Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bienvenidos a Miami

The U-20s made the four-hour drive from Bradenton to Miami this afternoon for two days of preparation before departing from Miami International to Port of Spain, Trinidad on Monday. The team settled into the hotel after a minor hitch... Apparently some of the rooms that the players were assigned to already had guests in them. Imagine the surprise of both parties upon making that discovery? Anyway, the hotel was able to make the switch and it's all good now.

Tony Taylor's Top Three

Tony Taylor is fairly new to the U.S. National Team system, so we thought we'd let him introduce himself. Here his "Top Threes" - everything from the soccer field to what's on his iPod....

Three words to describe you as a player:

Three words to describe you off the field:
-shy (at first)

Three things people don’t know about you:
-my parents are both from Panama, they moved to the U.S. after they were married at 18 years old
-I like Christian rap and salsa music
-I am very strong in my faith

Three favorite music groups:
-116 Click
-Sonora Carruseles

Three favorite foods:
-spaghetti with meatballs or meat sauce
-any type of Cuban food

Three things you have to do before a game:
-listen to my iPod
-say a prayer
-roll my ankles to loosen them up

Three favorite movies:
-Dark Knight
-The Nutty Professor

Three favorite players:

Three things to do in Jacksonville:
-go to the beach
-chill with friends
-check out the nightlife

Friday, February 27, 2009

Maund is Official

Much to his and his teammates' delight, defender Aaron Maund has been approved for his change of association request through FIFA, which means that from now on he will be eligible to play for the United States and will be put on the official roster for the 2009 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.

Maund holds dual citizenship with the United States and Trinidad & Tobago, but was required to request the change of association after representing T&T at the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. During the U-17 World Cup, he started in all three matches and played all but 16 minutes of the group phase.

As a freshman at Notre Dame, the Dorchester, Mass., native started all 21 games for the Fighting Irish at central defender.

Just A Day at the Beach...

Well, sort of. After a session this morning, the U-20s headed to the beach for some building exercises (we know, it's a tough life). It was a beautiful day on the Bradenton beaches...

Activities included the egg toss, won by Sheanon Williams and Aaron Maund:

A relay race:

And then the players went knee-deep into the ocean blindfolded, and without being able to talk or see, they arranged themselves in a straight line by height. Then they lined up youngest to oldest, impressing even the IMG Mental Conditioning staff:

You don't ordinarily see 20 people doing organized activities blindfolded on public beaches, so of course the players drew some attention from the other beach goers on a Friday afternoon:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Controversial Champions

There was some dispute as to who won this evening's "King of the Court" championship. With the golden goal final set between the red team and the green team, both battled hard in the back and forth affair. After what seemed like an eternity of the players running end to end, the goalkeepers coming up with huge save after huge save and some non-foul calls, neither team was able to score and the game ended in a tie.... However, because red had played one less game and still had more cumulative points than the other two teams, they declared themselves champions.

Of course this led to the competitive bickering and bantering about why they didn't deserve their title, but the arguments didn't really hold up. Much to the delight of red team head coach Tim Mulqueen, his team was able to justly claim its crown.

Get to Know Sam Garza

A newcomer to the youth national team system, Sam Garza made the most of his first international appearance, scoring the game-winner against Canada at the end of his first training camp in December on 2008. Two months later, Garza is part of the U.S. team that will be vying for the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Trinidad & Tobago. Garza answers 11 questions for about making the most of his opportunity, remembering his first-ever international goal and one…make that three things he can’t live without in this edition of ‘Get to Know Me’.

Singing in the Ice Bath

The YNT Blog is currently being treating to the soothing sounds of Brian Perk and Peri Marosevic's take on classic hits from the 1980s. Peri is currently in the tub for his recovery ice bath while Brian is brushing his teeth. The iTunes are on full volume (in the bathroom) and they are singing a duet. First on their song set was Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" which was followed by Pat Benetar's "Love is a Battlefield."

You may be wondering how one can sing while brushing his teeth. We were wondering the same thing but apparently it can be done, and done well.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

First Day Photos

It was a beautiful day in Bradenton, with sunny skies and two training sessions... actually, you can see for yourself thanks to our friends at ISI Photos:

Rongen counts push-ups for the players

Working the legs

Perk makes the leaping save

Cruz tackles Marosevic

Peri slaloms through Kyle Davies and Gale Agbossoumonde

Brek takes on Kyle

S90 News from Bradenton

In case you haven't watched it yet, the latest episode of Studio 90 News is up and running. U-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen previews his teams trip to the CONCACAF Championship and U-17 MNT head coach Wilmer Cabrera talks about his squad's recent trip to Spain.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here We Are!

The U-20 MNT is trickling into Bradenton, Fla. tonight for final preparations leading up to the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. We'll be here in Florida for about a week, departing for Tobago on March 2. If you haven't heard, this will tell you more about is who is here. Still not enough? Okay, right here is even more info more info about the players and below is a brief breakdown of the group. The YNT Blog will be with you for the duration, as the U.S. attempts to qualify for its record seventh-straight FIFA Under-20 World Cup.


Average Age: 19
Average Caps: 4.3
Most Capss: 17 (Anthony Wallace)
Least Caps: 0 (Six Players: Dilly Duka, Sam Garza, Sean Johnson, Brian Ownby, Billy Schuler, Tony Taylor)
Oldest: 20 (Bryan Arguez)
Youngest: 17 (Gale Agbossoumonde)

10 - Veterans of previous World Cups (U-20 and/or U-17)
9 – Pro players (three defenders, four midfielders, one goalkeeper, one forward)
8 – College players representing eight different colleges
6 – players representing three different MLS Clubs - FC Dallas (4), Houston Dynamo (1), Chivas USA (1)
5 – Players who were part of the U.S. team during the 2007 U-17 World Cup, the previous World Cup cycle for this age group
4 – Players from California, the most of any state
3 – Members of the 2007 U-20 World Cup team that advanced to the quarterfinals in Canada (Arguez, Perk and Wallace)
3 – Players based in European leagues (one each from Belgium, England and Germany)