Feb. 20, 2001
The U.S. Under-20 National Team convened last Wednesday in Chula Vista, CA for a 15-day training camp at the ARCO Olympic Training Center. U.S. Under-20 head coach Wolfgang Suhnholz has called in 19 players, including UCLA freshmen Nelson Akwari, DJ Countess and Alex Yi, for the camp, which is scheduled to include three matches. It is likely the 18-player roster Suhnholz selects for the 2001 World Youth Championship qualifying in Trinidad & Tobago from March 18-22 will be largely made up of players from this camp.
The Under-20s have posted a 4-3-2 record in 2001, including an impressive pair of wins against Mexico in Guadalajara. Countess shut out Mexico, 1-0, on Jan. 30, and two days later helped beat the Mexicans, 2-1. Yi missed the Mexico trip due to an injury.
The camp is scheduled to include three matches for the U.S. The U.S. played CSEPEL Auto Trader FC, a local Hungarian club team, on Saturday, Feb. 17, and will meet them again on Friday, Feb. 23. The Under-20s topped the Hungarian club team 4-1 last year on March 22. The U.S. will then play the University of San Francisco on Feb. 25, before the players depart from camp on the Feb. 28.
The U.S. roster contains seven players from the U.S. squad that advanced to the semifinals of the 1999 U-17 World Championship semifinals. Goalkeeper Countess, defenders Akwari, Oguchi Oneywu, Yi and Seth Trembly, as well as midfielders Kenny Cutler and Kyle Beckerman, were all on the team that placed an American-best fourth place at the event.
The Under-20 team will reconvene on March 7 in Florida to begin their final camp before traveling to Trinidad for Group B qualifying. The U.S. opens the qualifying tournament against Guatemala on March 18, then faces Costa Rica on March 20 and Trinidad & Tobago on March 22. All of the matches are being played at the Dr. Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna, Trinidad. The top two teams from the group will advance to the 2001 World Youth Championship from 17 June-8 July in Argentina.
The USA finished 11th at the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria, losing only to eventual finalists Japan and Spain.