March 26, 1999
CHICAGO - With the U.S. Under-20 National Team on the verge of departing for the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria, head coach Sigi Schmid today announced via a media conference call the final, 18-player roster that will represent the United States.
"Getting to where we are today was a process that took more then a year," said Schmid, also the head coach for the UCLA men's soccer team, prior to the call. "Every player on this roster made countless sacrifices for the good of this team, and I'm confident that when we get to Nigeria all of the hard work will pay off on the field."
Highlighted in the American squad are UCLA standouts Carlos Bocanegra (Alta Loma, CA), Ryan Futagaki (Fountain Valley, CA), Nick Rimando (Montclair, CA) and Shaun Tsakiris (Saratoga, CA). Also on the rosters are three Project-40 professionals and two European-based pros.
The United States were placed in Group E and will play first-round matches versus England (April 5), Japan (April 8) and Cameroon (April 11). The USA's opening match against England will be played at the Sani Abachi Stadium in Kano, while the matches versus Japan and Cameroon will be played in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi.
Of the USA's three, first-round opponents, England is the only team it has played in a previous World Youth Championship. The USA's 1993 squad dropped a 0- 1 decision to England in Australia. Japan finished as runners-up in the Asian qualifying tournament, while Cameroon, who the U.S. will face in its final group match, finished fourth in the African Youth Championship.
The United States qualified for the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship by finishing first in CONCACAF Group A qualifying, which was played Aug. 3-7, 1998, in Trinidad. During the tournament, the U.S. tied Costa Rica (1-1) before soundly defeating Canada (5-1) and host Trinidad & Tobago (6-1).
Nigeria '99 marks the second consecutive World Youth Championship for the USA, which finished 15th overall at the 1997 tournament in Malaysia. During Malaysia '97, the USA, led by UCLA stars Sasha Victorine and Tom Poltl, advanced out of the most difficult first-round group, which included eventual semifinalists Ghana and Ireland, as well as China. In the Round of 16, the U.S. were defeated by tournament runner-up Uruguay. The USA's best-ever finish in a World Youth Championship came in 1989 in Saudi Arabia. Behind the solid goalkeeping of Kasey Keller, who was voted the second-best player in the tournament, the U.S. U-20s advanced to the semifinals, where they were defeated in extra time by Nigeria.
The U.S. U-20 delegation will leave the United States on Tuesday, March 30, and after a layover in Amsterdam, will arrive into Kano, Nigeria on April 1, four days before the team's opening match against England.
U.S. Under-20 National Team - 1999 FIFA World Youth ChampionshipName Pos. Ht. Wt. DOB Hometown Last Club/School Chris Albright F 6'1" 185 1/14/79 Philadelphia, PA Univ. of Virginia Jamar Beasley F 5'10" 160 10/11/79 Ft. Wayne, Ind. N.E. Revolution (MLS) Carlos Bocanegra D 6'0" 175 5/25/79 Alta Loma, Calif. UCLA Dan Califf D 6'0" 160 3/17/80 Orange, Calif. Univ. of Maryland Steve Cherundolo D 5'6" 145 2/19/79 San Diego, Calif. Hannover 96 (Germany) Nick Downing M 5'9" 140 1/25/80 Redmond, Wash. Univ. of Maryland Ryan Futagaki M 5'5" 135 1/17/80 Fountain Valley, Calif. UCLA Nick Garcia D 5'11" 165 4/09/79 Plano, Texas Indiana University Cory Gibbs D 6'1" 175 1/14/80 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Brown University Matt Goldsmith M 5'11" 162 4/27/79 Roswell, Ga. Furman University Francisco Gomez M 5'11" 165 1/25/79 Watsonville, Calif. KC Wizards (MLS) Tim Howard GK 6'2" 200 3/06/79 North Brunswick, N.J. NY/NJ MetroStars (MLS) Lee Morrison D 6'0" 160 8/10/79 Carmichael, Calif. Stanford University Rusty Pierce M 5'10" 165 7/24/79 The Woodlands, TX UNC Greensboro Nick Rimando GK 5'10" 170 6/17/79 Montclair, Calif. UCLA John Thorrington M 5'8" 150 10/17/79 Palos Verdes, Calif. Manchester Utd. (England) Shaun Tsakiris M 5'6" 150 2/16/79 Sataroga, Calif. UCLA Taylor Twellman F 5'11" 170 2/29/80 St. Louis, Mo. Univ. of Maryland