"This young, exciting team has cast a spell over the fans and media who have been fortunate enough to watch them play", said U.S. Soccer's Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher. "It's a testament to how far we have developed as a soccer playing nation to be able to stage games with our Youth National Teams, and I know that the Tampa Bay fans who come out to catch this team will not be disappointed."
The USA recently qualified for the '99 FIFA U-17 World Championship to be hosted by New Zealand, November 10-27, after defeating El Salvador in the CONCACAF home-and-home playoff series by a combined score of 10-1. The winner of the playoff series was determined by total goals scored during the two matches. In the first match the USA defeated El Salvador 6-1 on May 9 in San Salvador. The U-17s then shutout El Salvador 0-4, on May 22 in the first-ever international match at the new Columbus Crew Stadium. Mexico and Jamaica will join the USA as the three countries representing CONCACAF at the youth championship.
England is an opponent the USA played twice in '98 at the ARCO Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The USA defeated England 4-1 on June 23 but fell to the English 2-3, three days later on June 26.
England competed in the 1999 UEFA U-17 Qualifying Tournament for New Zealand last month hosted by the Czech Republic. England beat Sweden (2-1), Slovakia (3-1) and tied Hungary (1-1) to win Group B and advance to the quarterfinals of the UEFA tournament before being knocked out of the qualifying tournament with a 0-1 loss to the Czech Republic.
U.S. U-17 head coach John Ellinger will enter the June 27 match with the highest winning percentage (.705) among U.S. U-17 National Team coaches in the '90s with a 21-7-6 record. The USA has not lost since Aug. 30, 1998 posting a 10-0-3 record, outscoring their last thirteen opponents 40-4 with nine shutouts and a 0.53 goals against average.
The $168.5 million Raymond James Stadium, which opened on Sept. 20, 1998 is the home field to the Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), the University of South Florida, the Outback Bowl, Pace MotorSports and American Invitational. The stadium has seating capacity of 66,321, a natural grass surface and amenities ranging from club/lounge seating to luxury suites.
For ticket information for the USA-England doubleheader match at Raymond James Stadium on June 27 please contact the Tampa Bay Mutiny at 813/289-6811.