CHICAGO (Nov. 7, 2006) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will continue its 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying preparations with a match against Guatemala on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Florida Atlantic University Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. Kickoff for the match is at 7 p.m. ET.
U.S. Under-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen named an 19-player roster for the match, which will closeout a four-day training camp in Sunrise, Fla. The players and staff will arrive on Sunday, Nov. 12, and train for three days before facing Guatemala on Nov. 15. Tickets for the match are $10 and fans can purchase them online at www.tixops.com or by calling 1-877-877-7677.
The match is just two months before the U.S. Under-20s will attempt to qualify for their sixth straight FIFA U-20 World Cup (formerly FIFA World Youth Championship), when they take part in the 2007 CONCACAF Under-20 Final Round Qualifying Tournament this January in either Mexico or Panama. Group A of the 2007 CONCACAF Under-20 Final Round will take place from Jan. 17-21 in Panama City, Panama, while Group B will occur a month later from Feb. 21-25 in Culiacan, Sinaloa, which is on the west coast of Mexico.
The U.S. will join hosts Panama and Mexico in one of the final two qualifying groups, along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, St. Kitts & Nevis and the winner of a home-and-away series between Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. The draw to determine which teams will be in Group A and Group B will be held on Nov. 24 during the CONCACAF Executive Committee Meeting in Los Angeles. The top two squads from each group will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, which will take place from June 30-July 22 across six cities – Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Burnaby and Victoria.
“Facing a quality opponent that is also involved in the U-20 qualifying tournament will provide our players with a competitive game that will help us prepare for our three qualifying games in January,” said Rongen. “Along with playing a high-level match, this short camp will provide us with another opportunity to bring in some of the professional players in our pool that are overseas and a number of the domestic professionals as the MLS Cup will end the first day of the camp.”
Of the 19 players on the roster, 12 are professionals playing in Major League Soccer or overseas. The three overseas players represent three European countries, with defender Neven Subotic (Mainz 05) playing in the German Bundesliga, forward Johann Smith (Bolton FC) in the English Premier League and goalkeeper Nicholas Skverer (NEC Nijmegen) in the Dutch Eredivisie. Subotic and Smith have all been called in with the U-20s before, but this will be the first call-up for Skverer, who was born in the United States, but has lived in the Netherlands for most of his life.
The remaining nine professional players are represented by seven MLS teams, with the Columbus Crew, L.A. Galaxy and N.Y. Red Bulls each providing two players.
Two of the youngest players in the MLS, forwards Freddy Adu and Josmer Altidore, highlight the collection of talent from the USA’s domestic league. Despite being only 17, Adu is the most experienced player on the roster as he has played in the past two FIFA World Youth Championships (now called FIFA U-20 World Cup). In his third year with D.C. United, Adu had his most consistent season, starting 29 of 32 games and registering two goals and a career-high eight assists.
Drafted in the second round of the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, Altidore burst onto the scene at the end of the N.Y. Red Bulls season with three goals in the team’s final seven regular season games, and a fantastic header for the team’s only goal in their two-game playoff with D.C. United. The Boca Raton, Fla., native just turned 17 on Nov. 6 and will get a chance to showcase his skills to his hometown fans.
Galaxy midfielder Quavas Kirk and defender Nathan Sturgis have both seen quality time on the field during their rookie seasons, with Kirk appearing in 22 games and Sturgis starting all 15 of his appearances. The Crew’s Tim Ward has played both defense and midfield during his second season, while an injury limited midfielder Danny Szetela to just four appearances.
FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty, who leads the U-20s with three goals and three assists this year, returns for his fourth camp, while N.Y. Red Bulls forward David Arvizu and New England Revolution midfielder Miguel Gonzalez both return for their third camp with the Under-20s.
Along with the professional players, Rongen has invited in former U-17 Residency midfielder Bryan Arguez, current U-17 Residency goalkeeper Zac MacMath, defender Kyle Davies and forward Ellis McLoughlin. With the 2006 Division I Men’s NCAA Soccer Championship kicking off next week, the number of college players available was limited, but Rongen did invite in Kris Banghart (N.C. Wesleyan College), Nico Mosquera (University of Central Florida) and Anthony Wallace (USF). Arguez, Davies and Wallace have been in with the U-20s this year, but this will be the first camp for MacMath, McLoughlin, Banghart and Mosquera.
The match against Guatemala will be the U.S. Under-20 MNT’s 11th international match of the year. The U.S. is 4-4-2 overall this year, with wins against Argentina, Canada, Haiti and Wales.
U.S. U-20 MNT Roster By Position vs. Guatemala
GOALKEEPERS (2): Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Nicholas Skverer (NEC Nijmegen)
DEFENDERS (7): Kris Banghart (N.C. Wesleyan College), Kyle Davies (Pleasanton, Calif.), Quavas Kirk (L.A. Galaxy), Nathan Sturgis (L.A. Galaxy), Neven Subotic (Mainz 05), Anthony Wallace (USF), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Bryan Arguez (Miami, Fla.), Miguel Gonzalez (New England Revolution), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Nico Mosquera (University of Central Florida), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (4): Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls), David Arvizu (N.Y. Red Bulls), Ellis McLoughlin (Seattle, Wash.), Johann Smith (Bolton FC)