In addition, 11 members of Rongen's team came through U.S. Soccer's U-17 residency program, including goalkeeper Steve Cronin and midfielder Bobby Convey, who were both members of the U.S. squad that placed fourth at the 1999 FIFA Under-17 World Championship. Convey is the only holdover from the U-20 that reached the second round at the 2001 World Youth Championship.
Rongen will have more professional players on his qualifying roster than any previous U.S. U-20 team. Six of those players compete in MLS -- Devin Barclay (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Ed Johnson (Dallas Burn), Justin Mapp (D.C. United), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United) and Jordan Stone (Dallas Burn). They have played 150 MLS games with 21 goals and 20 assists.
Frank Simek (Arsenal, England) and David Johnson (Willem II, Netherlands) are with clubs in Europe. Simek, a native of Illinois, moved to England at the age of 12 and later signed Arsenal. Efforts to get U.S.-born defender Zak Whitbread from Liverpool were unsuccessful because of the English club's insistence that he remain with its reserve team.
The college corps is led Furman midfielder Ricardo Clark, one of the most highly rated players in college, and Indiana playmaker Ned Grabavoy. Collegians are expected to play key roles on defense. Cronin (Santa Clara) is the starter in goal. Chad Marshall (Stanford), Ryan Cochrane (Santa Clara) and C.J. Klaas (Washington) are expected to start on the backline. Left back Chefik Simo (Furman) was seriously injured in the recent car crash that killed former U-17 captain Gray Griffin. The U.S. team will wear commemorative patches on their jerseys in honor of Griffin at the qualifying tournament.
In their most recent outing, the U.S. U-20s finished second at the COTIF tournament in Spain. The top two teams from the CONCACAF qualifying tournament with join Panama and Mexico as the four CONCACAF representatives at UAE 2003.
The three U.S. matches in qualifying will be available on pay-per-view: live for $19.95 each through DirectTV and Time-Warner cable (in New York City). Additional outlets are expected to be announced soon. For more information on the pay-per-view broadcasts, contact ISM at 201-610-0200 or http://ismsports.com.
U.S. U-20 Roster:
Steve Cronin (Santa Clara Univ.)
Ford Williams (Univ. of North Carolina)
C.J. Klaas (Univ. of Washington)
Frank Simek (Arsenal, England)
Chad Marshall (Stanford Univ.)
Ryan Cochrane (Santa Clara Univ.)
Jordan Harvey (UCLA)
Chris Lancos (Univ. of Maryland)
Ricardo Clark (Furman Univ.)
Bobby Convey (D.C. United)
Ned Grabavoy (Indiana Univ.)
David Johnson (Willem II, Neth.)
Justin Mapp (D.C. United)
Jordan Stone (Dallas Burn)
Devin Barclay (San Jose Earthquakes)
Knox Cameron (Univ. of Michigan)
Eddie Johnson (Dallas Burn)
Santino Quaranta (D.C. United)