Postcards From Argentina Three
June 18, 2001
Release courtesy of U.S. Soccer
POSTCARDS FROM ARGENTINA
Today's postcard is from defender and team captain ... NELSON AKWARI Height: 5'11" Weight: 180 Born: February 4, 1982 Hometown: Houston, Texas College: UCLA
I am so excited to be here in Argentina and about to kick off the World Youth Championship - it is a feeling you can't really describe. In training we have scrimmaged a few times, and we have also been doing a lot of drills - especially working on shooting and finishing. But mostly we have just been getting out and to get playing.
The past few days of practice have been especially intense. They have brought out the best and the worst in everyone - the players, the coaches, all of us. They have been real intense. Everyone is just looking forward to getting the games started. We have been waiting so long for these games to start it will be good to finally get out there and get it going.
Mendoza the city has been great so far. The people here have all been wonderful to us and are taking great care of us. A lot of the guys have been going out to the internet cafe and just wandering around the town. I think that as a team we have adjusted well to Argentina and this town. Tonight we went to "Pearl Harbor," and it was a good time. I think all the guys got a little pumped up.
The China game is probably the biggest game of the tournament for us because it will build momentum for the rest of the tournament. Also this team has not been together long, so we will be looking to come together, play well and build the momentum that we will need for the rest of the tournament. Hopefully, we will do well and get the three points that we need and then will go from there. I think that the team spirits are high, and everyone is just ready to get out there and play (Sunday). We have been waiting for this moment for so long ... I can't wait to get out there and get it started.
Akwari leads the U.S. with 46 starts and 47 appearances in the last two years. He has played every minute of every international in 2000 and 2001. He has played with the U.S. at the Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 levels, captaining the Under-17 and Under-20 teams.