Youth National Teams: 18-player U-20 roster named for Nigeria '99

With the U.S. U-20 national team on the verge of departing for the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria, head coach Sigi Schmid has announced 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. "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 Project-40 professionals Tim Howard (NY/NJ MetroStars), Jamar Beasley (New England Revolution) and Francisco Gomez (Kansas City Wizards), as well as European-based pros Steve Cherundolo (Hanover 96, Germany) and John Thorrington (Manchester United, England). Cherundolo signed a professional contract with Hanover in January and was immediately inserted into the starting lineup while Thorrington, a California native and U.S. citizen whose parents are British, signed a pro contract with Manchester United in 1997 and has played regularly with the European giant's reserve team since that time. In addition to the professionals, the squad boasts some of the top collegiate players in the country, including Nick Garcia (Indiana University), Chris Albright (University of Virginia), Carlos Bocanegra (UCLA) and Taylor Twellman (Maryland). 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. 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 advanced out 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, one of the surprises of the competition. 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 a 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. Here is the U-20 roster for Nigeria '99: Goalkeepers -- Tim Howard (MetroStars), Nick Rimando (UCLA). Defenders -- Carlos Bocanegra (UCLA), Dan Califf (Maryland), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Nick Garcia (Indiana), Cory Gibbs (Brown), Lee Morrison (Stanford). Midfielders -- Nick Downing (Maryland), Ryan Futagaki (UCLA), Matt Goldsmith (Furman), Francisco Gomez (Kansas City Wizards), Rusty Pierce (UNC Greensboro), John Thorrington (Manchester United reserves, England), Shaun Tsakiris (UCLA). Forwards -- Chris Albright (Virginia), Jamar Beasley (New England Revolution), Taylor Twellman (Maryland).

U-20s win tuneup

In a tuneup before heading to Nigeria, the U-20s beat Nova Southeastern University 4-0 March 25. Nick Garcia and Taylor Twellman scored first-half goals, with Steve Cherundolo and Luis Gonzalez also tallied. The U-20s will play one final tuneup before heading to Nigeria, on March 28 agaisnt Florida Atlantic University. March 25 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. USA 4 Nova Southeastern 0. Goals: Garcia 14, Twellman 24, Cherundolo (pen.) 49, Gonzalez 86. USA -- Howard (Rimando, 46), Cherundolo (Ramirez, 75), Bocanegra (Sakuda, 75), Califf (Morrison, 60), Goldsmith (Gibbs, 46, Seale 77), Garcia (Pierce, 60), Downing (Feller, 70), Thorrington (Futagaki, 60), Gomez (Tsakiris, 46), Twellman (Beasley, 46, Worthen 77), Albright (Gonzalez, 70). Nova -- lineup n/a. Att.: 50.
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