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Sigi Schmid Closes Up Final Camp Before Qualifying

After brining in 30 players to The Home Depot Center for the past 12 days, U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Sigi Schmid now has the difficult task of choosing the 22 players (18-player roster, plus four alternates) he’ll bring back for the final camp before the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament. Schmid sat down with and talked about the bright spots that came out of this final camp of 2004, when he’ll announce the 22-player roster and whether Eddie Gaven and Jonathan Spector are still possibilities to be called in for the qualifying tournament. “What was your overall assessment of the camp?”

Sigi Scmid: “I think the camp went well and was successful. From our objectives, we were able to look at a lot of kids and we were able to nail the group down to a group of 22 that we are going to bring in for January. We were able to get good games and come away with good results as well, so that was pleasing. And at the end we were able to add a fitness component, which hopefully will benefit us for the next camp as the kids will have a better idea of what they have to do to prepare.”
: “Were there any players that really made an impression during the camp?”

SS: “Certainly there were some bright spots. I was very happy with some of the guys who hadn’t been in before like a Patrick Ianni, Marvell Wynne did well, Greg Dalby, who had been invited in by Thomas (Rongen) a number of times but was always injured, showed well and that he belongs within this group. Benny Fielhaber is another one who came in and surprised a lot of people at this camp. That one year of college adds a lot to their development.  We were pleased overall.” “What are you hoping to accomplish with the fitness testing that was done with the full MNT Strenth and Conditioning coach Pierre Bariou the last few days of camp?”
SS: “What the fitness work did for us more than anything is it gave Pierre the opportunity to establish some base points for these kids. It is going to serve us well, not only for qualifying, but also for after qualifying as we prepare for the world championship. The other thing was that we have a very short window between this camp and the next one, as its only 10 days. We knew fitness was an issue and we needed to look at players, so we couldn’t just build fitness here. By being able to do the fitness testing at the end of the camp, gives Pierre to provide the kids with a very specific program for the kids that they can use to maximize their time off if they follow the program. If they do follow the program we will have players and a team that is fitter than before.” “When will you announce the 22 players you will be bring back to the HDC in January?”
SS: “Obviously, the 22 players will be announced sometime next week. The team comes in on Jan. 2 and we begin training the next day. We still need to arrange some training game during that time and we are in the process of doing that. Really, then the focus when we come in will be to familiarize ourselves with our opponents for the qualifying tournament and get ourselves in synch and in tune with out set pieces, which we haven’t worked on at all yet. Also, we want to really ingrain with the team the possession and the style of play we want to play because this camp also helped us sort of determine what system really fits now, what players have really shown well and the players we expect to be on the field.” “Are Eddie Gaven and Jonathan Spector still options for the final 18-man roster?”

SS: “Eddie Gaven and Jonathan Spector are still options. Obviously, the news is out there that Jonathan will be loaned to another team, so we have to see if there is anything possible (for him to come in for qualifying). Eddie Gaven right now, all indications are that he is healing very well from his surgery that he had from his sports hernia. I believe Eddie will be in for the next camp and he will be available to us for qualifying. The minutes he will play in qualifying we may need to limit a little bit as we see how he is going along, but certainly he is a very important part of this team.”