Three Bruins Named To U.S. U-20 National Team Roster For CONCACAF Qualifying
March 14, 2001
UCLA goalkeeper DJ Countess and defenders Nelson Akwari and Alex Yi have been selected to the final 18-man U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team roster for the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2001 World Youth Championship.
Also selected by U.S. head coach Wolfgang Suhnholz were six professional players, two members of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team and three players who have made an appearance with the full Men's National Team.
After arriving in Trinidad late Wednesday night, the U.S. team will train for three days before playing three matches in five days. The U.S. opens the qualifying tournament at the Dr. Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna, Trinidad, against Guatemala on March 18, then faces Trinidad & Tobago on March 20 and Costa Rica on March 22. The top two teams from the group will advance to the 2001 World Youth Championship from June 17-July 8 in Argentina.
'Overall, on and off the field, this camp and this team have been better than one could expect,' Suhnholz said.'I am extremely excited for Trinidad and I know the team is ready. We just can't wait to get out onto the field and get the matches going.'
The final 18-man roster is the strongest team Suhnholz has fielded in his two-year term as head coach, and marks the first time he has had all of his professional players available at the same time. Landon Donovan (Bayer Leverkusen -- Germany) will be making his first ever Under-20 international appearance, and DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire -- MLS), Bobby Convey (D.C. United -- MLS) and Conor Casey (Borussia Dortmund -- Germany) will be making their first appearances of 2001 with the Under-20 squad. Beasley, Convey and Donovan have combined for eight full Men's National Team appearances, giving Suhnholz's squad unprecedented international experience.
The two other professional players on the roster are Seth Trembly of the Colorado Rapids and Edson Buddle of the Columbus Crew.
Eight players on Suhnholz's roster are from the team that advanced to the 1999 Under-17 World Championship semifinals, including the Bruin freshman trio of Countess, Akwari and Yi.
Prior to traveling to Trinidad, the U.S. gathered in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for a final pre-tournament training camp beginning on March 7. While in Florida the Under-20s played three matches in five days, mimicking the schedule that they will face in Trinidad. The Under-20s dropped a 2-1 decision to the Metrostars on March 9, before rebounding to post two wins against Haiti Select on March 11 and the Miami Fusion on March 13.
The Under-20s have posted a 9-4-3 record in 2001, including an impressive pair of wins against Mexico in Guadalajara in the team's only two international matches of the year.
The USA finished 11th at the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria, losing only to eventual finalists Japan and Spain.
Galavision will televise two of the USA's three matches at the CONCACAF tournament inTrinidad on same-day tape delay in the U.S. The USA's March 18 clash with Guatemala will be shown at 4 p.m. PT, and the USA's final match against Costa Rica on March 22 will also be shown at 4 p.m. PT. Fox Sports World will show all three matches on a delayed broadcast at the conclusion of the tournament.