Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Futbolr Corey Ashe called up to the U-23 Squad

This is an article on Corey about being called up to the U23 Squad. Good Luck boy.

The Houston Dynamo will embark on a three-match road trip this week, playing away games against Chicago, San Jose and Dallas. Second-year midfielder Corey Ashe, however, has slightly different travel plans on his agenda.

On Monday, Ashe was named to the United States roster for the prestigious Toulon Tournament, which will take place in Toulon, France May 20-29. Normally, a U-21 tournament, this year's version will include U-23 squads in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

For the United States, the tournament will essentially be a tryout for players hoping to crack the roster. Only three players - goalkeepers Dominic Cervi and Chris Seitz and defender Kamani Hill - from the roster were also on the U.S. roster for Olympic qualifying in March. Ashe will be one of those trying to prove himself.

"I think the expectations are going to be high," the 22-year-old Ashe said. "From what I have heard, it is a very good tournament with very good teams. Obviously we have a pretty hard bracket. From the opening day, it's going to be tough, and it's going to be demanding."

Ashe represented the United States at the FIFA U-17 World Championships in 2003 but has not been called in by the national team since. He said teammates Stuart Holden and Patrick Ianni, who both competed with the U-23 squad during qualifying, helped prepare him for U-23 head coach Peter Nowak's coaching style.

"[They said] Peter, like [Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear], demands a lot but in the same aspect wants you to have fun," Ashe said. "From what I have heard, he is a great coach. Training sessions are somewhat similar and obviously a little bit different, but for the most part, it is kind of like being here."

The Dynamo could be without Ashe, a reliable substitute on the left side of the field, for as many as four games depending on the success of the U-23 team. But Ashe, who has played just 41 minutes with the first team since April 9, will gain valuable experience and exposure before returning to Houston.

"It is a huge honor to represent your country. It would be awesome to go to the Olympics; it is something you dream about as a kid," Ashe said. "But it is kind of different ... because you're representing not just the city of Houston, but the U.S., and the spotlight is on you. There are millions of things that can happen. You go over there and you can be scouted, so going over there has a lot of positives, especially representing you country."

Ashe and many of the players on the U.S. squad for Toulon are considered outsiders to make the Olympic roster, but a good performance could earn Ashe a callback for pre-Olympic training camps.

"I expect to do pretty much what I do here: get the ball in the box to the forwards, be dangerous, use my speed and go one-on-one with players, but also be smart on defense," Ashe said.

As Ashe put it, "millions of things can happen" between now and August, and Ashe might even find himself making plans for an even longer road trip, all the way to China.

No comments: