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U.S. Beach Soccer Team Set for Kickoff Against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship

CHICAGO (April 16, 2008) -- The U.S. Beach Soccer team is in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, preparing to kick off the 2008 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship on Thursday, April 17 against Costa Rica.

On Friday, the U.S. takes on El Salvador before finishing up the tournament against Mexico on April 19. The four teams are competing in a round-robin format for the region’s two berths to the 2008 FIFA Beach World Cup in Marseille, France, from July 17-27.

Of the 11 players head coach Roberto Ceciliano has taken to Puerto Vallarta, all but Austin Roman and Jacob Long are veterans of both 2007 CONCACAF Qualifying and the 2007 FIFA Beach World Cup, though Roman appeared in both events in 2006.

Forward Jevin Albequerque led last year's qualifying squad with six goals in four games and Yuri Morales and Brendon Taguinod added four apiece. Luis Montanez has been considered the team's top 'keeper over the past three years.

The U.S. has qualified for the previous three editions of the FIFA Beach World Cup, which is played every year, but has never advanced past the first round. In 2007, the U.S. needed a win over Portugal in its final group game to advance to the second round of the tournament, but a Portuguese goal in the final second of regulation denied the U.S. a place in the quarterfinal.

CONCACAF foe Mexico made its inaugural trip to the event in 2007 and reached the Final before falling to Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.

U.S. 2008 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Schedule
Date          Opponent         Time

April 17     Costa Rica       5:15 p.m. CT
April 18     El Salvador       5:15 p.m. CT
April 19     Mexico               6:30 p.m. CT

U.S. Beach Soccer National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bayard Elfvin (Newark, N.J.), Luis Montanez (Hayward, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Benyam Astorga (Miami, Fla.), Francis Farberoff (Miami Beach, Fla.), Jacob Long (Santa Cruz, Calif.), Austin Roman (Santa Monica, Calif.), Ronald Silva (Los Angeles, Calif.), Brendon Taguinod (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
FORWARDS (3): Jevin Albuquerque (Santa Cruz, Calif.), Anthony Chimienti (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), Yuri Morales (San Francisco, Calif.), Joshua Nolz (Virginia Beach, Va.)