CHICAGO (March 9, 2008) – U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Peter Nowak named the 20- player roster for 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in advance of the team’s first game against Cuba on March 11 at 8 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The team arrived in Tampa earlier today after a nine-day training camp in Bradenton, Fla.
“We have seen many strong players over the past few months, and had some difficult decisions to make,” said Nowak. “We feel that the group of players that will compete in the qualifying tournament represent the team that gives us the best chance of going through a difficult stretch of games to advance to the Olympic Games in Beijing.”
The roster features 10 players who have earned caps with the Men’s National Team, led by Jonathan Spector, who has appeared 11 times with the senior team. Eddie Gaven and Sacha Kljestan have five caps each, while Freddy Adu and Maurice Edu have four. Jozy Altidore is coming off of his first start for the full team, scoring his first goal against Mexico in February.
Along with Spector (England) and Adu (Portugal), four other players ply their trade outside the United States, including defender Michael Orozco (Mexico), Charlie Davies (Sweden), Kamani Hill and Sal Zizzo (Germany).
Major League Soccer is represented by 13 players, with Real Salt Lake sending the most representatives with three – Robbie Findley, Chris Seitz and Nathan Sturgis. Two-time defending MLS Cup Champion Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC each send a pair, while the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew and FC Dallas also contribute players to the qualifying campaign.
After playing Cuba in their opening game on March 11, the U.S. will face Panama on March 13 at 8 p.m. ET and then finish Group A play against Honduras on March 15 at 7 p.m. ET. All three U.S. matches will be the second match of three doubleheaders played at Raymond James Stadium and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN Deportes.
Group B features Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico facing off on March 12, 14 and 16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. LP Field in Nashville will host the semifinals on Thursday, March 20. The top two teams from Group A and B will move on to the semifinals in Nashville, Tenn., where the winners will earn berths to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN Deportes will broadcast both semifinal games live on March 20 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET, and the championship match on March 23 at 5 p.m. ET. The third-place match on March 23 will be live on ESPN Deportes at 2 p.m. ET, but delayed at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel.
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).
Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Dominic Cervi (out of contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire),
Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)