In France it has been called le lieu où naissent les étoiles, the place where stars are born. Always a gathering of the world’s top soccer powers, this year’s 43rd edition of the Toulon Tournament features regular competitors Netherlands, England and host France, as well as Costa Rica, China, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Mexico, Qatar and the USA.
“It’s a huge tournament,” U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog said. “I think at this age group, there’s the World Cup and for sure there’s the Olympic Tournament, but apart from those competitions, this is the biggest tournament in this age group. With all the teams like England, Netherlands, France, Mexico, and the USA competing against each other, at this age group that’s a really, really good competition and it’s a good challenge for us to show that we have a good team together.”
In 1975, Cesar Luis Menotti coached an Argentina youth squad featuring Daniel Passarella, Americo Gallego, Alberto Tarentini, and Jose Daniel Valencia to a championship in the third Toulon Tournament. Three years later, those four players were a part of the Argentina side that won the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Following the win, Menotti recalled Toulon as being a fundamental piece of the players’ development that led to their victory, and hence, le lieu où naissent les étoiles.
In the 40 years since, many of the biggest and most renowned footballers have made their mark in Toulon, and the tournament has proven to be a foreshadower of what’s to come in international play. In 2011, Colombian striker James Rodriguez earned honors as the Toulon Player of the Tournament. Three summers later, Rodriguez burst onto the scene and won the Golden Boot at the 2014 FIFA World cup after scoring six goals in five games.
Other international footballers who have also gained experience in the Toulon Tournament include: Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Javier Mascherano, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Nuno Gomes, Rui Costa and many more.
The U.S. was in Toulon for the tournament in 2013, competing with its U-20 MNT and taking seventh place. Their best finish in Toulon history dates back to 1989, when the team took third place behind Bulgaria and champion France.
This year the U-23’s will try to best that finish. To do that, they will have to navigate through group play matchups with France on May 27, Netherlands on May 29, Costa Rica on May 31 and Qatar on June 2.
U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog spoke with ussoccer.com about the Toulon Tournament and the U-23’s continued preparation for October’s CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship
ussoccer.com: What can you say about this group that’s been brought together for the Toulon Tournament?
Andi Herzog: “I’m happy; I think we have a good group together. It’s mostly the same players we had against Mexico and the first Bosnia and Denmark trips. I want to have a little continuity and hopefully it will work in France. Obviously it’s a situation where a lot of MLS teams have a lot of games during the same time period, so mostly the players starting for the MLS teams were not released.”
ussoccer.com: How does this renowned tournament help prepare the team for the Olympic Qualifying Championship?
AH: “This tournament in France is huge because there are a lot of great opponents. The other thing is we play a game every second day, so we will need everyone on the field and we’ll have to make a lot of changes from game to game. I think it’s a great chance for every single player to be able to be a big part of the team who will qualify for the Olympics.”
ussoccer.com: How did the fact that the tournament schedule features games every other day go into the makeup of this roster?
AH: “It’s clear: You need to double up every position. Overall we have a good group together with some young kids playing, like Marc Pelosi coming back after a long injury, so it will be interesting to see all of them.”
ussoccer.com: Over the years a number of the world’s great international footballers have played in this tournament. What does that say about the challenge ahead for the team?
AH: “It’s a great challenge and it’s a great opportunity for us to play against some of the best. The France team is the defending World Champion at the Under-20 level from two years ago in Turkey. They were the best team in the world two years ago and they are our first opponent, so that will be a real good possibility to see how good we already are.”
“It’s a huge tournament. I think at this age group, there’s the World Cup and for the Olympics, but apart from those competition, this is the biggest tournament in this age group. You have all the regular teams like England, Netherlands, France, Mexico, USA competing against each other, so at this age group that’s a really, really good competition.
ussoccer.com: How would you describe the form of the players on the roster coming in?
AH: “We have two or three players that had injuries before, but I talked to them and they’re fine, so it’s normal. For every National Team coach it’s always the same. You don’t train on a regular basis, so it’s just from month to month you see your players. That’s why I want to keep going always with most of the same players if they do well. Hopefully we made the right decisions.
AH: “Developing players for the senior National Tam has to be our goal. I think for a youth team it’s important to compete on the highest level at World Cups and Olympics, but overall the most important thing is you get at least two or three players for the National Team as regular starters afterwards. Otherwise we did a bad job as coaches.”
CHICAGO (May 24, 2015) - U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog has named 19 players to the roster for the 2015 Toulon Tournament, which runs from May 27-June 7 in the south of France.
Herzog will make one addition to complete the 20-player roster, which will officially be submitted on Tuesday evening.
“Toulon is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world at this age level, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the world,” said Herzog. “Having seen matches here many times before, I know the type of talent we will face. This is huge for us as we get ready for qualification this October, and is another step in the development of our players in international competition.”
Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton; Maple Grove, Minn.), Charlie Horton (Cardiff City; Cleveland, Ohio), Tyler Miller (Zweibrücken; Woodbury, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (7): Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United; Catonsville, Md.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Sam Strong (Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Daniel Metzger (Unattached; Holmdel, N.J.), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool; Sunnyvale, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Julian Green (Bayern Munich; Tampa, Fla.); Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Tex.), Jerome Kiesewetter (Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.).
The last time the U.S. competed in the Toulon Tournament came in 2013 when they sent the U-20 MNT. Seven players from that roster return for this edition of the tournament.
The tournament comprises two five-team groups. The United States is with Costa Rica, France, Netherlands and Qatar in Group A. Group B consists of China PR, England, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Morocco. The top teams from each group will meet in the final on June 7, and the second-place teams from each group will play for third place that day.
The U-23s have logged three matches in 2015 (2-1-0), opening with a 5-2 win over Bosnia and falling 0-1 to Denmark in March before bouncing back with a 3-0 win against Mexico on April 22 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The Toulon event will play a part in the team’s continued preparations for the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, which will be played in the United States from Oct. 1-13.
- Seven players from this roster were a part of the U-20 MNT which competed in the 2013 Toulon Tournament.
- Eleven players from this roster were a part of the group that most recently defeated Mexico 3-0 in Carson. Cody Cropper made seven saves to earn the shutout in the game, while Jordan Morris scored a goal, and Dillon Serna and Shane O’Neill both recorded assists.
- Five players were a part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Cody Cropper, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill.
- Jordan Morris made his first start and scored his first international goal with the senior MNT during the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
- Morris is the leading goalscorer on this roster. In two matches in 2015 he has scored two goals, and overall in his four-game career with the U-23’s he has scored three times.
- Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Alonso Hernandez, and Benji Joya are the most experienced players at the U-23 level, having each earned five caps.
- Six players on this roster come from European clubs, five from MLS, three are from Mexico-based clubs, three are unattached and two compete at the collegiate level.
- Cropper, Green, Morris, O’Neill and Serna have all been part of a U.S. MNT senior camp this year.
- Julian Green played in the U.S. MNT’s Round of 16 match against Belgium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and scored a goal, becoming the youngest player to score in a World Cup game since 2006.
CHICAGO (May 14, 2015) – The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has revealed the four U.S. cities that will host the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, scheduled to be played Oct. 1-13.
Denver, Kansas City and Los Angeles will serve as hosts for group stage matches, while Sandy, Utah, will be the site of the decisive semifinals on Oct. 10, as well as the final and third-place match on Oct. 13.
The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team, along with Canada and Mexico, will be joined by three nations from the Central American region and two from the Caribbean, with qualifiers in those regions scheduled for August. The draw for the championship is scheduled for mid-August, and will set the complete tournament schedule and kickoff times.
The eight qualified nations will be divided into two groups of four. The U.S. is seeded in Group A, which kicks off at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, on Oct. 1. Defending champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Mexico will head Group B, set to begin play the next day at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
“One of the great things about all of these venues has been the amazing support the fans have given the National Team,” U.S. U-23 MNT head coach Andi Herzog said. “We have seen how much of an impact our fans have, and we need them more than ever as we strive to represent the United States in the 2016 Olympics.”
Kansas City and Los Angeles will also stage the second round of group matches on Oct. 3-4, while Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, hosts all eight teams for the final games of the group phase on Oct. 6-7.
The top two finishers in each group after round-robin play will advance to the semifinals. The two finalists qualify directly to the 2016 Olympic Football Tournament in Rio de Janeiro, while the winner of the third-place match will earn the right to face South American Olympic qualifying runner-up Colombia in a playoff for an additional spot.
Ticket information will be announced at a later date. Those interested in priority access to tickets should consider joining the U.S. Soccer Supporters Club.
CHICAGO (May 4, 2015) --The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will compete in the 43rd edition of the renowned Toulon Tournament, which runs from May 27-June 7 in southeastern France.
The U.S. will collide with some of the world’s best teams, facing off with 2014 Toulon Tournament-runner up France on May 27, Netherlands on May 29, Costa Rica on May 31 and Qatar on June 2. The championship and third-place games are scheduled for June 7 and will take place in Toulon.
“Toulon is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world at this age level, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the world,” said U.S. head coach Andi Herzog. “Having seen matches here many times before, I know the type of talent we will face. This is huge for us as we get ready for qualification this October, and is another step in the development of our players in international competition.”
The tournament is comprised of two five-team groups. The U.S. is joined by Costa Rica, France, Netherlands and Qatar in Group A, while Group B consists of China PR, England, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Morocco. The top teams from each group will meet in the tournament final on June 7, and the second-place teams from each group will play in a third-place game also set to take place on June 7.
The first Tournoi Espoirs de Toulon was played in 1967 and included club teams. Since 1974, the tournament has been limited to international teams. The USA’s best finish came in 1989, when it finished in third place, behind Bulgaria and tournament-champion France. The U.S. last appeared in the tournament in 2013, where the U-20 MNT went 1-3-0.
The U-23s have logged three matches in 2015 (2-1-0), opening with a 5-2 win over Bosnia and falling 0-1 to Denmark in March before bouncing back with a 3-0 win against Mexico on April 22 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. This tournament will play a part in the team’s continued preparations for the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, which will be played in the United States from Oct. 1-13.
CHICAGO (April 29, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will convene in England for camp in early September, highlighted by matches with England’s U-23 National Team on Thursday, Sept. 3 and Qatar’s U-23 National Team on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
“We are absolutely excited about this invitation to compete with these teams,” U.S. U-23 MNT head coach Andi Herzog said. “We have emphasized the need for this group to be together as much as possible, and to get another chance to train and play against England and Qatar will be a great opportunity to evaluate players as we look to finalize our roster for Olympic Qualifying.”
The camp serves as part of the preparation process for qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship will be played in the United States from Oct. 1-13.
The U-23s have logged three matches in 2015 (2-1-0), opening with a 5-2 win over Bosnia and falling 0-1 to Denmark in March before bouncing back with a 3-0 win over Mexico on April 22 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Next month, the team will be back together for the renowned Toulon Tournament in France at the end of May. There, the U-23’s will collide with some of the world’s best teams, facing off with France on May 27, Netherlands on May 29, Costa Rica on May 31 and Qatar on June 2. The championship and third place games are scheduled for June 7.
Photos from the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team 3-0 victory over its counterpart from Mexico at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on April 22, 2015. Los Angeles-area native Mario Rodriguez started the scoring for the U.S. in the second half. Fellow California Christian Dean followed up with his first international goal for the USA before Stanford University sophomore Jordan Morris capped off the night with his second goal against Mexico in as many games. Morris also scored the winning goal for the senior MNT in its 2-0 win against Mexico the week before. Additionally, U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper turned in a fine performance, stopping all seven shots on goal he faced to earn his first shutout of the year for the U-23s.
The U-23 MNT will next be in action come the end of May when the team travels to France for the international Toulon Tournament. The USA will face France (May 27), the Netherlands (May 29), Costa Rica (May 31) and Qatar (June 2) during group play of the competition as it continues preparation for Olympic Qualifying, which kicks off this fall and will take place throughout the United States.
CARSON, Calif. (April 22, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team defeated archrival Mexico 3-0, behind goals from Mario Rodriguez, Christian Dean and Jordan Morris at StubHub Center. The win was the second-straight for the U-23 MNT over its Mexico counterpart, after the USA won 2-0 in the last matchup between the two nations on Feb. 29, 2012.
In eight matches between the U.S. U-23 MNT and Mexico since 1992 (when Olympic soccer was first designated as an Under-23 tournament), the USA has gone 6-2-0, (4-0-0 on U.S. soil) including tonight’s win.
U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper, who saved all seven shots on goal he faced, earned his first shutout of 2015 and the first for any U.S. U-23 MNT goalkeeper this year.
The U-23 MNT next comes together for the Toulon Tournament, which runs from May 27-June 7 in Toulon, France. The USA will face France (May 27), Netherlands (May 29), Costa Rica (May 31) and Qatar (June 2).
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Mario Rodriguez (Luis Gil), 48th Minute: Starting from the center, U.S. midfielder Fatai Alashe played a ball out to the left where Luis Gil ran onto it and continued with pace down the left side. Gil angled a pinpoint cross past a closing defender into the box where a sliding Rodriguez volleyed it into the lower right-hand side of the net for the first goal of the game. USA 1, MEX 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Christian Dean (Dillon Serna), 58th minute: Mexico’s Bernardo Hernandez was called for a foul on Mario Rodriguez on the left side of the field, earning the U.S. a free kick. Dillon Serna sent the left-footed free kick into the box where an unmarked Christian Dean headed his shot past helpless Mexico goalkeeper Luis Cardenas into the left side of the frame for his first goal with the U.S. USA 2, MEX 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Jordan Morris (Shane O’Neill), 68th minute: From a corner kick, Luis Gil sent a high looping ball to the far side of the six yard box. Shane O’Neill ripped in a hard, one-time cross as the ball bounced to him and Morris met the pass with a leaping, left-footed volley that Cardenas got a hand to but was unable to keep from powering into the goal for the final margin. USA 3, MEX 0 (FINAL) (SEE GOAL)
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Cody Cropper (Save), 1st minute: Before the game was a minute old, Mexico played a ball through the middle and ripped a shot that forced Cody Cropper into a diving save, which he barely reached and pushed out of play.
USA – Cody Cropper (Save), 33rd minute: Mexico’s Angel Saldivar pushed at top speed from the right side and flicked a last chance effort at goal before reaching the endline, which Cropper brought in with two hands to keep the game level.
MEX – Luis Cardenas (Save), 41st minute: Luis Gil brought down a deflected ball in the box from 15 yards out, took a touch and a turn, and fired on goal. The shot went straight at Cardenas, who dropped to a knee and collected.
USA – Cody Cropper (Save), 45th minute: Mexico whipped in a dangerous cross from a corner kick, and Cropper dove out to snag a flick-on right in front of goal, preserving the scoreless the first half.
MEX – Luis Cardenas (Save), 54th minute: Daniel Metzger was first to a deflected ball just outside of the Mexico box, collecting it and sending a hard shot at goal from distance. Cardenas dove and just reached the ball to knock it out of play.
USA – Cody Cropper (Save), 64th minute: Angel Saldivar shrugged off his defender at the top of the box and sent a curling shot to the far post, which Cropper leaped for and tipped out of play.
USA – Cody Cropper (Save), 73rd minute: A long bouncing ball was played into the box which a streaking Mexico player met with a tricky header. Cropper was equal to the task, diving and deflecting the ball to safety to keep the shutout.
- The U-23s began the game in a diamond 4-4-2 formation, the same formation used by the senior U.S. team in its match against Mexico on April 15.
- Mario Rodriguez scored the game’s first goal; it was his second of the year.
- Rodriguez, a Los Angeles-area native from North Hollywood, made the start at forward. The Borussia Mönchengladbach forward spent time playing in the LA Galaxy’s youth system.
- Jordan Morris has now scored twice against Mexico in as many games, recording a goal with the senior MNT last week against Mexico in San Antonio, and again tonight. Morris also scored for the U.S. U-23 MNT in the team’s win over Bosnia earlier this year.
- Luis Gil now leads the team with four assists in 2015.
- Gil wore the captain’s armband for the third straight game.
- Oscar Sorto, a Los Angeles native who plays for the LA Galaxy, made the start for the U-23s, playing in his club’s home stadium, StubHub Center.
- It was also a homecoming for Jose Villarreal, who plays for the LA Galaxy and entered in for Alejandro Guido in the game’s 24th Minute.
- Christian Dean’s goal was his first at any level of his Youth National Team career with the USA.
- U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team vs. Mexico U-23
Date: April 22, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: StubHub Center; Carson, California
Kickoff: 8 p.m. PT
Weather: 61 degrees; Cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 3 3
MEX 0 0 0
USA – Mario Rodriguez (Luis Gil) 48th minute
USA – Christian Dean (Dillon Serna) 58
USA – Jordan Morris (Shane O’Neill) 68
USA: 1-Cody Cropper; 20-Oscar Sorto (3-Boyd Okwuonu, 68), 5-Walker Zimmerman (6-Christian Dean, 46), 4-Shane O’Neill, 7-Dillon Serna (2-Juan Pablo Ocegueda, 81); 14-Fatai Alashe, 13-Alejandro Guido (17-Jose Villareal, 24; 16-Daniel Metzger, 40), 8-Benji Joya, 10-Luis Gil (capt.); 9-Jordan Morris, 18-Mario Rodriguez (11-Alonso Hernandez, 72)
Subs Not Used: 12-Jon Kempin, 15-Alfred Koroma Shams, 19-Sam Strong
Head coach: Andreas Herzog
MEX: 1-Luis Cardenas; 2-Gil Buron, 4-Luis Guzman, 3-Luis Solorio, 5-Jorge Caballero (15-Bernardo Hernandez, 46); 7-Jorge Espericueta (14-Michael Perez, 59), 11-Daniel Hernandez, 16-Rafael Escamilla (6-Pedro Hernandez, 46); 8-Uvaldo Luna (17-Carlos Cisneros, 74), 9-Angel Zaldivar, 10-Marco Bueno (capt.) (18-Rosario Cota, 46)
Subs Not Used: 12-Manuel Lajud, 13-Pedro Teran, 19-Jose Alberto Garcia, 20-Ulises Jaimes
Head coach: Raul Gutierrez
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 12 / 14
Shots on Goal: 5 / 7
Saves: 7 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 10
Fouls: 15 / 10
Offside: 0 / 1
USA – Mario Rodriguez (caution) 21st minute
USA – Fatai Alashe (caution) 38
USA – Shane O’Neill (caution) 43
USA –Boyd Okwuonu (caution) 90+1
Referee: David Gantar (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Belleau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Philippe Briere (CAN)
4th Official: Mathieu Bourdeau (CAN)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Mario Rodriguez