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U.S. Futsal teams pre-World Cup friendlies
Sunday, 31 August 2008 00:00

Preparations for the FIFA Futsal World Cup, which kicks off on Sept. 30, are now underway. With just over a month until the opening match of the tournament, the U.S. National Futsal Team is set to travel to South America and Milwaukee, Wis. for a series of World Cup tuneup matches.




Preparations for the FIFA Futsal World Cup, which kicks off on Sept. 30, are now underway. With just over a month until the opening match of the tournament, the U.S. National Futsal Team is set to travel to South America and Milwaukee, Wis. for a series of World Cup tuneup matches.

First, the Futsal Team will travel to Brazil for a pre-World Cup training camp from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7. Head Coach Keith Tozer has named a squad of 14 players that will travel to South America where the team will play four friendlies against local opposition. The Futsal Team will return to Brazil in late September where they will compete in the FIFA Futsal World Cup, having been drawn in Group B with Italy, Portugal, Thailand, and Paraguay.

"I believe that the four matches in Brazil will be very important for getting the team back together for the first time since our qualification [for the World Cup] in Guatemala," said Tozer. "All the matches prior to our opening World Cup game against Paraguay will go a long way towards preparing us to try to advance out of the first round in Brazil."

The U.S. will fly in to Criciúma, Brazil on Aug. 30, before playing its first game on Sept. 1. The Futsal team will play three more games, on Sept. 2, 4, 5 before returning stateside two days later. All the games are set to take place at 7 p.m. local time, with the opponents and locations still to be determined.

The 14-player roster for the trip to Brazil includes all 12 players that took part in the CONCACAF Futsal Championship in June, where the U.S. finished in 3rd place to earn a berth to the FIFA Futsal World Cup. Midfielder Denison Cabral captained the side throughout the tournament, scoring twice while providing valuable on-field leadership for the team. Midfielder Matthew Stewart finished the tournament as the United States' leading scorer with five goals after exploding for a hat trick against Panama in the third place game.

Following the trip to Brazil, the U.S. will return to the U.S. and travel to Milwaukee, Wis. for games against NE Futsal on Sept. 12 and 13, and the Japan National Futsal Team on Sept. 13 and 14. All games will be played at the Kern Center and the roster for the games will largely be the same as the one returning from Brazil. Japan is a fellow FIFA Futsal World Cup participant and has been drawn in Group A.

"We're extremely happy to have the opportunity to play Japan twice in Milwaukee." said Tozer, who is also the coach of the Milwaukee Wave. "It's great that we're able to host [Japan] an upcoming power in the world of Futsal. I think it's groundbreaking as far as futsal is concerned in our country and I hope that it's the first of many more matches versus other national teams here in the U.S."

The FIFA Futsal World Cup is to be staged in Brazil from Sept. 30 to Oct. 19, with the U.S. opening its Group B campaign on Sept. 30 against Paraguay in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. will play three more group matches in the first round, facing off against Italy on Oct. 2, Thailand on Oct. 4, and Portugal on Oct. 6. The top two teams qualify for the second round, which is also a group stage, where another round robin will determine the teams who qualify for the knockout round. Spain is the reigning FIFA Futsal World Cup champion, having won the 2004 tournament which was hosted by Chinese Taipei.

U.S. National Futsal Team Schedule
Date        Opponent       Location                                             Time
Sept. 1    TBD                 Criciúma, Brazil                                6 p.m. ET
Sept. 2    TBD                 Criciúma, Brazil                                6 p.m. ET
Sept. 4    TBD                 Criciúma, Brazil                                6 p.m. ET
Sept. 5    TBD                 Criciúma, Brazil                                6 p.m. ET
Sept. 12  NE Futsal       Kern Center - Milwaukee, Wis.     10 a.m. CT
Sept. 12  Japan              Kern Center - Milwaukee, Wis.      6 p.m. CT
Sept. 13  NE Futsal       Kern Center - Milwaukee, Wis.     10 a.m. CT
Sept. 14  Japan              Kern Center - Milwaukee, Wis.     1 p.m. CT

US Fustal National Team with Bronze at CONCACAF June 2008
U.S. Futsal Team Roster By Position

Goalkeepers (2): Jeff Richey (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Nick Vorberg (Grants Pass, Ore.);

Defenders (2): Joe Hammes (Cedarburg, Wis.), Pat Morris (Philadelphia, Pa.);

Midfielders (7): Denison Cabral (Baltimore, Md. ), Dan DeGeer (Portland, Ore.), Matt Hatzke (San Jose, Calif.), Ptah Myers (Columbus, Ohio), Sandre Naumoski (Philadelphia, Pa.), Andy Rosenband (Hammond, Ind.), Matthew Stewart (El Paso, Texas);

Forwards (3): Mike Apple (Akron, Ohio), Jamar Beasley (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Chile Farias (Los Angeles, Calif.).