CHICAGO (Jan. 6, 2012) – U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Caleb Porter has called in 22 players for a two-part training camp which will take place from Jan. 8-25 in Carson, Calif., and San Jose, Costa Rica. The U-23s will conduct the first 11 days of camp training at The Home Depot Center, before traveling on Jan. 18 to Costa Rica, where they will play two matches against local club teams.
The January camp marks the third gathering of this group as the team prepares for the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March. Tickets for the March 22-26 qualifiers at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., are on sale through ussoccer.com.
“I’m very pleased with where we are at in our process,” Porter said. “With three training camps remaining, I know the staff and players are hungry to get back to work after the holidays. We feel like we have a good handle on the pool after two camps, and certainly the group will become clearer when we get closer to qualifying.”
Porter’s roster includes 18 players who were named to the Dec. 15-23 training session in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
“We are really looking to build as much continuity as possible and this will be reflected in our roster selections from this point forward,” Porter said.
The U-23s, along with all men’s youth National Teams, are incorporating continuity representative of the playing style and framework that is implemented under the U.S. Men’s National Team and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The full U.S. Men’s National Team will be training at The HDC at the same time, and the U-23s will face Klinsmann’s group twice, with scrimmages on Jan. 13 and 17 in Carson, Calif.
The forward corps has a couple of new additions with Josh Gatt and Tony Taylor joining the roster. Jacksonville, Fla., native Taylor is in the midst of a loan with Atletico Clube de Portugal through July. Gatt, a native of Plymouth, Mich., signed with Norwegian side Molde at the start of 2011 and helped the club win the Norwegian Premier League.
Calexico, Calif., native Isaac Acuña will be part of Porter’s midfield in this corps. Acuña debuted for Club América in April of 2010 and is currently on loan to Mérida.
The roster includes a trio of college players. Returning from the mid-December training camp are Duke defenders Sebastien Ibeagha and Andrew Wenger. Also joining the team is UCLA sophomore midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who was named the 2011 Pac-12 Player of the Year and recently earned a contract with Major League Soccer.
“Nothing is completely set yet, and you will see several more players sprinkled in until we make our final decisions,” Porter said. “Things are taking shape quickly, which is very promising, and I’m eager to continue building on the great progress we made from the last camp.”
The same seven defenders from December’s camp return in January. The group includes the Houston Dynamo’s Kofi Sarkodie and Montreal Impact’s Zarek Valentin, who both played for Porter during the Akron Zips’ 2010 NCAA Championship.
There are six players with U.S. Soccer Development Academy ties on Porter’s roster: defenders Gale Agbossoumonde and Valentin, midfielders Joe Corona and Rowe, and forwards Gatt and Jack McInerney.
The second leg of the training camp in San Jose, Costa Rica, includes a pair of scrimmages as the U-23s face Saprissa Reserves on Saturday, Jan. 21, and Alajuela on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
The U.S. U-23 MNT was drawn into Group A of the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament and will face Canada, Cuba and El Salvador. The teams open group play from March 22-26 at LP Field in Nashville. The two finalists from the tournament qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer.
U.S. UNDER-23 ROSTER BY POSITION - Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union)
DEFENDERS (7): Gale Agbossoumonde (Estoril Praia), Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA), Andrew Wenger (Duke), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Isaac Acuña (Mérida), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabæk), Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz, Germany), Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Kelyn Rowe (UCLA), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (4): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Josh Gatt (Molde), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Tony Taylor (Estoril Praia)