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Under-20 and Under-17 Men's National Teams Learn First Round Opponents for CONCACAF Championships

CHICAGO (Jan. 15, 2008) – The U.S. Under-20 and Under-17 Men’s National Teams learned their group opponents for their respective CONCACAF Championships to be held this spring. The U-20s will face Jamaica, El Salvador and either Honduras or St. Vincent & the Grenadines in Bacolet, Tobago. The U-17s were drawn into Group A and will face Canada, Cuba and Honduras in the first stage in Tijuana, Mexico.

The U-20 Championship, which will be held from March 6-15, will qualify four regional teams to the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The U-17 Championship, held from April 21-May 2, will send four teams to the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

The tournaments will mark the first time since 1996 that the events will be held as a regional championship in a single venue. The U.S. Under-20s topped Group A in Panama to book their place in Canada 2007, while the U-17s earned a place in Korea 2007 by winning their group in Jamaica.

Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen and his squad will be based in Dwight York Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago for their first three group games, with the final schedule still to be determined.

The U.S. will face the winner of a two-leg playoff series between Honduras and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, who will be battling for the eighth and final place in the regional tournament. El Salvador won the Central American tournament to earn their place in T&T while Jamaica won its group in Caribbean qualifying. The U.S., Canada and Mexico qualified for the final round automatically, along with hosts Trinidad & Tobago.

Should the U.S. advance out of Group A, they will qualify for the U-20 World Cup as one of the region’s top four teams. They will also travel to Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad for the semifinals and either the third-place game or final, which will decide the CONCACAF crown.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup will be held in Egypt from Sept. 25 – Oct. 17, 2009. The U.S., which will be looking to qualify for their record seventh-straight FIFA Under-20 World Cup, finished seventh at their last U-20 World Cup run in 2007 after advancing to the quarterfinals.

The U.S. U-17 MNT will play Canada, Cuba and Honduras at Estadio Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico, the single venue being used for that tournament.

Honduras won their group during Central American qualifying to advance to Tijuana, while Cuba won the Caribbean tournament. Canada, along with the U.S. and Mexico, was one of three countries to automatically reach the final round.

Wilmer Cabrera will be at the helm of his first qualifying tournament, and will attempt to continue the U.S. streak of being the only team to qualify for every FIFA event at this age level. Four teams will earn a berth to the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which is slated for Nigeria from Oct. 24-Nov. 15. In 2007, the U.S. advanced to the Round of 16 in South Korea.

CONCACAF Under-20 Championship

Group A Group B
USA Canada
El Salvador Costa Rica
Jamaica Mexico
Honduras/St. Vincent & the Grenadines Trinidad & Tobago

CONCACAF Under-17 Championship
Group A  Group B
USA                                     Costa Rica
Canada Guatemala
Cuba Mexico
Honduras Trinidad & Tobago