With five U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams conducting training camps at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this week, a large contingent of possible future full MNT and WNT players will be on display in the Sunshine State.
On the men’s side, the Under-18, Under-15 and the Under-17 Men’s National Teams will be playing games against each other, local clubs and formidable university squads. On the women’s side, the Under-16 and Under-17 Women’s National Teams will face international competition in the form of the Under-17 national teams of Germany and Canada.
Besides the U-17 MNT that trains in Bradenton all year in U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program, the four other national teams arrived this past weekend and have already been going through the rigors of two-a-day training sessions. With all four YNTs playing games throughout the week, ussoccer.com will provide results and special features on the teams and individual players to give fans a chance to get to know more about U.S. Soccer’s youth programs.
FOUR MATCHES TODAY AS ALL FIVE U.S. YNT TEAMS IN ACTION: All five of the youth national teams that are training in Bradenton this week are playing matches this afternoon. Below are previews for each matchup. The game reports for each match will be available later this evening at ussoccer.com.
- U-18 MNT vs. Notre Dame (3:30 p.m. ET)
The U-18 MNT will have its hands full as the Irish are coming off a historical year in which they compiled a 16-3-4 record, finished the regular season ranked third in the nation, had an eight game winning streak (third best in team history), won just their second Big East Conference Tournament with a 2-0 win over St. John’s in the championship match and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's College Cup. Notre Dame’s impressive season was cut short by the surprising Michigan Wolverines, who ended their season 4-3 in penalty kicks after battling to a 1-1 draw in the NCAA tournament. Two players with the Irish, defender Greg Dalby and forward Nate Norman, will now be on the other side as they had played for the U-18 MNT last year.
- U-17 ’88 MNT vs. U-15 MNT (3:30 p.m. ET)
When these two U.S. national teams last met in March, the U-17s powered through with a 3-0 victory behind goals with former Residency players Robbie Rogers, Chase Wileman and Tomiwa Ogunsola. This year, the age gap will be a little smaller as the U-15s, compiled of predominantly ‘89s, will face the younger U-17 ‘88s, which are a combination of ‘88s and six recently added ‘89s (who would have otherwise been with the U-15s). Winning this match comes secondary to gaining experience against an older, quicker and more seasoned squad for head coach Jim Barlow and the U-15s, but you can bet the younger fellas want nothing more than to knock off their older counterparts. The U-17s will do everything they can so their younger opponents have nothing to hold over their heads for the year.
- U-17 WNT vs. Canada U-17 (4 p.m. ET)
In their second full year, the U.S. Under-17 WNT will be looking to keep their international record squeaky clean. The U-17s snagged victories in their three international victories in 2003, not allowing a single goal, as they defeated Canada 4-0 in San Diego on Feb. 8, and Germany twice (3-0 and 2-0) in Bradenton in early March. With the only other international match being a 3-0 victory over Scotland in November of 2002, the U-17s have yet to allow a goal in four matches. Keeping their streak alive will be a tough task, as Canada’s youth teams have continually improved over the years and would like nothing more than to beat the U.S. on their home turf.
- U-16 WNT vs. Germany U-17 (2 p.m. ET)
Last year, in the exact same week, these two teams met at the same field they will meet today and they are still looking for a clear-cut winner. The U.S. Under-16s and the German U-17s played twice last year (March 8 and 11) and both matches ended in draws, 1-1 and 2-2. After Germany knocked the U.S. WNT out of the World Cup last year with a 3-0 victory in the semifinals, the U-16s might be looking for a little payback.
UPDATED YNT GAME SCHEDULES FOR THE WEEK: Although days of games and times may change periodically throughout the week, here is the most current schedule for the Youth National Teams while they compete in Bradenton:
Date Opponent Time (ET)
March 10 University of Virginia 11:30 a.m.
March 12 U-17 MNT 3:30 p.m.
U-17 ’88 MNT
Date Opponent Time (ET)
March 12 U-18 MNT 3:30 p.m.
March 13 U-17 Renegades 10 a.m.
Date Opponent Time (ET)
March 11 IMG U-17 4:30 p.m.
March 12 Clearwater Chargers 4 p.m.
March 13 Boca Juniors (local club) 10 a.m.
Date Opponent Time (ET)
March 11 U-16 WNT 11 a.m.
March 12 Germany U-17 2 p.m.
Date Opponent Time (ET)
March 11 U-17 WNT 11 a.m.
March 12 Canada U-17 1 p.m.
U-17 WNT START WEEK WITH A BANG: The U-17 WNT kicked off their training camp with a 5-0 victory over the U-18 IMG Girls’ team on Sunday (March 7). The U.S. was in control for the majority of the 70-minute match, applying pressure from the opening whistle. The first goal came in just the 5th minute as Hayley Siegel finished off a service from Kiara Bosio. Lauren Cheney and Kylie Rossie contributed to the next two goals as Rossie set up Cheney in the 14th minute and then Cheney returned the favor in the 30th minute. Amy Rodriguez scored the final two goals in the 56th and 64th minutes, both of them unassisted.
U.S. U-17 WNT vs. IMG U-18
March 7, 2004
U.S. U-17 – 5 (Hayley Siegel, Lauren Cheney, Kylie Rossie, Amy Rodriguez )
IMG U-18 -- 0
Kelsey Davis (Meagan McCray, 36); Ashley Nick (Tobin Heath, 36), Allison Fries, Kasey Moore (Caroline Walden, 36), Stefani Rocco; Brittany Bock (Amanda Lebo, 24 ; Kristina Larsen, 40), Kylee Rossi, Hayley Siegel (Courtney Rosen, 36), Cydne Currie (Ashley Myers, 36); Lauren Cheney (Marihelen Tomer, 36) , Kiara Bosio (Kelly Quinn, 24 ; Amy Rodriguez, 50).
U-18 MNT GETS EARLY TEST WITH SCRIMMAGE WITH UNIV. OF VIRGINIA: The U.S. Under-18 MNT got a little taste of what their match-up against the University of Virginia will be like on Wednesday (March 10) as the two teams scrimmaged on Monday afternoon, dividing up the match into three 20-minute sessions to allow every player the chance to get on the pitch. Virginia came out on top 2-0, getting their first goal off an errant own goal.
A HOMECOMING FOR A NUMBER OF CAVALIERS: Coming to Bradenton means a homecoming for some of the University of Virginia players who had been part of U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program a few years back. Chefik Simo (00-01), Paul Johnson (00-01), Hunter Freeman (00-01) and Drew Harrison (02-03) all spent time living in the dorms and playing on the fields at IMG Academy. Simo and Johnson are both ‘84s and participated in the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago.
JULES TO TALK WITH OTHER YNT PLAYERS: If you’ve gone to check out ussoccer.com in the past six months, you’ve most likely come to enjoy “The Valentin Chronicles” by U.S. Under-17 ’87 defender Julian Valentin, who details his life in residency camp. Jules, as he likes to be called, will be back at it this week as he’ll give you some insight into some of the other youth teams that are visiting his “home away from home” this week in Bradenton. The future Wake Forest journalism student will interview a couple players and with his wit and flair that you’ve come to love, find out what their national team experience has been like.
FREDDY, FREDDY, FREDDY...STUDY, STUDY, STUDY: Freddy Adu hasn’t been training as much with the U-17s, but it’s for a good reason. Adu has been buried under a pile of books as he spends countless hours studying, even after a long day of school, in the pursuit of graduating from high school before he begins his professional soccer career with D.C. United and MLS. While the recent No. 1 pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft in January did not attend practice yesterday, he was seen later that night walking back to his dorm room with his school books stacked up under his arm. It seems Adu’s determination is not only present on the soccer field, as his hard work has kept him on course to graduate before his inaugural game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, April 3.
LOST BALLS? I THINK NOT: During the U-18 MNT scrimmage against the University of Virginia, not a single ball was lost in the heavy foliage just a mere few feet from one sideline of the field. Part of the reason was due to a young kid wielding a long handle pool net. (Yes, the same device usually used to scoop leaves out of the family pool.) While there is about an eight-foot net surrounding that side of the field to stop the ball from venturing into the green to never be seen again, a number of balls were able to clear the deterrent. The youngster did well to slip behind the net and eventually come out with the ball, presumably using the long handle on the pool net to pull it from the weeds. A number of the players thought the use of the pool net was a bit odd, but also hoped the kid would use it as a catchers mitt and snag a ball in mid air before it cleared the surrounding net.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’ll get on that once I can grow facial hair,”
- U-17 ’87 goalkeeper Stephen Sandbo when asked if he was going to grow muttonchops, similar to fellow teammate and ‘keeper Marcus Rein.