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U.S. futsal

Americans start play for CONCACAF title and world tournament berth.

MILWAUKEE (Tuesday, July 18, 2000) -- After calling 18 players to camp last week for an intense six-day training camp in Milwaukee, United States futsal coach Keith Tozer announced the 12-player roster today for the CONCACAF Futsal Championship that starts Thursday and runs to July 29 at the Palacio de los Deportes in Heredia, Costa Rica.

Futsal Championships
Among the 12 named to the roster are goalkeepers Victor Nogueira (Milwaukee Wave, National Professional Soccer League), Otto Orf (Cleveland Crunch, NPSL) and defender Sean Bowers (Detroit Rockers, NPSL). All three were all on the 1996 U.S. squad at the last FIFA world championship in Spain.

"This has been one of the most difficult weeks for me personally," Tozer said. "All the players worked extremely hard to make the final cut. The final selection was a very difficult process but we feel very good about the players who will be going."

The U.S. delegation departed from here this morning via bus to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

The U.S., which won the 1996 CONCACAF title in Guatemala City, Guatemala, is the top seed in a Group B that includes Mexico, Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico. Group A is composed of Cuba, Nicaragua, Surinam and the host Costa Rica.

The U.S. begins play Friday against Puerto Rico at 10:30 p.m. (ET), battles the Netherlands Antilles Sunday 10:30 p.m. and closes group play with a match against Mexico next Tuesday at 10:30. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on July 27.

Both semifinals winners qualify for the 2000 world championship tournament in Guatemala November 18-December 3. The CONCACAF title game will be played July 29.

The other 14 qualified nations in the 16-team championship tournament are: Guatemala (host); Brazil (champion); Egypt (Africa). Iran (Asia), Kazakhstan (Asia), Thailand (Asia), Argentina (South America), Uruguay (South America); Australia (Oceania), Croatia (Europe), the Netherlands (Europe), Portugal (Europe), Russia (Europe) and Spain (Europe).

The Americans, who are ranked third in the futsal world rankings, are looking to make their fourth straight appearance in the world championship. The team won the bronze medal in 1989 in the Netherlands and captured a silver medal in 1992 in Hong King.

"With this final roster, we can now concentrate our squad in preparation to defend our title," Tozer said. "All the countries involved in this upcoming qualifier have been working extremely hard for the past two years preparing. The team and I look forward to defending and securing a berth in this year's world championship."

Bowers leads all players with 16 international appearances, while Nogueira, who was named best goalkeeper in the last two world championships (1992, 1996), is second with 14.

The defense also includes veterans Glenn Carbonara (Milwaukee Wave) and Wes Wade (Kansas City Attack, NPSL) along with newcomers Jeff Davis (St. Louis Steamers, World Indoor Soccer League) and Josh Timbers (Milwaukee Wave).

The offense will be led by forwards Temoc Suarez (Charleston Battery, A-League) and Lee Tschantret (Detroit Rockers) who played a major factor in the Americans' fifth-place finished at the Singapore Tiger's international tournament last December.

Rounding out the front line are forwards Brian Loftin (Milwaukee Rampage, A-League and Milwaukee Wave) and futsal rookies Bernie Lilavois (Connecticut Wolves, A-League) and Matt Tirschman (Milwaukee Wave).

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Victor Nogueira (Milwaukee), Otto Orf (Cleveland).

Defenders: Sean Bowers (San Diego), Glen Carbonara (Vineland, N.J.), Jeff Davis (St. Charles, Mo.), Josh Timbers (Morganton, N.C.), Wes Wade (San Diego).

Forwards: Bernie Lilavois Buena Park, Calif.), Brian Loftin (Kansas City, Mo.), Temoc Suarez (Mount Pleasant, S.C.), Charleston Battery (A-League), Matt Tirschman (Baltimore), Lee Tschantret (Farmington Hills, Mich.).

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