Qantas U23s commence long build-up towards Beijing
The Qantas Under 23s team will commence their preparations for the Beijing Olympics with a match against the Mexico Olympic team in San Francisco, United States on Sunday 2 March.
The Qantas Under 23s team will commence their preparations for the Beijing Olympics with a match against the Mexico Olympic team in San Francisco, United States on Sunday 2 March. The match will be the first outing for the team since qualifying last November following an arduous 14-match campaign.
Coach Graham Arnold has selected a squad of 25 players for a pre-tour camp in Sydney which commences on Saturday with 21 players to comprise the travelling party that will depart next Wednesday for the United States.
A total of nine Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets players will join the squad on Monday after featuring in Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
The squad contains two overseas based players including former Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer of English Premier League club Fulham, and striker David Williams based at Danish-club Brondby. A number of Hyundai A-League players who did not feature in the qualifying campaign have also been selected in Central Coast Mainers striker Matt Simon, Melbourne Victory defender and Qantas Young Socceroo captain Sebastian Ryall, Queensland Roar attacker Tahj Minniecon, plus Newcastle Jets pair Tarek Elrich and James Holland.
Players not considered due to injury include Adelaide United's Kristian Sarkies, Melbourne Victory's Nick Ward and Roar striker Robbie Kruse.
"This camp marks the commencement of our preparations for the Beijing Olympics and the first opportunity to get together as a group since qualifying," said Qantas Under 23s coach Graham Arnold.
"The team did a fantastic job in qualifying through a very tough campaign, but now the next stage commences in order to build the best possible team for Beijing.
"The competition for places in the 18-man squad will be intense, with many overseas based players in contention, and this coming match will be a great opportunity for locally based players to impress."
The squad for the training camp in Sydney is:
Nigel Boogaard (Central Coast Mariners), Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory), Mark Bridge (Newcastle Jets), Nathan Burns (Adelaide United), Billy Celeski (Melbourne Victory), Robert Cornthwaite (Adelaide United), Adam D-Apuzzo (Newcastle Jets), Bruce Djite (Adelaide United), Tarek Elrich (Newcastle Jets), Troy Hearfield (Newcastle Jets), James Holland (Newcastle Jets), Adrian Leijer (Fulham, England), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC), Tahj Minniecon (Queensland Roar), Stuart Musialik (Newcastle Jets), Justin Pasfield (Wollongong Wolves, NSW), Nikita Rukavytsya (Perth Glory), Sebastian Ryall (Melbourne Victory), Matt Simon (Central Coast Mariners), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Perth Glory), Tando Velaphi (Perth Glory), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), David Williams (Brondby, Denmark), Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney FC), Michael Zullo (Queensland Roar)
The draw for the Beijing Olympics football tournaments will be held on April 20.
The Australia v Mexico match will be played at McAfee Coliseum at Oakland on Sunday 2 March, 2pm kick-off local time (Monday 3 March, 9am AEDST).
Tickets for the match are available from www.tickets.com , or for group bookings only contact San Jose Earthquakes, ph +1 (408) 556-7700.