CHICAGO (Wednesday, May 23, 2007) -- Thomas Rongen, coach of the United States under-20 men, has announced a 16-player roster for his team's upcoming training camp in Canada, starting next Wednesday and running through June 6.
This camp will serve as preparation for the upcoming FIFA Under-20 World Cup which will be competed between June 30 and July 20 in Canada. The Americans will face Canada's under-20s twice during the camp, which will provide the U.S. with a first-hand look at its two Group E venues -- Montreal and Ottawa.
The U.S. will start the camp in Montreal, where it will train for three days and check out The Olympic Stadium, site of the Americans' first two Group E matches against South Korea (June 30) and Poland (July 3). The team will not train at the stadium, but is planning to take a tour of the facility.
The U.S. will then travel to Ottawa and play Canada June 3 at Frank Clair Stadium, site of the Americans' third and final Group E outing against Brazil (July 6). The final stretch of the U.S. camp will take place in Kingston, Ontario, where the Americans and Canada will play the rematch June 6 in Richardson Stadium.
"This camp will not only provide us with two matches against a strong Canada team, but it will allow us to get a feel for the facilities we'll be using during the World Cup," said Rongen, who will use this camp to make his final evaluations before announcing the World Cup roster. "We want to be as prepared as possible to advance out of a tough group and this is a great opportunity to check out these great venues while becoming more and more acclimated to playing on artificial turf."
Two Americans sure to be on the World Cup roster who will not attend this camp are Major League Soccer teen stars, midfielder Freddy Adu of Real Salt Lake and New York Red Bulls striker Josmer Altidore.
Three of the 16 players invited to camp play in MLS, four are European professionals and seven are collegians. Defender Sheanon Williams and midfielder Dane Shea are in the U.S. full-time residency camp in Bradenton, Fla.
The pro ranks of Europe are represented by a trio of forwards in Gabriel Ferrari of Italy's Sampdoria, Preston Zimmerman of Hamburg SV in Germany and Johann Smith of England's Bolton Wanderers, as well as midfielder Mitchell van den Beld of FC Utrecht, respectively. Van den Beld will participate in his first American team camp at any age level.
The MLS representatives are midfielder Bryan Arguez (D.C. United), defender Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution) and midfielder Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas)
The college crowd includes goalkeepers Diego Restrepo (South Florida) and Steve Sandbo (Southern Methodist); defenders Tony Beltran (UCLA), Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana) and Julian Valentin (Wake Forest); and strikers Andre Akpan (Harvard) and Sal Zizzo (UCLA)
Ten players on the roster were members of the squad that won its qualifying group earlier this year in Panama City, Panama earlier this year. The team scored 11 goals during qualification, including three Akpan, while conceding only one.
The U.S. visited Canada for a two-game series in July, winning 2-1 in Toronto and drawing 1-1 in Kingston.
The Americans are coming off their first loss of the year after falling 1-0 to reigning world champion Argentina on May 15.
The United States under-20 roster from training camp starting next Wednesday in Canada with hometown in parentheses:
Goalkeepers (2): Diego Restrepo (West Palm Beach, Fla), Steve Sandbo (Columbus, Ohio).
Defenders (5): Tony Beltran (Claremont, Calif.), Amaechi Igwe (Belmont, Calif.), Ofori Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Sheanon Williams (Boston), Julian Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.).
Midfielders (4): Bryan Arguez (Miami, Fla.), Dane Shea (College Station, Texas), Anthony Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Mitchell van den Beld (Almere, the Netherlands).
Forwards (5): Andre Akpan (Gran Prairie, Texas), Gabriel Ferrari (New York City), Johann Smith (Bloomfield, Conn.), Preston Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.), Sal Zizzo (San Diego).