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U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team Notes - April 19, 2004


PLAYERS ARRIVE, GO THROUGH FIRST WORKOUT IN SUNRISE
All 23 players called into the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team’s third camp of the year arrived in Sunrise, Fla., last night and went through their first training this morning at the field directly next to their hotel. Thomas Rongen invited a mix of players with a range of experience as he continues to sort through the U.S. U-20 player pool in preparation for the CONCACAF U-20 World Youth Championship qualifying tournament in January 2005. Five players are professionals in Major League Soccer, 10 are in college and eight are still in high school (with five part of U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program). The players went through a tough 90-minute session this morning, ate lunch and had the rest of the afternoon off. 

JAMAICA UP FIRST FOR THE UNDER-20s
The U.S. will play four games during the week-long camp, going up against both Jamaica and Haiti twice. The featured game will be against Haiti Select on Wednesday, April 21, at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale (see below for ticket information), but the U.S. will also play three other closed door matches. The Under-20s will face the Jamaica U-20 Men’s National Team tomorrow (Tuesday) and on Thursday, and Haiti for the second time in a closed door match on Saturday. 

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE HAITI MATCH AT LOCKHART STADIUM

Tickets for the U.S. Under-20 MNT match against Haiti on Wednesday, April 21, at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale are still available. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 day of game, while kids 12 and under get in for just $5. Tickets are available by phone at 1-877-877-7677, online at www.tixops.com and at Soccer Max in Sunrise (954-382-0040), Soccer Locker in Miami (305-670-9100) and the Soccer Store in Boca Raton (561-477-1040).

ONE LOCAL BOY
U.S. Under-20 MNT defender Nathan Sturgis is the only player who calls the Sunshine State home, as he grew up in St. Augustine, a city along the east coast in northern Florida. Sturgis was recently added to the U.S. Soccer’s U-17 Residency Program last fall and has been a regular starter for the Under-17 ’87 MNT at left back. 

THREE U-20 MNT PLAYERS PUT UP POINTS THIS PAST SATURDAY IN MLS GAMES:
Freddy Adu, Eddie Gaven and Arturo Alvarez all scored points this past Saturday (April 17) for their respective MLS teams. Adu scored his first professional goal in D.C. United’s 3-2 loss to the MetroStars. Down 3-1 in the second half, the 14-year-old Adu scored in the 75th minute, becoming the youngest player to score in an MLS game by almost two full years. For the third straight game, Adu came off the bench in the second half as United head coach Peter Nowak called his number in the 54th minute. Adu scored 21 minutes later when Joshua Gros hit a low cross from the left that slipped through a number of players allowing the 14-year-old to slide in front of defender Chris Leitch and knock it home. Gaven, who has spent time with the U.S. Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 Men’s National Teams, picked up the winning assist for the MetroStars as they went on to a 3-2 victory over D.C. United. Gaven laid the ball off to Fabian Taylor, providing the Jamaican international with his second of two goals in the match. The assist was the second for Gaven, who know has two assists in two games. Alvarez provided the San Jose Earthquakes with their first victory of the season by knocking home the winning goal off a cross from Landon Donovan in the 55th minute against the New England Revolution, giving the ‘Quakes their first victory of the season. The Revolution had the lead 1-0 until the 53rd minute when Dwayne De Rosario found the equalizer with a brilliant overhead volley. On the winning goal, Donovan served in cross from the right flank towards the far post, finding an unmarked Alvarez for the put away.

FROM THE U-17s TO THE U-20s

More than half of the players on the roster (12), have been involved with the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Five players – goalkeeper Stephen Sandbo, defenders Tim Ward and Nathan Sturgis, and midfielders Danny Szetela and Christian Jimenez – are currently in the program, while Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Michael Bradley (MetroStars), Craig Capano (Chicago Fire), and Eddie Gaven (MetroStars) have moved on to MLS.  Brandon Owens (UCLA), Jamie Watson (UNC) and Adrian Chevannes (Clemson) are playing in college. 

RONGEN QUOTES

On what he’s hoping to get out of the camp…

“I told the team that we have four crucial games, including the highlight against Haiti on Wednesday, and these are our first four internationals of the year. I’m concentrating on getting results and continuing to identify the top 20 players that we will use for the Youth World Championship in Holland in 2005. Our process is ongoing and we’ve looked at 50-60 players through the three camps this year.”

On the mix of experience the players on the roster have…
“They are all professionals to me even though there are really only five in camp. You have to treat them like professionals. Freddy (Adu) is the only guy that was involved with the last Under-20 group and he should be a leader on this team along with Eddie Gaven, Arturo Alvarez and the other professionals. All these guys can play and they all have an chance to make the final qualifying roster, so that’s what they will have the opportunity to prove to me this week.”

On the Haiti Select match...
“I think there are some exciting Haiti players. I even think they have some high school players, including a 'Haitian Freddy Adu' that is 15 years old. I know it will be a competitive game. Anytime you can put these players in an atmosphere like this it is a great thing. It can show what kind of players we have. Our qualifying for the world championship is in the U.S., but you never know when we could end up playing in a hostile environment and these games will test these guys.”

HE SAID IT:
“I told (my mom) I was going to score that weekend, but I was only joking around. And then I did.”
    -- Freddy Adu when asked about what it felt like to score his first professional goal for D.C. United last weekend in a 3-2 loss to the MetroStars.

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