One of the biggest rivalries Indiana, the seven-time men's national champion, has developed is its spring season clash against Mexico.
For the third straight spring, the Hoosiers
host a Mexican national youth team in a friendly. This year's friendly against the Tri U-20s takes place Sunday at Armstrong Stadium.
''It's an honor to have the
opportunity to play such a talented team in the U-20 Mexican national team,'' head coach Mike Freitag
said. ''They have a good group of young professionals which will be a
stern test for us. It is always fun to play a team that brings a different approach to the game, as the Mexican team will. Hopefully, the game will draw fans from both sides and bring a passion and
energy to the crowd. It should be a fiesta.''
Players in training this week in Mexico City included American-born Sonny Guadarrama
. The players are competing for spots on
summer teams that will play in the U-20 World Cup in Canada and the Pan-American Games in Brazil, where Mexico is taking a U-19 team to the men's soccer competition.
The first two
matches pitted IU against Mexico's U-17 national team and drew crowds of 3,472 and 5,739. In 2005, Mexico, which went on to win the 2005 U-17 World Championship, won, 2-1. Last year, Indiana
prevailed, 2-0, on goals by John Mellencamp
and Kevin Robson
The Hoosiers have several players who possess considerable international experience. Ofori Sarkodie
and Daniel Kelly
all represented the United States at the 2005 U-17 World Cup. Sarkodie, who was a captain for that team, has participated in numerous camps at the U-20
level this season as the USA prepares for the U-20 World Cup.
Indiana finished the 2006 campaign with a 15-4-3 record, winning the Big Ten championship and reaching the third round of the
NCAA Tournament before fall on penalty kicks to Santa Clara.
The Hoosiers received a blow last Saturday when speedster Darren Yeagle
, who scored seven goals with two assists last
year up front, suffered a serious knee injury in the game against Cincinnati.