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U.S. U-23 MNT Arrives in Toulon, France, for Toulon International Tournament

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team
Toulon International Tournament
Toulon, France
May 16, 2008

BONJOUR TOULON: Most of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team’s 22-player roster has arrived in Toulon five days ahead of its opening match of the Toulon International Tournament in Toulon, France. About half of the players arrived on Thursday afternoon, with a few more trickling in Thursday night. The rest of players will be arriving over the course of the weekend after finishing up club obligations, with everyone expected in France by Saturday night. The U.S. will kick off the tournament against Turkey on May 21 at 3:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET). The U.S. will also play Ivory Coast on May 23 and Italy on May 25 in Group B play. All 16 matches of the tournament, including 14 live broadcasts, will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel.

U.S. U-23 MNT Group B Schedule
Date Opponent Venue Kickoff (Local/TV)
May 21 Turkey Toulon 3:30 p.m. / 9:30 a.m. ET
May 23 Ivory Coast La Seyne 6:30 p.m. / 12:30 p.m. ET
May 25 Italy La Vallette 6 p.m. / 12 p.m. ET

A CLOSER LOOK: Head coach Peter Nowak’s 22-player roster is made up of three players - Dominic Cervi, Kamani Hill and Chris Seitz - who were part of the USA’s successful qualifying campaign in March, while Bryan Arguez, Kyle Davies, Ellis McLoughlin and Brek Shea are also eligible for the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Overall, there are representatives from eight leagues around the world, including 11 from Major League Soccer, on the U.S. team in Toulon.

Roster by Position (Detailed Roster):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Dominic Cervi (out of contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake), Quentin Westburg (ESTAC Troyes)
DEFENDERS (10): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Eric Brunner (out of contract), Kyle Davies (Southampton), Michael Gavin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Jonathan Leathers (Kansas City Wizards), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Julian Valentin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Rob Valentino (New England Revolution), Blake Wagner (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin), Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Greg Dalby (SC Charleroi), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Lee Nguyen (Randers FC)
FORWARDS (4): Gabe Ferrari (Sampdoria), Bryan Jordan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ellis McLoughlin (Hertha Berlin), Sammy Ochoa (Tecos)

DOUBLE DUTY: Three players from Nowak’s roster have also been selected as part of Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley’s 33-player pool for the upcoming trio of blockbuster friendlies against England, Spain and Argentina. Cervi, Benny Feilhaber and Seitz could possibly join the MNT at various times throughout the upcoming weeks. The friendly schedule kicks off with a trip to famed Wembley Stadium for a May 28 clash with England, then moves to the continent where the U.S. will meet fourth-ranked Spain on June 4 at the Estadio El Sardinero in Santander before heading back across the Atlantic to face No. 1-ranked Argentina on June 8.

OLYMPIC FORESHADOWING: Group A of the tournament features France along with Chile, the Netherlands and Japan. The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals on May 27, and either the third-place match or final on May 29. Japan and the Netherlands have both been drawn into the USA’s Group D at the 2008 Olympic Games, along with Nigeria. Both teams will be sending Under-23 squads to Toulon. With several Under-23 squads at the Toulon tournament, the U.S. could end up facing a team similar to one it could face in the Olympics.

Toulon International Tournament Schedule
Group A Schedule

Date Matchup Venue Kickoff (Local/TV)
May 20 Japan vs. Netherlands Toulon 6 p.m. / 12 p.m. ET
May 20 France vs. Chile Toulon 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET
May 22 France vs. Japan Hyeres 6 p.m. / 12 p.m. ET
May 22 Netherlands vs. Chile Hyeres 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET
May 24 France vs. Netherlands Saint Cyr 6:30 p.m. / 12:30 p.m. ET
May 24 Chile vs. Japan Sollies-Pont 6:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET**

Group B Schedule

Date Match Venue Kickoff (Local / TV)
May 21 Turkey vs. United States Toulon 3:30 p.m. / 9:30 a.m. ET
May 21 Ivory Coast vs. Italy Toulon 6 p.m. / 12 p.m. ET
May 23 Ivory Coast vs. United States La Seyne 6:30 p.m. / 12:30 p.m. ET
May 23 Italy vs. Turkey La Seyne 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET
May 25 Italy vs. United States La Vallette 6 p.m. / 12 p.m. ET
May 25 Ivory Coast vs. Turkey Aubagne 6 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET**

**Game to be televised on tape delay

HISTORY IN TOULON: The U.S. is participating in the Toulon International Tournament for the eighth time, but for the first time since 2001 when the team finished in fifth place. The best finish by an American team was in 1989 when Marcelo Balboa, Kasey Keller and Eric Wynalda lead the team to a third-place finish. Other Americans who have played in the prestigious tournament include Brad Friedel (1990, 1991, 1992), Claudio Reyna (1991, 1992), Cobi Jones (1992), Josh Wolff (1997) and Oguchi Onyewu (2000). In 1997, Wolff was one of three players who led the tournament in scoring with five goals. He shared the Golden Boot Award that year with Portugal’s Carlitos and France’s Thierry Henry.

U.S. Past Finishes in Toulon

Year Finish
1989 Third
1990 Eighth
1991 Fifth
1992 Fifth
1994 Eighth
1997 Fifth
2001 Fifth

TRAINING IN THE RAIN: The team began its preparations for Turkey despite the rain, which has varied from drizzle to downpour in the team’s first full day in France. The weather is supposed to clear up by Sunday, in plenty of time for the opening games of the tournament on Tuesday, May 20. Meantime, the team has been alternating training on the field with lifting weights and working out indoors at “Palace of Sport” in Toulon.

NEW GEAR: The U-23 MNT has officially become the first youth national team to get their hands on new Nike training gear that has so far only been worn by the Men's National Team. The team will also be training with the new Nike Omni balls and wearing the new uniforms sported by the MNT throughout the tournament.

UN BLOG EST UN BLOG: Even in French, a blog is still a blog. The YNT Blog is back in action, with insider info, exclusive photos and interviews and all the happenings of the Toulon International. To get in with the blog-crowd, check out