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The Road to Beijing Begins In.....

Carson, Tampa and Nashville.

CONCACAF has announced the dates and locations for the under-23 men's tournament, which will send two teams to next year's Summer Olympics in China.

Group play will take place at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The U.S. team will play in Tampa, close to the Bradenton training center, while Mexico is expected to be based in the L.A. area. Eight teams, two groups of four, doubleheaders, top two in each group advance to the semis. Five of the eight slots have been determined: USA, Mexico, Canada, Cuba and Haiti. The other three will come from Central American qualifying.

The semifinals and final will be played at LP Field in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans and the site of a U.S. national team friendly against Morocco before the 2006 World Cup.

The U.S. team, coached by Peter Nowak, will rely on players from last year's U-20 World Cup squad as well as MLS and European-based players in the U-23 pool (Spector, Edu, Feilhaber, Nguyen, Davies, among others). Nowak will hold a training camp in early December, then take the team to China for two matches against the Chinese under-23 team.

Four years ago, the Americans failed to qualify as Mexico and Costa Rica advanced to Athens.

The tournament will run March 11-23. Details here.

By Steve Goff  |  November 6, 2007; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Does any TV coverage fall under NBC's Telemundo affiliate, or will it be televised at all?

Posted by: Juan-John | November 6, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

My schedule is clear to be in TN March 20-23.

Posted by: sitruc | November 6, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Concacaf will arrange for Cuba to play at HDC instead of Tampa. Cuba playing in South Florida would be an absolute circus. There's got to be another Maykel Galindo somewhere on that roster.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 6, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Do clubs have to release for Olympic qualifying? I assume these aren't all FIFA dates. It's not really a problem for the MLS-based players, but Europe is still in season.

Posted by: Amanda | November 6, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Euro players will not necessarily be available for this tournament because of scheduling conflicts with clubs. It's been a problem in the past.

Posted by: Goff | November 6, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Does CONCACAF send two teams (the two semi-final winners) on to Beijing?

Posted by: total teams | November 6, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the reunion of Nowak and Freddy doesn't have an adverse affect on the team.

Posted by: Kenobi | November 6, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Hello? Second paragraph says two teams go to China

Posted by: Anonymous | November 6, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Tampa and Nashville? What happened to all those soccer specific stadiums we're supposed to have - schedule conflicts with high school flag twirler practice?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | November 6, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

US is hosting instead of 04 host Guadalajara -- does this mean we can send any "Osama" chanters to Gitmo ;)

Posted by: furia yanqui | November 6, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

And once again, the entire NW corner of the country gets completely left out of it.

Posted by: Knuckles | November 6, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Who else might be eligible? Any good young MLS defenders? This seems always to be our weakness.

I see conflicts with Euro clubs (Benfica, West Ham, Santander, etc.)

Do they still allow three overage players per team?

Posted by: furia yanqui | November 6, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Knuckles - I feel your pain bro. I live in FL and we have a hard time getting love down here either. We've had like two legit games in the past 3 years here. Why on earth they would want to stage the final in TN is beyond me? Do they have a big Hispanic population or something? I mean why is FL being neglected? We're going to have to start bidding for some of these games; how is soccer supposed to grow all over when the majority of the country gets ignored? It's just tuff noogies.

Posted by: Orlando FC | November 6, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Now, the question is this: Do I go to Bristol the weeekend before, or to the Olympic Semis and Finals on March 20th and 23rd? I definately don't want to be in TN on 2 weekends in a row.

Gut reaction says being a part of 160K at Bristol will be much more fun than being a part of 15K at Nashville will be.

Posted by: kebzach | November 6, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Steve - I read a rumor somewhere that the US and Mexico would be in the same group to grease the wheels for both to qualify. Any truth to that?

Posted by: Brian | November 6, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Sweet, spring break + sister who lives in Nashville = me at finals! Just hope the US makes it that far...

Posted by: Ed | November 6, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

You folks knocking Nashville don't know what you're talking about. Last year before the world cup, 26k showed up for the US - Morocco game, played on a Tuesday with a 6pm local time kickoff, and the atmosphere was fantastic.

Cleveland, for comparison, drew only 3k more fans with a 7pm local time kickoff on the following Friday, and Hartford had a few thousand fewer fans for a Sunday game.

Adding to that, the games will be at a great stadium with a grass field, located downtown within walking distance of lots of hotels and restaurants and good bars.

I guarantee there will be several times more people than the pathetic, quiet crowd of 5k in Hershey who were at the qualifiers for the 2000 Olympics. If you miss a great weekend because you're a snob and a fool, it's your loss.

Posted by: Haig | November 6, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"Adding to that, the games will be at a great stadium with a grass field, located downtown within walking distance of lots of hotels and restaurants and good bars." --Haig

You sure know how to hurt a guy.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | November 6, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's the Titans stadium, to be fair. There doesn't seem to be a city in this entire country that is willing to help out with anything similar for soccer. But it really is a great thing to be able to walk over the pedestrian bridge from McCormacks or Paradise Park or Tootsie's Orchid Lounge right up to the stadium. Good luck with Poplar Point.

Posted by: Haig | November 6, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Goff, Will you be returning to the People's Republic next summer if the U.S. qualifies for the Olympics? It should be old hat traversing about China for you now. "Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni"

Posted by: DL | November 6, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"And once again, the entire NW corner of the country gets completely left out of it."

What a pathetic, lying whiner you must be. Or have you just forgotten that four full national team games since 2002 have been played in Seattle? There are plenty of other places where the US hasn't played, but a US youth team can't play a small number of games elsewhere without you simpering.

What makes your complaint particularly irritating is that there isn't a stadium that meets basic desiderata for something like an Olympic qualifying competition. If Seattle or Portland had an appropriately sized stadium with a grass field, you might have some very small grounds to complain, but you seem to think that a somewhat important international youth competition should be played on a less-than-ideal surface so you can see even more US games than you're already getting, so as a basis for your gripes, you got NOTHING.

Posted by: Haig | November 6, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Liverpool is stomping on Besiktas....

Posted by: Juan-John | November 6, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Liverpool scored 8 in the CL today.

Posted by: Mike | November 6, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Now you've done it, Haig. The Seattle/Qwest pollyannas are probably going to flood the thread with "Qwest roolz!" posts. At least they can't embed 500 copies of the three existing pictures of Qwest with grass like they do at bigsoccer.

Posted by: Ash | November 6, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Liverpool's Babel's backheel goal was a thing of beauty, and was indicative of how things were going for them. I think it was goal #7, but had lost interest by then.

Posted by: RK | November 6, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

This might be a dumb question so no one get angry, but what are the last few MNT matches that have been played in the DC area? Are any gonna be planned anytime?

Posted by: Mike | November 6, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

it will be a major upset if the US doesn't qualify. The youth pool is pretty damn strong right now. I don't see how US and Mexico don't make it. So much stronger than the other teams.

re: Seattle; I see big matches played there annually. Real Madrid was there recently the aforementioned Internationals. I mean, c'mon. It's not that big of a city either FFS. There is a reason they tend to play matches in/near LA, Chicago & New York predominantly.

Posted by: papa bear | November 6, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Mike: That is not a dumb question at all. In fact, it has been discussed at length before on this blog. Basically, the fact that RFK was being used for baseball made it unattractive for international friendlies. I'm not sure it has been used for international play since the 2003 WWC; the last appearance by the MNT was sometime before that. Many of us are looking forward to seeing both the MNT and WNT, now that the Nats have departed.

Posted by: 22201 | November 6, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

who's our best 11 at the u-23 level right now?

It looks to me like we have a strong keeper in Seitz and some great mids and attackers -- Bradley, Altidore, Adu, Edu, Szetela, Feilhaber, etc.

But we seems weak defensively, as always.

Can we bring in three overage players for the Olympics (assuming we qualify)?

Posted by: furia yanqui | November 6, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the response. I figured it had something to do with RFK. Though I do remember watching the Brazil exhibition and I and my boy were amazed at how they allowed the MNT team to play the Brazilians on that field with the hash marks and out of pounds painted on it.

Posted by: Mike | November 6, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Mike | November 6, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

USA vs Panama in late fall of 2005 was the last time an international match was played at RFK I believe.

Semi-final round of CONCACAF qualifiers with the US winning 6-0 and Ed Johnson with a second half hat trick

Posted by: A Rickey | November 6, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't think US Soccer will schedule any farther north than Tennessee in March. Seattle and Portland get their share of games, but not in March. Not that they are the North Pole, but Tampa and LA make a lot of sense at that time of the year.

Posted by: Clark Coleman | November 6, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I too was at the US game before the World Cup last summer. That was the second US men's game I had been to the other one being a qualifying match in Birmingham. I much prefer LP Field to Legion Field. The sight lines are better, the field is much better, and as stated above downtown with all of its bars is less than 5 minutes away. One thing to keep in mind for people who might want to make the trip to see the semi's and the final is that March 23 is Easter Sunday.

Posted by: Forrest | November 6, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

What was the BIG news that Goff said was coming?....I never saw it.

Posted by: Atlanta | November 6, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Check yesterday's threads. Gros is planning to retire

Not the biggest news in the world, but he did warn us that, on scale of 1 to 10, it was a 7. that's about right

Posted by: Anonymous | November 6, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

That European-based pro should be Adu, not Edu, shouldn't it? Or do you have some news about Maurice?

Posted by: BD | November 7, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

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