Postcards From Argentina Two: Alex Yi
June 15, 2001
Release courtesy of U.S. Soccer
Every other day a player from the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team will send out a postcard from Argentina, where the U.S. team is preparing to kick off the XIth FIFA World Youth Championship.
Today's postcard is from defender ... ALEX YI Height: 6'2" Weight: 175 Born: February 27, 1982 Hometown: Easton, Maryland College: UCLA
We are in Mendoza, Argentina, a beautiful town situated near the Argentina-Chile border at the foot of the Andes. The weather here has been great. It has been sunny and in the 60s and 70s, which is almost perfect soccer weather.
We had a game yesterday against a collection of local players. It was just a warm-up match ahead of our opener on Sunday against China. For the team not being together for a long time, I think we played alright. We did some things well and some other things not as well as you would like in the World youth Championship. But that is why we played the game, to get some game experience here in Argentina and improve as a team. I think that game will help us do that.
We won 2-1, with goals from Kyle Martino and Conor Casey. We did a lot of substituting and switching to make sure everyone got plenty of time out there. I started and played the first half, when we played four in the back. Then, in the second half, I came out and Ricky Lewis came in, and they played three in the back.
Today we had a short practice and spent most of the time in a short-sided scrimmage. We went at it really hard and it was just the kind of practice we need a few days before the championship kicks off. You can tell that the team is getting more used to one another everyday, and the five guys who weren't with us in Toulon are getting more and more used to us every practice.
After practice we met with a bunch of little Argentine schoolkids. They drove two hours to watch us practice today, and afterwards we met them and took pictures and signed autographs for them. D.J. (Countess) got in the goal and they had a good time hammering shots - often four or five at once - at him. Alecko (Eskandarian) was also out there playing four-on-one with the little guys. The kids loved it and I had a great time.
We have a meeting tonight about China, and we will really start focusing on them over the next three days. I think all the guys are real excited to get things started, especially now as there are only two practices left before the first game. I can't wait to step out and get the tournament underway. Let's put the ball down and get it started.
Yi tied for the team lead with 21 starts in 2000. He started five matches in the `99 Under-17 World Championship when the U.S. advanced to the semifinals. He was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2000.