US SoccerUS Soccer

Quote Sheet: FIFA U-20 World Cup Draw

U.S. head coach THOMAS RONGEN
On the group:
“We have definitely been drawn into a strong group, perhaps the strongest of the tournament but that poses a great opportunity. Anytime you have the chance to play against teams like Germany, Cameroon and Korea Republic is a chance to showcase American football.”

“It’s a very balanced group with three opponents that will give us very different styles and challenges, so every game will be an interesting challenge to prepare our team. I know our players will be excited and as I said before the last U-20 World Cup when we were drawn with Brazil, I’m excited as a coach for the challenges that playing on the world stage can bring. At this level you’re going to have to play the best teams eventually so we might as well take on some of the best in the group phase.”

U.S. defender and captain KYLE DAVIES
On the draw:
“When I first saw the teams in our group I was excited. When you get to the world stage you are always going to play against good teams and I’m excited for the opportunity to play three very different teams.”

On whether he is more excited about the World Cup now:
“Hearing all the groups definitely makes the tournament seem much closer because everything is now set. Some of the guys on the team have been talking back and forth about how excited we are and now that the draw has come out, I really can’t wait to get back together with everyone and start preparing for the World Cup.”

U.S. goalkeeper BRIAN PERK
On the USA’s group:
“It’s going to be a challenge for sure, but we had the same mentality heading into the 2007 World Cup. We didn’t have too much pressure on us in that tournament because of the difficult draw and I think we’re in a similar situation this time. It’s definitely a tough group but I’m excited and I think my teammates will be as well.”

On the first round opponents:
“It’s really exciting. I have a huge smile on my face right now because I’ve always wanted to play against Germany. I have German heritage and I’ve always liked the way they play. Cameroon will be an interesting test as I know they lost to Ghana in the African final and Korea Republic always puts out a good team. They probably gave us our toughest test in 2007 so we look forward to playing them again.

U.S. midfielder DANNY CRUZ
On the group:
“I’m excited and anxious now that we know who we’re playing. I think we drew a tough group but if anyone can fight through that I think we can.”

On comparing this World Cup group with his FIFA U-17 World Cup experience:
“Well, we definitely learned a lesson with the U-17s that no matter what part of the world you’re from, anyone can compete at this level. We’re going into this tournament knowing that we can advance if we play well, and that no game is going to come easy. We definitely won’t be able to look past any one of our opponents and I think that is a good situation for us to be in, to know that we’re going to have to play our best in every game.”

On knowing that the tournament is now set:
“Now that it’s all set, it’s just a matter of time. We will just prepare ourselves and I think Thomas [Rongen] will give us the best preparation possible, just like he did before qualifying. It’s five months away and it’s going to fly by with something to look forward to in September.”

On opening against the European champions:
“I’m excited. I started playing soccer in Germany and it’s going to be fun. It should be a great game. They have some history with their European championship but I think with our group and the way we always come together for games I think we’re going to give them a game. The first game is important and I think it’s going to be a good way to start the tournament. I feel very good about it.”

On the teams in Group C:
“There is definitely some diversity in our group, which is great. All three of the teams will be tough but I think our group will actually help us. If we’re able to get through the opening stage I think we’ll be fine because we’ll be playing such different and good teams. I think that will make us ready for whoever would be next.”

On his excitement about the draw:
“The draw definitely makes it more real. We’ve all been waiting for a long time for this opportunity and for me it’s my first world championship. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to be a part of it and knowing who we’re playing it feels more real than ever.”