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U.S. Soccer to Host Final Round Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Los Angeles, Tampa and Nashville

CHICAGO (November 6, 2007) — U.S. Soccer and the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association of Football (CONCACAF) have finalized plans that will see the United States host final round action of the 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Under-23 Championship in Los Angeles, Tampa and Nashville from March 11-23, 2008.

The eight-team tournament will send two finalists to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The tournament will be played as eight doubleheaders at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., and LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

Both The Home Depot Center and Raymond James Stadium will host three doubleheaders each in group play, while LP Field in Nashville will host the semifinals on Thursday, March 20, and the championship match and third-place game on Sunday, March 23.

Ticket information for the games will be announced at a later date.

As hosts, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will be based in Tampa during the group stage of the tournament, but won’t learn its opponents until all of the teams are confirmed and the draw takes place. At that time, a complete schedule of matches will be finalized with kickoff times.

The U.S. will be led Peter Nowak, who was named the team’s head coach back on Aug. 8. Nowak has worked with both the full national team and the Under-23’s since December of 2006, assisting U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley. Together, they have seen more than 70 players from both teams in competitive games and orchestrated the USA’s championship winning run in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“For the team, every international tournament is a chance to gain respect on the international stage," said Nowak. "First things first – we have to qualify. With a country that has so much tradition and success in the Olympics, for me it is very important that we represent the United States well. I feel very good about our group of players and I believe we can really achieve good things.” (More Quotes)

Nowak will gather his squad for the first time in December for a week-long training camp beginning on Dec. 2, and will then guide the team on a nine-day tour of China from Dec. 9-17 in which the team will play two matches against China’s Under-23 National Team on Dec. 13 and 16.

The United States qualified for six straight Olympic tournaments between 1980 and 2000 before missing out on the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece. In 2000, the team turned in their best performance ever at this level, reaching the final four in Sydney before losing to Spain in the medal round.

The final eight teams that will make up the Olympic qualifying tournament include the USA, Mexico and Canada, as well as Cuba and Haiti from the Caribbean. The Central American participants should be finalized by the end of the year, with six countries fighting it out for three spots (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador).

2008 CONCACAF Under-23 Tournament – Olympic Qualifying

– Tournament Details –

Event: Eight-team tournament to decide two CONCACAF positions at 2008 Olympics
Dates: March 10-23, 2008
Venues: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.), The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.); LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)
Qualified Teams (5): USA, Mexico, Canada; Cuba, Haiti
Potential Teams from Central America (3): Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador

Date Matches Venues Kickoff Times
March 11 Group Stage Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla. 5:30 p.m. & 8 p.m. ET
March 12 Group Stage The Home Depot Center - Carson, Calif. 5:30 p.m. & 8 p.m. PT
March 13 Group Stage
Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla.
5:30 p.m. & 8 p.m. ET
March 14 Group Stage The Home Depot Center - Carson, Calif. 5:30 p.m. & 8 p.m. PT
March 15 Group Stage
Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla.
4:30 p.m. & 7 p.m. ET
March 16 Group Stage The Home Depot Center - Carson, Calif. 3:30 p.m. & 6 p.m. PT
March 20 Semifinals LP Field - Nashville, Tenn. 5 p.m. & 8 p.m. CT
March 23 Third-Place Game
and Championship
LP Field - Nashville, Tenn. 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. CT