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U.S. Under-17 MNT Notes/Q and A with Eddie Gaven

U.S. Under-17 MNT
Minnesota Training Camp/Match vs. Canada
Bloomington, Minnesota
July 10, 2003

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team arrived in Bloomington, Minn. on Tuesday (July 8) and have conducted training sessions the past three days as it gets prepared to face Canada in an exhibition match this Sunday (July 13) at 7:30 p.m. CT at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

BACK TOGETHER AGAIN: When the players arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Tuesday morning it was the first time they were together since returning from Busan, South Korea, where they took second in the Busan International Youth Tournament in early June. The players had the month off and most went home to relax, while Guillermo Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy) and Eddie Gaven (MetroStars) joined their new MLS clubs, getting their first starts as a professional. Check out a Q and A with Gaven below as he talks about his time with the MetroStars and his first career goal he notched in overtime against D.C. United on July 6 to give his team a 3-2 victory.
U.S. Under-17 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Phil Marfuggi (West Windsor, N.J.), Quentin Westberg (Saint Cloud, France); DEFENDERS (6): Adrian Chevannes (Ft. Worth, Texas), Kyle Helton (Alpharetta, Ga.), Brandon Owens (Murrieta, Calif.), Jonathan Spector (Arlington Heights, Ill.), Chris Germani (Yardley, Pa.), Steven Curfman (Raleigh, N.C.); MIDFIELDERS (6): John DiRaimondo (St. Louis, Mo.), Corey Ashe (Virginia Beach, Va.), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Jose Gomez (Inglewood, Calif.), Brian Grazier (Edwardsville, Ill.), Guillermo Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy); FORWARDS (4): Freddy Adu (Potomac, Md.), Michael Harrington (Greenville, S.C.), Jacob Peterson (Portage, Mich.), Jamie Watson (Coppell, Texas).

THE TRAINING SITE: The U.S. U-17 MNT has been training at the stadium field at Macalester College in St. Paul. Macalester is a private undergraduate liberal arts college with an enrollment of around 1,800 students. The Division III college has 21 sports teams (10 men, 11 women) and play in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

While Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it has been the water from above that has been prevalent during the last couple days of training for the U.S. Under-17s. The weather has gotten increasingly worse during the team’s first three days of training, going from dry on Tuesday, to a slight drizzle on Wednesday, to a continuous downpour today. Despite the rain and a bit of rustiness, the players have had spirited practices each day at Macalester College. Today, the team went through an hour-long training session. Under the watchful eye of head coach John Ellinger the team played a game of possession and finished with a half-field scrimmage on full-sized goals. Gaven had the goal of the day, knocking in a beautiful header into the top-right hand corner of the goal past Quentin Westberg.

Stephen Hart, the head coach of Canada’s Under-17 Men’s National Team, has brought an 18-man roster for the game against the U.S. in Blaine, Minn.
Canada U-17 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Robert Giacomi, Dan Pelc; DEFENDERS (7): Trevor Delpippo, Myles Davis, Andrew Hainault, Vince Stewart, David Edgar, Rob Orefice, Graham Ramalho; MIDFIELDERS (6): Tyler Rosenlund, Derek Rios, Marcel DeJong, Michael Luk, Gabriel Seguin-Gauthier, Daniel Nielson; FORWARDS (3): Andrea Lombardo, Cam Wilson, Brad Peetoom.

Tickets are still available for U.S.-Canada U-17 game on Sunday and can be purchased by calling the Minnesota Thunder at 763-785-3668 or by visiting

THE MALL IS HOW BIG?: Being only a short hotel shuttle ride away from the Mall of America, the players have gotten the chance to scour the largest shopping and entertainment complex in U.S. and take in a couple movies the past two days. The 4.2 million square foot mall has amazed the players along with the fact that inside it has a seven-acre enclosed theme park – even though no one has gone on one of the multiple rides yet.

MAKING AN IMPACT IN THE BIG APPLE: While the majority of his U-17 MNT teammates got to go home and relax for the month of June, 6-foot, 180 pound forward Eddie Gaven went straight to New York to train with the MetroStars. After only about three weeks with the team he got his first career start and first career goal. On June 14, Gaven started for the MetroStars against the Chicago Fire, becoming the youngest player in MetroStars history to play for the MetroStars at 16 years, 232 days, and the second youngest player in MLS history. He set another club record when he notched his game-winning goal on July 6, becoming the youngest player in MetroStars history to score, at 16 years, 253 days, breaking fellow teammate Mike Magee’s record which he had set earlier this season. He also became the second youngest player in Major League Soccer history to score a goal, behind D.C. United Santino Quaranta who scored when he was 16 years, 217 days old. Gaven expressed what it has been like during his whirlwind three weeks in the MLS.

How was your time with the MetroStars over the past month?

Gaven: It’s been great. It was tough at first to adjust because the atmosphere in the locker room was a little weird because I didn’t really know anyone. But all the guys took me in, so now I feel like one of the guys. It’s definitely helped me with my game. The speed of play is a lot faster because guys are quicker, stronger and faster, so you have to play a lot quicker.

What was your first start like?

Gaven: Coach Bob (Bradley) told me on Friday at training (that I would be starting) and the game was on Saturday, the next day. I was definitely very nervous beforehand because it was my first professional game. I was a little shaky when the game first started. Some of my touches were off, but as the game went on I think I got a little bit more confidence in there. I had a couple good chances to score, but just wasn’t able to get a goal.

Talk about the goal you did get in your next game against D.C. United. How did it feel to get your first professional goal?

Gaven: Amado (Guevara) gave me a ball about 40-yards out on the left side and I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left so I dribbled in towards goal. Ryan Nelsen was on my right side, but luckily I got the shot off before he had the chance to slide in and it went in. At first when I scored I didn’t even realize it was the game-winning goal. When I turned around I saw the bench clearing and I was like, ‘oh, man, that was the game-winning goal.’ It was great. All the guys mobbed me and told me congratulations. It was just a great feeling. Always your job as a forward is to score, so it definitely helped to get that first goal. It takes a lot of the burden off and now I can just go out and play and not have the pressure of always scoring.

You got in on a goalie substitution (Gaven came in at the beginning of extra-time for Mark Lisi after he had moved between the posts and Tim Howard into the field during the changeover). Did you even think you were going to play against D.C.?

Gaven: We had used up all three of our subs, so I was warming up and I went and sat down. Then coach (Bob Bradley) came over to me and told me to still warm up because there was a chance I could still get in with this weird rule. And then when he told me how I was going to go in at goalie, I was like, "Please don’t let the ball go near me." But everything worked out well. I was only in goal for like 30 seconds, but I had the gloves, jersey and everything.

What’s the transition like jumping from the MetroStars back to the Under-17s?

Gaven: Right now my main focus is this team. I’m obviously going to follow the MetroStars and see how they do. But my main focus if with this team right now and hopefully win the World Championship.

What did your U-17 MNT teammates say when you arrived in Minnesota?

Gaven: All the guys have been great and they saw it on TV. They all said congratulations and joked with me about playing goalie. It’s nice to know I have the support of my teammates.