3. U.S. SOCCER: U-20s prep for qualifying in January

By Ridge Mahoney

Sometime before Christmas, U.S. Soccer will announce the hiring of Juergen Klinsmann as its national team coach and thus will conclude months of anticlimax.

Much federation business has been on hold while President Sunil Gulati and Klinsmann have negotiated, bargained and dickered, but not preparations for the men's under-20 team, which plays its CONCACAF qualifiers next month.

The 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup will be staged in six Canadian cities starting June 30.

Coach Thomas Rongen has invited 26 players to a preliminary camp that opens next Tuesday (Dec. 12) at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Many of the U.S. U-20s playing in Europe won't be available for the camp, so the roster will consist of college players as well as MLS products.

Those players will train until Dec. 23, after which Rongen will select his roster of 20 players for the qualifying tournament to be staged in Panama starting Jan. 17. The team will train in Florida for eight days and play three games before taking a short break and reconvening in Fort Lauderdale for a few more days of training prior to departure for Panama on Jan. 14.

The USA plays Panama, Guatemala and Haiti in Group A. The top two finishers advance to the U-20 World Cup.

Rongen is in Florida this week watching the Nike Friendlies, which match up U-16, U-17 and U-18 club teams as well as the U-15 and U-17 U.S. national teams split into two squads each. His list of 26 players for the preliminary camp will be released this week.

Click here for U-20 national team pool roster.
Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications