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U-20 Players Talk About the World Cup Draw

CHICAGO (March 3, 2007) - Members of the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team talk about being drawn into Group D of the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup with Korea Republic, Poland and Brazil.

Captain Freddy Adu
On being place in Group D:
“I think we obviously have a hard group but I’m excited about this opportunity. We are going to find out how good we are playing against these teams and if we play well enough to get out of the group we will be well prepared for the second round because all three games are going to be tough.”

On facing Brazil:
“Brazil always has one of the best teams in every age group and it’s a great opportunity for us to show we can play against the best in the world on the world stage. People are going to be watching and it is going to be a great atmosphere I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it.”

Defender Nathan Sturgis
On the draw:
“It’s definitely an interesting group. You’ve got Brazil from South America, then Poland from Europe and Korea from Asia, so it’s a very diverse group.”

On the schedule of games:
“The big game for us is the first game against Korea. Winning that game will start us off on the right foot. The Brazil game will be a big game as they are obviously very good.”

On playing on artificial turf:
“Some of the stadiums in the MLS are turf, so I’ve played on it before. I don’t feel like it’s a huge difference, but it will be something we’ll have to adjust to.”

On how important it is to get:
“As of right now, that’s obviously the game we have to focus on. In group play the first game is always important because if you get a win it puts you in the front of the group. If you lose or tie, it really puts you against the wall because there is a lot of pressure to do well in the next two games.”

On playing in close to the U.S. in Canada:
“I’m pretty sure my family is going to make the trip, so hopefully we’ll get some good fan support. It will be nice to have some fans on the road.’

Defender Tim Ward
On the draw:
“I think it’s a very tough group we’re definitely going to have our work cut out for us. It’s going to be a tough challenge but one I’m looking forward to. Luckily, I’ve been able to play against all three of these teams with the youth national teams.”

On Brazil:
“Brazil is probably the favorite along with Argentina, but anytime you get the chance to play against a country like that its always exciting and an honor.  It will be a very hard game but we can’t look too much at it now as we must focus on the first game against South Korea.”

On playing in Canada:
“I’ve never been to Canada, but I hear that there are very nice cities. It should be interesting to play in an indoor stadium (in Montreal), it will be a first for me.”

Defender/Midfielder Quavas Kirk
On his first reaction when he heard the draw:
“My first reaction was: ‘wow’. There are some really good teams in our group, but I think we can do well and hopefully move on.”

On the first match against South Korea:
“It is really important. Once you win your first game, you are basically in the drivers’ seat. So, you have to come out and win that first game. You have to have that mentality.”

On playing on turf:
“I don’t think it’s a big factor. It won’t be bad. If we have to play on it, we’ll just have to deal with it.”

On Korea Republic:
“They can run forever. They are an extremely fit team and are really tough to break down because they’re pretty strong. It will take a lot of pressure to break them down.”

Midfielder Danny Szetela
On what it will mean to him to play Poland in a World Cup due to his Polish background:
“I played Poland before, but never in a World Cup. It will be exciting since I have a Polish background with my parents being from Poland. It will be interesting to go up against their best players. It some ways it’s like going up against my second country. I’m really looking forward to it.”

On playing Brazil:
“I want to play against the best teams in the world, which is definitely where Brazil stands. It will be interesting to see where we stand.”