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U.S. MNT Gears Up For Olympic Qualifying With Bradenton Training Camp


U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Training Camp Notes
Bradenton, Fla.
March 6, 2008


THE COUNTDOWN IS ON: With just five days before the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team kicks off 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, head coach Peter Nowak is putting his squad through final preparations in Bradenton, Fla. The U.S., which began their final training camp on March 1, will move locations on Sunday, March 9, to Tampa, the location of their first-round qualifying games. The U.S. will open up against Cuba on March 11 at 8 p.m. ET in Group A play, before facing Panama on March 13 at 8 p.m. ET and Honduras on March 15 at 7 p.m. ET. All three U.S. games will be the second match of doubleheaders taking place at Raymond James Stadium.

2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying
Group A (Tampa, Florida; Raymond James Stadium)

Date           Home          Visitor        Kickoff (local)   Television
March 11   Panama      Honduras 5:30 p.m. ET     FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 11   USA             Cuba          8 p.m. ET           FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 13   Honduras   Cuba          5:30 p.m. ET     FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 13   USA              Panama    8 p.m. ET          FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 15   Cuba            Panama    4:30 p.m. ET     FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 15   USA              Honduras  7 p.m. ET          FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com

ONLY ROOM FOR TWO: The U.S. is one of eight teams in the final round of qualifying fighting for two berths to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Along with the U.S., three opponents in Group A, Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico are facing off in Group B play on March 12, 14 and 16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The top two from each group will move on to the semifinals, which will be played at LP Field in Nashville on Thursday, March 20. The two semifinal winners will book their tickets to China and a chance to earn a medal at the Olympic Games this August. On Sunday, March 23 there will also be a championship and third-place game in Nashville.

2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying
Group B (Carson, California; The Home Depot Center)

Date           Home          Visitor           Kickoff (local)     Television
March 12   Haiti             Guatemala   5:30 p.m. PT      ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 12   Canada       Mexico           8 p.m. PT           ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 14   Canada       Haiti               5:30 p.m. PT     ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 14   Mexico         Guatemala   8 p.m. PT           ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 16   Guatemala Canada         3:30 p.m. PT     ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 16   Mexico         Haiti               6 p.m. PT           ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com

Final Stage (Nashville, Tennessee; LP Field)
Date           Matchup                    Kickoff (local)    Television
March 20   Semifinal 1 *            5 p.m. CT           FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 20   Semifinal 2 *            8 p.m. CT           FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 23   Third-Place Match   1 p.m. CT           FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
March 23   Final                           4 p.m. CT           FSC/ESPN Deportes/ESPN360.com
* Winner advances to 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

CATCH THE GAMES LIVE ON FSC AND ESPN DEPORTES: Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN Deportes will be televising the USA’s path towards an Olympic berth live, as the English-language and Spanish-language exclusive rights holders, respectively. FSC will broadcast seven games live, including all three USA group games, both semifinal matches and the final and third-place games. ESPN Deportes will broadcast all 16 matches of the tournament. Along with ESPN Deportes, ESPN360.com will also show all 16 games live online, and will have a replay of each game available on demand for 48-hours following its completion.

FINAL ROSTER TO BE NAMED ON SUNDAY: U.S. Under-23 MNT head coach Peter Nowak invited in 24 players to participate in the team’s final training camp before 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, but Nowak will reduce that by four to get to the final 20-player roster that will compete in the tournament. The final 20-player roster may include players not in the Bradenton training camp, and will be announced prior to the team’s arrival in Tampa on March 9, two days before the U.S. opens the qualifying tournament on March 11 against Cuba.

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Training Camp Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Dominic Cervi (out of contract), Tally Hall (Esbjerg fB), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hil (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Mike Randolph (LA Galaxy), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Arturo Alvarez (FC Dallas), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)
FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)

TICKETS STILL ON SALE: Tickets are still available for all 16 matches being played during 2008 Olympic Qualifying. Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each of the eight doubleheaders in the tournament are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 813-287-8844 (Tampa), 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles) or 615-255-9600 (Nashville) and at local Ticketmaster ticket centers in the venue cities (Tampa | Los Angeles | Nashville).

MARVELL-OUS: While in Bradenton, ussoccer.com took some time to catch up with Toronto FC defender Marvell Wynne. The California native spoke about quality time at the beach, his music collection and of course, his teammates as they move towards qualifying next week.

LIFE OF CHARLIE: Charlie Davies gave ussoccer.com an update on training camp, and talked about the last few days leading up to qualifying in an exclusive podcast interview. The Hammarby IF forward trained with Chivas USA between Under-23 camps, avoided the Swedish winter and is now ready to take on some CONCACAF opponents.

BLOG IT UP: The team’s return to Bradenton also marks the return of the Under-23 blog, which is now part of the YNT Blog. Catch up on all the exclusive photos, video and behind-the-scenes scoop at http://ynt-ussoccer.blogspot.com/.

HANDS-ON ASSISTANTS: Head coach Peter Nowak has assembled a staff for Olympic Qualifying that includes former MLS Defender of the Year Lubos Kubik, who also made 56 appearances for the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia). MNT assistant Mike Sorber has also joined the U-23s from St. Louis. Tim Mulqueen, who was part of the American delegation at last year’s Under-20 World Cup, has taken up the duty of goalkeeper coach.

QUICK HITS:

  • Most of the 24 players in camp arrived Saturday, while some came in on Sunday and Freddy Adu completed the group on Monday evening.
  • There are 10 players on the roster who have earned full-team caps, with Benny Feilhaber leading the way with 15 total appearances for the senior side. Eddie Gaven and Sacha Kljestan have five each, while Adu and Maurice Edu both have four.
  • Jozy Altidore scored his first goal for the MNT in his first start for the team on February 6 against Mexico. He was also the fourth-leading goal scorer overall at the 2007 Under-20 World Cup in Canada, tallying four goals in five games.
  • A total of seven players, including Altidore, were part of the USA’s quarterfinal run in Canada at the U-20 World Cup last summer.
  • Seven players – Adu, Charlie Davies, Feilhaber, Tally Hall, Kamani Hill, Michael Orozco and Sal Zizzo – ply their trade outside of Major League Soccer. Orozco plays for San Luis in Mexico, with the rest of the group playing across the Atlantic.
  • The MLS contingent is led by Edu, who earned 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year honors and Kljestan, who ranked third in Major League Soccer with 13 assists in 2007.
  • Of the 17 domestic-based players in camp, Real Salt Lake has the most representatives with the trio of Robbie Findley, Chris Seitz and Nathan Sturgis.
  • 15 players in camp were part of the U-23 MNT’s December trip to China, where they played two friendlies against the Olympic hosts, coming away with two draws. Robbie Rogers, Pat Ianni and Davies all tallied goals in the 3-3 draw on December 16 in Guangzhou.

 

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