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Notes from the National Training Center - Jan. 9, 2004

Under-23 Notes

"TEAM MIDWEST" TAKES INAUGURAL SOCCER TENNIS TITLE IN STUNNING ROMP OVER "TEAM MID-ATLANTIC": After three days of grueling two-a-day practices focusing primarily on fitness, U-23 MNT head coach Glenn Myernick gave the players a two-part gift on Thursday (Jan. 8): a well-deserved morning off to rest their drained bodies and a light afternoon session that consisted of a 10-team soccer tennis tournament out at The Home Depot Center. "Commissioner" Ralph Perez (U-23 Assistant Coach) and "Deputy Commissioner" Tim Mulqueen (U-23 Goalkeeper Coach) presided over the competition, with two-person teams being selected by the geographic region of their hometown. Below are the teams (with hometowns):

1) Team Chicago: goalkeeper Doug Warren (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) and Equipment Manager John McDonald (Chicago)
2) Team New Jersey: forward Alecko Eskandarian (Montvale, N.J.) and midfielder Eddie Gaven (Hamilton, N.J.)
3) Team SoCal: defender Scot Thompson (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) and goalkeeper Steve Cronin (Fair Oaks, Calif.)
4) Team Texas: defenders Jose Burciaga, Jr., (Duncanville, Texas) and Ricky Lewis (Spring, Texas)
5) Team Tar Heel: defender David Stokes (Dumfries, Va.) and midfielder Logan Pause (Hillsborough, N.C.)
6) Team Midwest: defender Nat Borchers (Pueblo, Colo.) and midfielder Brad Davis (St. Charles, Mo.)
7) Team Big East: defender Chris Wingert (Babylon, N.Y.) and midfielder Kyle Martino (Westport, Conn.)
8) Team Mid-Atlantic: midfielders Kyle Beckerman (Crofton, Md.) and Brian Carroll (Springfield, Va.)
9) Team NorCal: goalkeeper D.J. Countess (Sacramento, Calif.) and defender Kelly Gray (San Jose, Calif.)
10) Team Coaches: Myernick (Denver, Colo.) and U.S. MNT Strength & Conditioning Coach Pierre Barrieu (Charlottesville, Va.)

After playing three rounds of 8-minute games, three teams -- Team Midwest, Team Mid-Atlantic, and Team New Jersey -- were all 3-0 heading into the final round. With Team N.J. facing Team Midwest on Court 4, only one of them could advance to the final on Center Court. With their competition Team Mid-Atlantic competing on the next court over, Team Midwest made easy work of Team Jersey, winning 16-5. As the sun went down and the lights came on (almost as if for the final match alone), the entire team gathered around the center circle of Field 2 at the HDC to whoop and holler while Davis and Borchers continued their undefeated run as the official "dark horse" of the tournament, stunning Beckerman and Carroll by another 16-5 score. How did they do it? Coach Myernick said it best: "They were the perfect team: you had a left (Davis), a righty (Borchers), a foot guy (Davis) and head guy (Borchers)."

Final standings
1. Team Midwest (4-0-0; 12 pts.)
2. Team Mid-Atlantic (3-1-1; 10 pts.)
3. Team New Jersey (3-1-0; 9 pts.)
4. Team Big East (3-1-0; 9 pts)
5. Team NorCal (3-1-0; 9 pts.)
6. Team Texas (2-2-0; 6 pts.)
7. Team SoCal (1-2-1; 4 pts.)
8. Team Coaches (0-4-0; 0 pts.)
9. Team Tarheel (0-4-0; 0 pts.)
10. Team Chicago (0-4-0; 0 pts.)

BREATHE IN: A group of six players -- midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Bobby Convey, and forwards Edson Buddle, Conor Casey, Landon Donovan and David Testo -- missed the big tournament while participating in USOC-recommended pulmonary functional testing in the afternoon. The testing is done to see if any athlete might have breathing problems that might occur in polluted environments like Athens that would then require the use of an asthma inhaler or related medication. The rest of the team will be tested over the next 3-4 months, with some players being tested down in Guadalajara and others being tested individually while back in their MLS cities.

U-23s TO FACE TOP EL SALVADOR CLUB AGUILA IN FINAL SCRIMMAGE NEXT FRIDAY (JAN. 16): U.S. Soccer announced yesterday an exhibition match between the U.S. U-23s and top El Salvador club Aguila set for next Friday (Jan. 16) at 8 p.m. at L.A. Valley Community College in San Fernando Valley. Aguila, who sits in second place in the 10-team Liga Mayor, features eight players who regularly play for the El Salvador Men's National Team. The match will mark be the U-23's sixth and final scrimmage in seven days and present an excellent test of their progress as camp concludes the following day. For tickets or more information, fans can contact promoter Luis Lopez at 818-445-8465.

JOHNSON HEADS HOME WITH FLU; CLARK OUT FOR UP TO SEVEN DAYS: After missing four days of training while being stuck sick in the Manhattan Beach Marriott, U-23 midfielder Ed Johnson was diagnosed with viral influenza (the flu) and was sent back to Dallas to recover. In other injury news, midfielder Ricardo Clark remains under observation about a possible inguinal or sports hernia. After suffering soreness in his left groin throughout most of 2003, he recently felt increased pain and was sent to U.S. National Teams doctor Bert Mendelbaum and specialist Dr. Hutchison for an evaluation. Clark will remain out of training for the next seven days and his progress will be monitored on a day-to-day basis with the possibility of returning to training after a re-examination next Friday (Jan. 16).

U-23s TO PLAY FIRST TWO OF SIX SCRIMMAGES IN CARSON TOMORROW: After six days of training sessions, the U-23s will play their first pair of a total of six scrimmages tomorrow (Jan. 10), facing an L.A. Select team (comprised of Galaxy players and other area players) at 9:30 a.m. at the HDC before facing the full U.S. Men's National Team in the afternoon at 4:30 p.m. The scrimmage with Bruce and his boys will be the first of four inter-squad scrimmages over a five-day span, with two games scheduled for Monday (Jan. 12) and a final match on Wednesday (Jan. 14).

WINGERT OFF TO ST. LOUIS FOR M.A.C./HERMANN TROPHY BANQUET: St. John's defender Chris Wingert left camp this morning in order to attend a banquet in St. Louis, Mo., that will feature the presentation of the prestigious Missouri Athletic Club (M.A.C.) Hermann Trophy, the highest individual honor in intercollegiate soccer which honors the top male and female player in Div. I soccer, for 2003. Wingert is one of three finalists, along with Coastal Carolina's Joseph Ngwenya (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) and the University of Maryland's Sumed Ibrahim (Tamale, Ghana). Wingert, the 2003 Big East Defender of the Year, helped the Red Storm to the NCAA Men's College Cup Final before they fell to eventual champ Indiana 2-1 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Babylon, N.Y., native picked up six caps for the U.S. U-23s in 2003, giving him the most career U-23 caps (11) of any player in the current player pool that did not compete with the team in 2000.

Men's National Team Notes 

BACK IN BUSINESS:  The U.S. MNT resumed training this morning after a well-deserved day off Thursday, heading back into twice-a-day sessions. Ben Olsen got back in the mix after tendinitis sidelined the midfielder Wednesday, while Robbie Russell continues to nurse a mild achilles strain.  The morning activity began with fitness development before breaking into a 10 v. 10 game to small goals.  The 90-minute session ended with a 6 v. 6 tournament with goalkeepers.  The team will hold a 60-minute intrasquad scrimmage later this afternoon.

ARENA TO CHAT LIVE ON JAN. 14 at 12 p.m. ET:  U.S. Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena will answer questions from fans and media during's first online chat of 2004 this Wednesday. Fans can log in to find out Arena's thoughts on the upcoming match against Denmark, his plans for the coming year, and the beginning of the qualifying road to World Cup 2006.  To log onto to the chat, visit, where existing members can simply sign in and new members must register on the site before they are able to ask questions during the chat.

PLAY IT BACK WITH TALLEY:  Kansas City Wizards utility man Carey Talley represents a growing number of MLS players on the bubble of achieving their ultimate dream: a place with the U.S. Men's National Team.  A part of the first U.S. Under  17 national team to win a CONCACAF youth championship in 1992, he played at both the U-20 and U-23 level and is still in search of his first cap with the senior team.  A seven-year veteran of MLS, Talley has one MLS championship ring to his credit as a member of the 1999 D.C. United side.  Listen as Talley discusses his first stint with the MNT in two years, the plight of the Wizards contingent in Carson, and his thoughts on the development of the U.S. youth national team programs.

Under-18 and Under-20 Notes

 U-18 AND U-20 MNTs HEAD HOME: The U.S. Under-18 and Under-20 Men’s National Teams wrapped up their week-long camps at the National Training Center on Thursday (Jan. 8), with a head-to-head scrimmage, and in a bit of an upset it was the younger squad coming out on top 3-2. The Under-18s got goals from midfielders Christian Jimenez and Michael Bradley, and defender Adam Sloustcher scored the eventual game winner. Jamie Watson and Chad Barrett scored for the Under-20s, while John DiRaimondo picked up an assist. The Under-20s were without the services of Freddy Adu and Danny Szetela, who returned to Bradenton, Fla., for end of the semester exams with U.S. Soccer's Under-17 residency program. For a more detailed game report, click on the link below.

THE COACHES TALK ABOUT THE FIRST CAMP: As the players head home today, sat down with U.S. Under-18 Head Coach Bob Jenkins and Under-20 Head Coach Thomas Rongen to talk about the first training camps of 2004. With a total of 30 (15 each) former and current U.S. Under-17 MNT players on the two rosters for the week, Jenkins and Rongen got a good look at the core players that will most likely make up the roster for the U.S. at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships in the Netherlands. The coaches talked about how the camps went, what they got out of it, and commented on what they will be looking towards during the rest of the year.

Bob Jenkins: /articles/viewArticle.jsp_51191.html

Thomas Rongen: /articles/viewArticle.jsp_51196.html