The U.S. men's Under-20 national team will play its Jamaican counterpart in a friendly international match on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the University of Richmond Soccer Complex, with the kickoff set for 5 p.m. ET. The international match will take place on the off-day during the NCAA Men's Division I Final Four, and it will be the first opportunity for American fans to see the U-20 men as they begin the final five months of preparations before the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria. Led by head coach Sigi Schmid, the U.S. qualified for Nigeria '99 by finishing first in Group A of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. After drawing with Costa Rica, 1-1, the USA made short work of both Canada and Trinidad & Tobago in 5-1 and 6-1 victories, respectively. The American attack was paced by 4- goal scorers Chris Albright (Philadelphia/Univ. of Virginia) and Nick Garcia (Plano, Texas/Indiana Univ.). Several of the top U-20 men, including Albright and Garcia, may already be participating in the Final Four Weekend with their college teams, as top squads Virginia, Indiana, Maryland and Stanford remain in the hunt for the NCAA's top prize. Players available for the Jamaica match include U.S. co-captain Steve Cherundolo (San Diego/Univ. of Portland), defender Cory Gibbs (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Brown Univ.), and midfielder Matt Goldsmith (Roswell, Ga./Furman Univ.), all members of the squad that successfully qualified the USA earlier this year. An exact training camp roster for the U-20 squad is forthcoming. The United States and Jamaica met earlier this year on July 25 and the teams played to a 1-1 draw in Miami, Fla. The U.S. U-20s have accumulated a 22-10-9 record thus far in 1998, and the match against Jamaica is expected to be the final competition for the team this year. Beginning in January, the squad will begin intense preparations for the World Youth Championship, set to be played from April 3-24. Under Schmid's guidance, a core of 24 players will train nearly full-time with the U-20 squad, which will participate in a number of domestic and international training camps next year prior to the World Championship. For information on purchasing tickets to the USA-Jamaica match, fans can contact the University of Richmond Ticket office at 804-289-8388.
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