CHICAGO (Nov. 13, 2003) — United States Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen named his 20-player roster that will represent the U.S. at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates from Nov. 27-Dec. 19. Of the players selected, 15 were part of the squad that took second in Charleston, S.C., in November of last year to qualify for the USA’s fourth consecutive World Youth Championship.
The team will travel to UAE on Saturday, Nov. 22 and conduct a week of training before the tournament, which will include a friendly against Panama on Tuesday, Nov. 25 in Abu Dhabi. The U.S. was drawn into Group F and will play all three of its games at Al-Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The Under-20s will open the tournament on Nov. 29 against Paraguay, before meeting Germany on Dec. 2, and finishing group play against South Korea on Dec. 5. Every U.S. match at the World Youth Championship can be followed live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. All three U.S. games will also be televised in the U.S. on Galavision (see schedule below).
“All of these players have worked hard to convince me and the rest of the coaching staff that they are ready to compete at the World Championship,” Rongen said. “We’ve been preparing for two years now and I believe this team is ready for the challenge they will be faced with in UAE. We have a mix of college and professional players that can hopefully lead us out of our group and towards our ultimate goal of getting to the final.”
Rongen selected a squad with a large amount of professional experience, as eight players are currently playing in Major League Soccer and two players playing professionally in Europe. Additionally, exactly half the squad will bring world championship experience as ten players on the team participated with the U.S. in the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad and Tobago.
Leading the team is D.C. United midfielder Bobby Convey, who topped the U.S. Men’s National Team this year with 15 appearances and snagged his first goal of his career with a dramatic game-winning strike against Costa Rica in the Third Place match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Convey, who has played with the U-20s since 2000, already has experience in the FIFA World Youth Championship as he played in the tournament two years ago in Argentina.
A pair of MetroStars, forward Mike Magee and defender Ricardo Clark, just completed their rookie MLS campaigns with impressive performances. Clark played in 28 of 32 games during the regular season to lead the MetroStars in minutes played, while also scoring three goals and notching one assist. Magee played in 29 games and finished tied for second in scoring with seven goals and two assists for 16 points. Both players have been instrumental to the Under-20 squad the past two years as Clark leads the team with 42 appearances and Magee leads the team with 18 goals, while also registering three assists for a team-high 41 points.
Dallas Burn forward Ed Johnson is also expected to play a major role for the U.S. in the United Arab Emirates. Over the past two years, Johnson leads the team in international goals with eight in 16 starts. Johnson will not only bring a knack for finding the back of the net, but also a stack of experience as the forward participated in the 2001 Under-17 World Championship.
The other MLS professionals include Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Jordan Stone (Dallas Burn) and Santino Quaranta (D.C. United).
Two other players are currently getting experience playing overseas in Europe as midfielder David Johnson and defender Zak Whitbread are young professionals with Willem II (Holland) and Liverpool (England) respectively. Both Johnson and Whitbread were part of the U-20 MNT roster for the L’Alcudia International Tournament in Spain this past August. Johnson led the team with two goals to help the U.S. secure third place in the tournament.
Rounding out the rest of the nine spots on the U.S. roster is a collection of the top college players in the nation. Both U.S. goalkeepers, Steve Cronin (Santa Clara) and Ford Williams (UNC), have helped their schools push into the top ten rankings at some point this season. Cronin has been stellar between the pipes for the Broncos, recording eight shutouts and allowing just 10 goals in 17 starts. Over the past two years, Cronin has been the clear No. 1 ‘keeper for the U-20s as he has started in 34 of the teams’ 55 games, collecting a 14-9-11 record.
The U.S. defense will be solidified by college standouts Chad Marshall (Stanford), Ryan Cochrane (Santa Clara), and Craig Jared Klass (University of Washington). All five defenders have been integral cogs in the U.S. Under-20 squad over the past two years as each player is near the top on the team in appearances and starts. The trio, along with defenders Drew Moor (Indiana) and Jordan Harvey (UCLA), has helped the U.S. secure 22 shutouts and post a 28-12-15 record over the past two years, outscoring their opponents almost two to one (94 goals for, 50 goals against).
Two Big Ten standouts, forward Knox Cameron (Michigan) and midfielder Ned Grabavoy (Indiana), are coming off stellar college seasons as both were leading their respective teams in both goals and assists at the end of the regular season. Both players have been major contributors on the field for the Under-20s over the past two years, as Grabavoy leads the team with seven assists and Cameron is second with six assists to go along with his seven goals.
Forward Clint Dempsey will also be looking to contribute in UAE. The Furman University standout has recorded 15 goals and 18 assists in three years of college, but has yet to notch a point in just eight international matches with the Under-20 MNT.
The U.S. qualified for UAE ’03 by taking second place in Group B of the CONCACAF Under-20 final qualifying tournament in Charleston, S.C., in November 2002. The U.S. opened the qualifying tournament in Charleston with a 2-0 win against Haiti, and then secured its ticket to their fourth straight World Youth Championship with a 1-0 victory over El Salvador. The U.S. rested five players for their final match against Canada and fell 3-2, allowing Canada to finish as the group winners.
The 24-team field at the FIFA World Youth Championship will be divided into six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group and the four best teams among those ranked third at the end of the first round qualifying for the Round of 16. All of the matches during the tournament will be played in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai and Al-Ain.
At the most recent World Youth Championship in Argentina ’01, the U.S. team advanced out of their group, but eventually fell 2-0 to a tough Egypt side in the Round of 16. The U.S. managed to finish second in Group C play with four points, despite falling to China 1-0 in its opening match of the tournament. Led by DaMarcus Beasley, who notched two goals, the U.S. beat Chile 4-1 in their next match, while Kenny Arena provided the team’s lone goal in its 1-1 tie with Ukraine in its final match of group play. The five goals in the final two games pushed the U.S. into the next round as it finished tied for second place with China with four points, moving on with a superior goal differential.
Fans and media can follow the team’s journey through the World Championship by clicking on FIFA World Youth Championship at the competitions page of ussoccer.com.
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team
FIFA Youth World Championship Schedule
Date Opponent Venue Kickoff Television (Galavison)
November 29 Paraguay Abu Dhabi 5:45 p.m. local / 8:45 a.m. ET 8:30 a.m. ET (live), PT (delayed)
December 2 Germany Abu Dhabi 5:45 p.m. local / 8:45 a.m. ET 8:30 a.m. ET (live), PT (delayed)
December 5 South Korea Abu Dhabi 8:30 p.m. local / 11:30 a.m. ET 1:30 p.m. ET & PT (delayed)
December 8,9 Round of 16* TBD TBD TBD
December 12 Quarterfinals* TBD TBD TBD
December 15 Semifinals* TBD TBD TBD
December 19 Third Place Match* TBD TBD TBD
December 19 Final* TBD TBD TBD
|12||Alvarez, Arturo||M||5'9"||145||06/28/85||Houston, Texas||San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)|
|17||Cameron, Knox||F||6'3"||205||09/17/83||Bronx, N.Y.||University of Michigan|
|11||Clark, Ricardo||M||5'10"||140||05/21/83||Jonesboro, Ga.||MetroStars (MLS)|
|5||Cochrane, Ryan||D||6'0"||155||08/08/83||Portland, Ore.||Santa Clara University|
|10||Convey, Bobby||M||5'8"||150||05/27/83||Philadelphia, Pa.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|1||Cronin, Steve||GK||6'2"||190||05/28/83||Fair Oaks, Calif.||Santa Clara University|
|14||Dempsey, Clint||M/F||6'1"||170||03/09/83||Nacogdoches, Texas.||Furman University|
|19||Grabavoy, Ned||M/F||5'6"||145||07/01/83||New Lenox, Ill.||Indiana Univeristy|
|20||Harvey, Jordan||D||5'10"||160||01/28/84||Mission Viejo, Calif.||UCLA|
|15||Johnson, David||M||5'11"||160||01/16/84||Venice, Calif.||Willem II (Holland)|
|7||Johnson, Ed||F||6'0"||170||03/31/84||Palm Coast, Fla.||Dallas Burn (MLS)|
|8||Klaas, Craig Jared||D||5'7"||165||08/23/83||Cherry Valley, Ill.||University of Washington|
|13||Magee, Mike||F||5'9"||150||09/02/84||Long Grove, Ill.||MetroStars (MLS)|
|3||Mapp, Justin||M||5'11"||160||10/18/84||Brandon, Miss.||Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|4||Marshall, Chad||D||6'2"||165||08/22/84||Riverside, Calif.||Stanford University|
|16||Moor, Drew||D||6'0"||170||01/15/84||Dallas, Texas||Indiana University|
|9||Quaranta, Santino||F||6'1"||185||10/14/84||Baltimore, Md.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|6||Stone, Jordan||M||5'9"||145||03/16/83||Allen, Texas||Dallas Burn (MLS)|
|2||Whitbread, Zach||D||6'3"||180||01/10/84||Liverpool, England||Liverpool (England)|
|18||Williams, Ford||GK||6'3"||190||02/20/84||Raleigh, N.C.||University of North Carolina|
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen
Assistant Coach: Cle Kooiman
Goalkeeper Coach: Dave Dir
Team Coordinator: Erik Carlson
Doctor: Dwite Dahms
Doctor: Mel Hayashi
Trainer: Steven Jurch
Trainer: Sheldon Lo
Scout: Roberto Lopez
Equipment Manager: Bryan Rosenbaum
Press Officer: Neil Buethe