CHICAGO (May 23, 2007) - U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has announced his 16-player roster for the team's upcoming training camp from May 30 to June 6 in Canada as part of their preparation for the upcoming FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The U.S. will face Canada twice during the camp, which will provide the U.S. with a first-hand look at their two Group E venues in Montreal and Ottawa.
The U.S. will start the camp in Montreal, where they will train for three days and check out The Olympic Stadium, site of the team's first two Group E matches against South Korea (June 30) and Poland (July 3). The team will not train at the stadium, but is planning on getting a tour of the facility. The U.S. will then travel to Ottawa to face the World Cup hosts on June 3 at Frank Clair Stadium, site of their third and final Group E match against Brazil (July 6). The final stretch of the camp will take place in Kingston, Ontario, where the U.S. and Canada will play the rematch on June 6 in Richardson Stadium.
- Listen to Rongen talk about the upcoming camp and World Cup roster
"This camp will not only provide us with two matches against a strong Canada team, but it will allow us to get a feel for the facilities we'll be using during the World Cup," said Rongen, who will use this camp as his final evaluation period before announcing the World Cup roster. "We want to be as prepared as possible to advance out of a tough group, and this is a great opportunity to check out these great venues while becoming more and more acclimated to playing on artificial turf."
Three of the players on the roster play in Major League Soccer, four players will be joining the United States from overseas clubs and a pair of UCLA Bruins lead a seven-player collegiate contingent. Rongen also included a pair of players who are currently part of the Under-17 Residency Program, Dane Shea and Sheanon Williams, giving them an opportunity to gain experience with the Under-20s.
The trio of MLS players represents three different teams, with Bryan Argues of DC United, Amaechi Igwe of New England and Anthony Wallace of FC Dallas. The professional ranks of Italy, Germany, England and the Netherlands are also represented on the roster by one player each in Gabriel Ferrari of Sampdoria, Preston Zimmerman of Hamburg SV, Bolton FC’s Johann Smith and Mitchell van den Beld of FC Utrecht, respectively. Van den Beld will be participating in his first national team camp at any level.
Ten players on the roster were members of the squad that won their CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament in Panama City, Panama earlier this year. The team scored 11 goals during qualification, including three from Andre Akpan, while only allowing one.
The U.S. most recently faced Canada in a two-game series last summer, coming away with a 2-1 victory in the first game, which was played in Toronto on July 7, and a 1-1 draw in Kingston two days later.
The 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup will be held from June 30-July 22 in Canada. The U.S. was drawn into Group D with Korea Republic, Poland and Brazil. After their opener against the Korea Republic, the U.S. faces Poland on July 3 and concludes group play on July 6 against four-time U-20 world champions Brazil. The U.S. will play Korea Republic and Poland at The Olympic Stadium in Montreal, before heading to Ottawa to face Brazil at Frank Clair Stadium. The United States is coming off of their first loss of the year, as they fell 1-0 to reigning World Cup Champion Argentina on May 15.
Under-20 MNT Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Diego Restrepo (University of South Florida), Steve Sandbo (SMU)
DEFENDERS (5): Tony Beltran (UCLA), Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution), Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana University), Sheanon Williams (Boston, Mass.), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Bryan Arguez (DC United), Dane Shea (College Station, Texas), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas), Mitchell van den Beld (FC Utrecht)
FORWARDS (5): Andre Akpan (Harvard), Gabriel Ferrari (Sampdoria), Johann Smith (Bolton FC), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg SV), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)