U.S. Under-20 MNT Notes
January 9, 2005
GETTING READY TO QUALIFY: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is continuing its final preparations at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as the team is only four days from the U-20 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, which being held at the Home Depot from Jan. 12-16. The team arrived on Jan. 2 and went through a number of two-a-day training during its first few days, until having the day off on Saturday. The players will hold two practices today and just one afternoon session on Monday and Tuesday, before kicking off the tournament on Wednesday.
SECOND SCRIMMAGE TONIGHT: After playing a collection of players that tried out for Chivas USA on Thursday (see result below), the U-20s will play their second scrimmage tonight at 7 p.m. (if the weather permits). The U.S. will face a collection of local college players.
FINAL 18 ANNOUNCED ON MONDAY: Head coach Sigi Schmid has brought in 22 players to the final U-20 training camp before the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, but will reduce his final tournament roster by four to 18 on Monday, Jan. 10. The final 18-player roster will be released on ussoccer.com on Monday afternoon. Of the 22 players currently in camp, 16 are in college while five are professional players, four of which 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.
U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Quentin Westberg (ESTAC Troyes); Justin Hughes (UNC), Andrew Kartunen (Stanford); DEFENDERS (6): Greg Dalby (Notre Dame), Hunter Freeman (Virginia), Patrick Phelan (Wake Forest), Nathan Sturgis (Clemson), Tim Ward (St. Louis), Marvell Wynne (UCLA); MIDFIELDERS (7): Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Robbie Rogers (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Benny Feilhaber (UCLA), Patrick Ianni (UCLA), Sacha Kljestan (Seton Hall), 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).
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO FIRST OPPONENT FOR U.S. IN QUALIFYING: The U.S. will join Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago as they compete in Group A of the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from Jan. 12-16, 2005. The six-game round-robin tournament will consist of three doubleheaders with each team playing on January 12, 14, and 16. The U.S. U-20s, who are attempting to qualify for a fifth consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship, play the second match on each day and open against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, Jan. 12 before facing Panama on Friday, Jan. 14. The U-20s wrap up the tournament against Costa Rica on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. PT. The top two finishers in Carson will advance to the FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands from June 10-July 2, 2005. Tickets for the Under-20 world championship qualifying tournament are now on sale.
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.
U-20 QUALIFYING TICKETS ON SALE NOW: Tickets for the Under-20 world championship qualifying tournament are on sale now. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $10 to $24 are available online at ussoccer.com, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Southern California (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records), by calling 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles), 714-740-2000 (Orange County) or 619-220-8497 (San Diego), and at the Home Depot Center ticket office. Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290. Tickets purchased at the stadium will be available from between $13 and $27.
CHIVAS GAME: The U.S. Under-20 MNT played their first scrimmage since arriving in camp on Jan. 2, going up against a collection of the top players that have tried out for Chivas USA, one of the two new MLS teams, on Thursday. The Under-20s took control of the game from the outset, putting Chivas on their heels with two goals in the first half before getting five more strikes in the second for a 7-0 victory. In the first half, the U.S. had a number of chances on net as they peppered the Chivas goal, but didn't get their first goal until the 36th minute off a corner kick. Two MLS stars hooked up on the goal as Freddy Adu served in the corner from the right corner and Eddie Gaven got free from his marker at the six-yard box to head it home. Nine minutes later, right before the end of the half the U.S. doubled their lead as Gaven returned the favor to Adu. Gaven intercepted a poor pass in the center circle, quickly turned and found Adu streaking down the right flank. Adu ran onto the ball and cut back inside a defender tracking back near the top of the box and then unleashed a strike into the upper-right corner. In the second half, head coach Sigi Schmid made nine changes as basically a whole new team took the field. With fresh players out on the field and Chivas keeping the same players as the first half, the U.S. ran away with the game. Arturo Alvarez led the way with three goals, including the first two of the half in the 58th and 67th minutes. Chad Barrett and Sacha Kljestan also scored in the next 10 minutes, before Alvarez knocked in his final strike in the 80th minute.
RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD: Unlike the song, the Under-20 players haven’t gone to the extent of “talking to the sun” because they don’t “like the way he’s got things done,” but maybe they should. Almost every day of camp rain has cramped their training and forcing them either off the grass fields at The Home Depot Center or even inside for practice. And things aren’t looking like their going to get much better as the forecast is calling for much of the same for the next three days. When will it let up? It looks like just in time for the qualifying tournament as it should be warm and sunny by Wednesday.
ADJUSTING TO THE WEATHER: With the fields waterlogged, the Under-20s were forced to improvise on Friday and move practice indoors, going into the bowels of The Home Depot Center. The players warmed up by running in the hallway along the locker rooms before going through four different workouts set up in the locker rooms. Each of the four locker rooms was a separate training session, with four stations – footwork, ball skills, 3v1 and soccer tennis. The players went to each station for about 15 minutes before moving on to the next area.
GAVEN ONE-ON-ONE: Eddie Gaven is no doubt one of the best young players in the United States right now and over the past year is possibly one of the most experienced as with stints with the full MNT and the Under-23 MNT. Now, back with the Under-20s after recovering from a hernia injury, Gaven will look to lead the U.S. to their fifth straight FIFA World Youth Championship when they compete at the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament from Jan. 12-16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. With the team already in camp as they get set for their first match against Trinidad & Tobago on Jan. 12, Gaven sat down with ussoccer.com to talk about coming back after hernia surgery, how his experience can help the rest of the team and what he expects from their qualifying opponents.
A CHANGE IN PRACTICE PARTNERS: University of North Carolina-Greenboro forward Randi Patterson didn’t even think about making the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team. It wasn’t a goal, it wasn’t even a thought. Just a few years ago, Patterson was practicing with him mom. Now, he’s practicing with some of the best young soccer players in the country such as Freddy Adu and Eddie Gaven. And, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
FAMILIAR FACES: While the Under-20s were conducting their first week of camp last week at The Home Depot Center, there were some familiar faces practicing on a nearby field for a few days. The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team was also holding a three-day camp at the HDC before leaving for Guadalajara, Mexico on Jan. 7 to compete in the Copa Chivas Youth Tournament. A number of players on the U-18s are or were teammates with players on the U-20s, either in college or with the U-17 MNT, and the players had a chance to catch up between training sessions. Click here for the U-18s roster and schedule for the Copa Chivas Youth Tournament.
LOOKING UP TO HIS BROTHER: Patrick Ianni has always looked up to his older brother, Tayt, even calling him the best soccer player in the family. While that may be disputed, Patrick will at least have the opportunity to follow in his brother’s footsteps if he competes in the U-20 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament. Tayt was part of the 1990 qualifying tournament in Guatemala. In that tournament, the U.S. won Group 3 with wins over Costa Rica (2-0) and Barbados (2-1) before finishing third in the Final Group, falling to Trinidad & Tobago (1-0) and Mexico (3-1) and failing to advance to the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship. Patrick may not think he’s the best sibling in the family, but if he’s able to help the U-20s advance to the world championship, he’ll have one notch in his belt, his brother doesn’t have.
LOCKER ROOM SOCCER TENNIS: With the rain continuing, so does the locker room soccer tennis. The Under-20 MNT players are getting pretty intense about the competition over the past few days as a number of teams have been quick to call themselves champions. Who’s the actual champion? It may be close, but it appears the team of Will John and Danny Szetela have pulled ahead, winning two games in a row (they’ll tell you it was more) before Friday’s practice despite jeering coming from a number of the players watching from their locker stalls.
VERMES STILL CHAMP: While the players are having their fun with soccer tennis, the coaches are still playing as well (at least when they can outdoors). Things have changed a bit from the last camp as Peter Vermes partner, Marcelo Balboa, is no longer an assistant with the team, forcing him to now team with fitness coach Pierre Barrieu. Barrieu may not be at the level of Balboa, but Vermes is still were he was – at the top. Yes, that’s right, Vermes is still the unofficial champion and from the way he tells it, that’s the way it is going to stay.
- The U.S. has a 6-4-4 record in international play in 2004.
- The Under-20s are undefeated (6-0-0) against CONCACAF teams in 2004, getting wins against Jamaica (two), Canada (two), Honduras and Mexico.
- Out of the 16 college players invited into camp, a total of 12 schools from six conferences are represented. The Pacific-10 Conference leads the way with five players (four from UCLA), followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference with four, the Big East with three and Conference USA with two. The two remaining – Big Ten Conference and Southern Conference – each have one representative.
- Arturo Alvarez leads the team in career U-20 caps with 17.
- Will John leads the team in international appearances in 2004 with 12 and international starts with nine. Quentin Westberg leads the goalkeepers with 10 international appearances, all starts.
- John leads all scorers with nine points (four goals and one assist) in international play.
- Chad Barrett is tied with John for the goal scoring lead, also with four strikes in 2004.
- Alvarez leads the team in assists in 2004 with two.
- While being the youngest player on the roster at 15 years of age, Freddy Adu is the only player that played in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates, playing in four games, starting three.