goal by Cesar Nunez, who also had the lone U.S. goal a day later as they tied Canada’s Under-17 Men’s National Team 1-1. In their final game of the Showcase, Perica Marosevic scored both goals as the U.S. downed Region III 2-1 on Dec. 30.
U.S. U-17 MNT Results
Date     Opponent     Result     U.S. Goal Scorers
Dec. 26     Benfica     0-0 T
Dec. 27     Region II     1-0 W     Romero
Dec. 28     Region IV     1-0 W     Nunez
Dec. 29     Canada     1-1 T     Nunez
Dec. 30     Region III     2-1 W     Marosevic (2)
U-17 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brian Perk (Santa Margarita, Calif.), Joe Bendik (Atlanta, Ga.); DEFENDERS (6): Jonathan Kluz (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Anthony Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Jonathan Collier (Fayetteville, Ga.), Greg Eckhardt (Orange Park, Fla.), Bryan Arguez (Miami, Fla.), Victor Cortez (San Pablo, Calif.); MIDFIELDERS (5): Kyle Davies (Pleasanton, Calif.), Cameron Brown (Garland, Texas), Justin True (Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Lucas Swertloff (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Gerson Mayen (Los Angeles, Calif.); FORWARDS (7): Michael Stephens (Woodridge, Ill.), Josmer Altidore (Boca Raton, Fla.), Cesar Nunez (Gurnee, Ill.), Perica Marosevic (Rockford, Ill.), Andrew Giallombardo (Manalapan, N.J.), Joseph Sorrentino (Trenton, N.J.), Cesar Romero (San Diego, Calif.)

U-17s KICK OFF YEAR FOR WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAMS: The U.S. U-17s will kick off the 2005 season of activity for the U.S. Women's National Teams programs with an eight-day training camp at the U.S. Soccer National Team Training Center in Carson, Calif., running from Jan. 8-15. The camp will serve as a transition period from former head coach David Smith to new head coach Erika Walsh as 24 players converge on Southern California to begin the new year of training.  Walsh, who was an assistant on the staff of U.S. team that took third at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand, will serve an assistant coach during this camp, but will take over the reins from Smith (who was an assistant on the 2002 U-19 World Championship Team) after this week. It will be Walsh’s first assignment as a head coach for a U.S. Women's National Team.  Following is the roster for the camp feature 24-players, many of whom saw action for the U.S. U-16s or U-17s in 2004:
U-17 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Briana da Mota (Lilburn, Ga.), Chantel Jones (Richmond, Va.), Alyssa Naeher (Stratford, Conn.); DEFENDERS (6): Jane Alukonis (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), Kendall Campise (Plano, Texas), Kasey Johnson (Sierra Madre, Calif.), Sara Murphy (Mendham, N.J.), Lauren Switzer (St. Charles, Ill.), Lauren Wilmoth (Garland, Texas); MIDFIELDERS (7): Carolyn Blank (Toms River, N.J.), Becky Edwards (Downingtown, Pa.), Lauren Fowlkes (Kansas City, Mo.), Ali Hawkins (Encinitas, Calif.), Melissa Hayes (Cave Creek, Ariz.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Kristin Stannard (Midlothian, Va.); FORWARDS (8): Gina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Michelle Enyeart (Hemet, Calif.), Rachel Givan (Ridgeland, Miss.), Christina Hagner (San Francisco, Calif.), Jessica McDonald (Phoenix, Ariz.), Ashley Moore (Clifton Park, N.Y.), Kelly O’Hara, (Fayetteville, Ga.), Nikki Washington (Mesquite, Texas)   

SPECTOR LOAN TO BLACKBURN DELAYED: Jonathan Spector’s loan to Blackburn Rovers was delayed due to several recent injuries at Manchester United, including a John O’Shea thigh injury that will sideline him for two weeks. The U.S. youth international, who earned his first cap with the full Men’s National Team in November, was to be loaned to Blackburn for the rest of the season, but will remain with United to cover left-back Gabriel Heinze. Manchester United officials have said that Spector will still join Rovers before the January transfer window closes at the end of the month.

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

JOHNSON, O’REILLY EARN YOUNG ATHLETE OF THE YEAR HONORS: U.S. Soccer named U.S. Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan as the 2004 Chevy Male Athlete of the Year and U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach as the 2004 Chevy Female Athlete of the Year. The Chevy Athlete of the Year awards have a longer history than any major award in American soccer. Both players become back-to-back winners, having received the honor for the first time in their young careers in 2003. While Wambach joins women’s soccer legends Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Milbrett as back-to-back winners, Donovan becomes the first player in the history of the Male award to win it two years in a row and joins Kasey Keller and Marcelo Balboa as the only players to win the award twice. U.S. Men’s National Team forward Ed Johnson won the Young Male Athlete award, while U.S. Women’s National Team forward Heather O’Reilly was named the Young Female Athlete recipient. As in years past, online votes registered at ussoccer.com were tallied and equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes, while the other 50 percent was represented by 100 votes that were compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives.
2004 Chevrolet Athlete of the Year Award Winners
Male: Landon Donovan
Female: Abby Wambach
Young Male: Ed Johnson
Young Female: Heather O’Reilly
 
2004 OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL CHAMPIONS DOMINATE 2004 “BEST OF…”:  With a historic year that included tears of joy from a dramatic overtime Olympic gold medal finish and tears of sadness from the retirement of a trio of legends, the U.S. Women’s National Team deservedly earned a whopping eight of the 11 “Best of…” U.S. Soccer awards, including Best U.S. Soccer Story, Best Goal, Best Assist and Best Fashion Statement.  The winners of the awards were determined via online voting at ussoccer.com, where people had a chance to vote for one or all of the 11 categories once a day from Nov. 19-Dec. 17.
2004 Best of U.S. Soccer Award Winners
Best Soccer Bar: Ginger’s Ale House (Chicago, Ill.)
Best Soccer Store: Soccer USA (Austin, Texas)
Best U.S. Soccer Story: Hamm, Foudy and Fawcett Finish Legendary WNT Careers
Best Fashion Statement: U.S. Women's National Team's gold medals and Olympic wreaths
Best U.S. Crowd: 14,780 (sell out) – Sept. 25 @ Frontier Field (Rochester, N.Y.) – U.S. WNT 4, Iceland 3
Best Soccer Fans: The Sam's Army contingent in Foxboro, Mass., for the U.S. Men's first home qualifier
Best Goal: Abby Wambach’s skillful flick and volley– U.S. WNT 3, Iceland 0 – Sept. 29
Best Assist: Mia Hamm to Heather O'Reilly – U.S. WNT 2, Germany 1 (OT) – Aug. 23   
Best Late-Game Heroics: Abby Wambach's “golden” game-winning header – U.S. WNT 2, Brazil 1 (2OT) – Aug. 26
Best Game Performance (Player): Mia Hamm’s tireless work all over the field – U.S. WNT 2, Germany 1 (OT) – Aug. 23
Best Game Performance (Team): U.S. WNT 2, Brazil 1 (2OT) – Aug. 26

TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR KOREA REPUBLIC-SWEDEN FRIENDLY AT HDC ON JAN. 22: U.S. Soccer announced that 2002 FIFA World Cup semifinalist Korea Republic will take on 15th-ranked Sweden in an international friendly on Saturday, January 22, 2005 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.  Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.  The second-ever meeting between Korea Republic and Sweden has been scheduled as both sides continue their paths through FIFA World Cup qualifying in their respective regions. Tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $45 are on sale now through Ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also on sale by phone (213-480-3232 in L.A.; 714-740-2000 in Orange County; 619-220-8497 in San Diego), and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Southern California (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records), and at The Home Depot Center ticket office. Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. MNT midfielder Eddie Lewis had a productive week for Preston North End, most recently setting up a pair of goals by Richard Cresswell in 3-2 victory over Sunderland on January 1. Four days earlier, Lewis had a goal and an assist in a 3-0 victory over Reading. Lewis scored all four of his league goals in his last 11 games for PNE, which is ninth in the English League Championship with 42 points.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: A total of 66 players have punched their ticket to attend the MLS Combine at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. from January 8-11 to compete for spots in the MLS SuperDraft (Jan. 14). Julian Nash, the leading scorer in the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with four goals and two assists for the Chicago Fire Reserves, is among the field of players. Overall, 43 of the players scheduled to attend played for teams in the Premier Development League during their careers. From Alabama A&M to UW-Milwaukee, 47 different colleges will be represented including Jay Nolly and Danny O’Rourke from NCAA Division I champion Indiana.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Real Madrid has named Brazilian Vanderlei Luxemburgo the club’s third head coach this season as the team sits fifth in La Liga, 13 points out of first place. Luxemburgo won five championships with four Brazilian clubs, but also has been followed by controversy and was relieved of his duties of Brazil’s national team after World Cup qualifying losses to Chile and Paraguay and an Olympic defeat to a nine-man Cameroon side at the 2000 Sydney Games.

QUOTABLE: "I’m a star."
        -- Vanderlei Luxemburgo after winning the Brazilian champion with Santos last year. He joined the ‘galacticos’ at Real Madrid this week as the club’s new head coach.

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