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SALT LAKE CITY - United States Under-20 Men's National Team head coach Thomas Rongen today named Real Salt Lake MF Freddy Adu and GK Chris Seitz as two of the 21 players that will represent the U.S. at the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada, from June 30-July 22. The roster features 14 professional players, the most ever for a U.S. Under-20 World Cup team, and is led by Adu, making his third U-20 World Cup appearance, and high-scoring forward Josmer Altidore, the youngest player on the team at age 17.
"We looked at about 80 players and narrowed it down to 21," said Rongen. "We feel that through playing games in qualifying and through camps, that we have a good handle on this age group and that we've made some great selections for this team to go forward and hopefully do something special during the World Cup."
Adu and Seitz will remain with Real Salt Lake through the upcoming weekend and will travel with the squad for its Western Conference match-up this Sunday, June 17, at the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (6:00 p.m. MT; live coverage on Fox Sports Net - Utah begins at 5:30 p.m.) Most of the 21 players on the World Cup roster will arrive in Somerset, N.J. on June 17 for training before departing for Montreal. The team will also play a preparation game against Chile at Giants Stadium on June 23, with kickoff set for 12:00 p.m. MT.
The recently-turned 18-year-old Adu, one of only two players on the roster that have also earned a "cap" with the U.S. senior squad (along with SC Heerenveen's Michael Bradley), will be appearing in his third Under-20 World Cup, having played under Rongen in the United Arab Emirates in 2003 at age 14, and under Sigi Schmid in the Netherlands in 2005. He will become only the second player to accomplish that feat (Al Roomi, Saudi Arabia, 1985-1989).
Seitz, the U.S. U-20s' first-choice goalkeeper, has started five games for the team in 2007, leading the squad to a 3-1-1 record when he is in net and boasting a 0.60 goals against average in those contests. Seitz helped the USA qualify for the U-20 World Cup by allowing just one goal in three contests during CONCACAF Group A qualifying in Panama this past January, posting a 2-0-1 record in the competition and leading the U.S. to a first-place finish in the group.
This year's tournament marks the sixth straight appearance for the U.S. in the world championship and their 11th overall. The U.S. will play Korea Republic (June 30) and Poland (July 3) at The Olympic Stadium in Montreal, before heading to Ottawa to face Brazil at Frank Clair Stadium (July 6). Every U.S. match at the U-20 World Cup will be broadcast live on ESPNU, and can be followed live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.
The 24-team field is divided into six groups of four, with the top two teams from each group and the top four (of six) third-place teams advancing to the Round of 16. The 52-match tournament will take place at six venues in Canada with games in Burnaby, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria. Each game will be broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN360.com.
With 11 players from Major League Soccer and three from overseas clubs, the U.S. will be playing with more professionals at a FIFA U-20 World Cup than ever before. In Tim Ward, Robbie Rogers and Danny Szetela, the Columbus Crew send the biggest club contingent, while FC Dallas (Dax McCarty and Anthony Wallace) and Real Salt Lake (Adu and Seitz) each send a pair. D.C. United will be represented on the team by midfielder Bryan Arguez, while defenders Nathan Sturgis and Amaechi Igwe play for the L.A. Galaxy and New England Revolution, respectively. Rounding out the MLS group is Altidore, who has scored three goals and three assists for the N.Y. Red Bulls.
For more information on the U.S. Under-20 National Team and the upcoming FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada, please visit www.ussoccer.com.
Roster by position GOALKEEPERS (3): Brian Perk (UCLA), Steve Sandbo (SMU), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (UCLA), Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution), Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana University), Nathan Sturgis (Columbus Crew), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake), Bryan Arguez (D.C. United), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Dax McCarty (F.C. Dallas), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew), Anthony Wallace (F.C. Dallas)
FORWARDS (6): Andre Akpan (Harvard), Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls), Gabriel Ferrari (Sampdoria), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Johann Smith (Bolton F.C.), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)