U.S. Head Coach Thomas Rongen Finalizes 21-Player Roster for FIFA Under-20 World Cup
CHICAGO (June 15, 2007) – United States Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has named the 21-player roster that will represent the U.S. at the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada, from June 30-July 22. The roster features 14 professional players, the most ever for a U.S. Under-20 World Cup team, and is led by three-time U-20 World Cup participant Freddy Adu and high-scoring forward Josmer Altidore, the youngest player on the team at age 17.
“We looked at about 80 players and narrowed it down to 21,” said head coach Thomas Rongen. “”We feel that through playing games in qualifying and through camps, that we have a good handle on this age group and that we’ve made some great selections for this team to go forward and hopefully do something special during the World Cup.”
- Listen to Thomas Rongen Talk About the Selection Process
The U.S. was drawn into Group D with Korea Republic, Poland and Brazil. This is the sixth straight appearance for the U.S. in the world championship and their 11th overall. The U.S. opens against Korea Republic on June 30, then 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. Every U.S. match at the U-20 World Cup will be broadcast live on ESPNU, and can be followed live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. The 24-team field is divided into six groups of four, with the top two teams from each group and the top four (of six) third-place teams advancing to the Round of 16. The 52-match tournament will take place at six venues in Canada with games in Burnaby, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria. Each game will be broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN360.com.
With 11 players from Major League Soccer and three from overseas clubs, the U.S. will be playing with more professionals at a FIFA U-20 World Cup than ever before. In Tim Ward, Robbie Rogers and Danny Szetela, the Columbus Crew send the biggest club contingent, while FC Dallas (Dax McCarty and Anthony Wallace) and Real Salt Lake (Freddy Adu and Chris Seitz) each send a pair. D.C. United will be represented on the team by midfielder Bryan Arguez, while defenders Nathan Sturgis and Amaechi Igwe play for the L.A. Galaxy and New England Revolution, respectively. Rounding out the MLS group is Altidore, who has scored three goals and three assists for the N.Y. Red Bulls.
The 18-year-old Adu will be appearing in his third Under-20 World Cup, having played under Rongen in the United Arab Emirates in 2003 at age 14, and under Sigi Schmid in the Netherlands in 2005. He will become only the second player to accomplish that feat (Al Roomi, Saudi Arabia, 1985-1989).
Adu and SC Heerenveen’s Michael Bradley are the only players on the roster to have earned caps at the senior national team level. Bradley has appeared in five games so far in 2007 with the senior squad, including appearances in their current quest to defend their CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Bradley’s commitments to both his club team and the senior national team have kept him away from the Under-20 squad throughout their two-year preparations.
Along with Bradley, Johann Smith and Gabriel Ferrari will be joining the U.S. from overseas clubs. Smith represents Bolton FC of the English Premier League, while Ferrari plays for Sampdoria in Italy’s Serie A.
Included in the group of collegiate players is the USA’s leading scorer in 2007, Harvard’s Andre Akpan. The Texas native has scored four goals in four appearances on the year, including a hat trick in the opening game of qualifying against Haiti. Perennial powerhouse Indiana, Wake Forest and SMU are also represented on the roster by defenders Ofori Sarkodie, Julian Valentin and goalkeeper Steve Sandbo, respectively. Leading the collegiate ranks with three players on the roster is UCLA, as Tony Beltran, Sal Zizzo and goalkeeper Brian Perk will all represent the Bruins in Canada.
Perk and Sandbo will be expected to back up first-choice goalkeeper Seitz, who has started five games for the team in 2007, leading the team to a 3-1-1 record when he is in net and boasting a 0.60 goals against average.
The 21 players on the World Cup roster will arrive in Somerset, N.J. on June 17 for training before departing for Montreal. The team will also play a preparation game against Chile at Giants Stadium on June 23, with kickoff set for 2 p.m. ET (tickets).
|11||Freddy Adu||M||5'8"||145||06/02/89||Potomac, Md.||Real Salt Lake (MLS)|
|20||Andre Akpan||F||6'0"||190||12/09/87||Grand Prairie, Texas||Harvard|
|12||Josmer Altidore||F||5'10"||176||11/06/89||Boca Raton, Fla.||N.Y. Red Bulls (MLS)|
|3||Bryan Arguez||M||6'2"||165||01/13/89||Miami, Fla.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|19||Tony Beltran||D/M||5'9"||155||10/11/87||Claremont, Calif.||UCLA|
|6||Michael Bradley||M||6'2"||185||07/31/87||Pennington, N.J.||SC Heerenveen (Netherlands)|
|17||Gabriel Ferrari||F||6'1"||170||09/01/88||New York, N.Y.||Sampdoria (Italy)|
|4||Amaechi Igwe||D||6'0"||165||05/20/88||Belmont, Calif.||New England Revolution (MLS)|
|10||Dax McCarty||M||5'9"||145||04/30/87||Winter Park, Fla.||FC Dallas (MLS)|
|18||Brian Perk||GK||5'11"||175||07/21/89||Santa Margarita, Calif.||UCLA|
|8||Robbie Rogers||F||5'10"||165||05/12/87||Huntington Beach, Calif.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|21||Steve Sandbo||GK||6'3"||195||02/23/87||Columbus, Ohio||SMU|
|13||Ofori Sarkodie||D||5'10"||180||06/18/88||Huber Heights, Ohio||Indiana University|
|1||Chris Seitz||GK||6'4"||205||03/12/87||San Luis Obispo, Calif.||Real Salt Lake (MLS)|
|9||Johann Smith||F||5'10"||165||04/25/87||Bloomfield, Conn.||Bolton FC (England)|
|5||Nathan Sturgis||D||5'11"||155||07/06/87||Redondo Beach, Calif.||L.A. Galaxy|
|7||Danny Szetela||M||5'11"||172||06/07/87||Clifton, N.J.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|16||Julian Valentin||D||5'11"||180||02/23/87||Lancaster, Pa.||Wake Forest|
|14||Anthony Wallace||D/M||5'11"||155||01/26/89||St. Petersburg, Fla.||FC Dallas (MLS)|
|2||Tim Ward||D||6'0"||165||02/28/87||Waukesha, Wisc.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|15||Sal Zizzo||F||5'11"||165||04/03/87||San Diego, Calif.||UCLA|
Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brian Perk (UCLA), Steve Sandbo (SMU), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (UCLA), Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution), Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana University), Nathan Sturgis (L.A. Galaxy), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake), Bryan Arguez (D.C. United), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Dax McCarty (F.C. Dallas), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew), Anthony Wallace (F.C. Dallas)
FORWARDS (6): Andre Akpan (Harvard), Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls), Gabriel Ferrari (Sampdoria), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Johann Smith (Bolton F.C.), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)