Aug. 9, 2005
COLERAINE, Northern Ireland - Led by Santa Clara University sophomore defender Jamil Roberts, the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team defeated Brazil, Serbia & Montenegro and host Northern Ireland to win the elite group of the 2005 Milk Cup for the first time.
Roberts, who played the full 90 minutes in all three of the American side's three contests, led a defensive effort that limited a talented Brazilian squad to a 1-1 draw in the first round of the tournament in Ballymena. The U.S. registered a 1-0 shutout of Serbia & Montenegro in the second round, also in Ballaymena, then survived a tough 4-2 decision to the hosts in the final in Coleraine.
"Jamil played extremely well in some very difficult circumstances," said Bronco assistant coach Eric Yamamoto, who served as an assistant coach for the U.S. squad. "He played very solid at the centerback position, particularly against an outstanding Brazilian team. Their team was made up of mostly professional players who play at a very high level all year-round."
The U.S. fell behind early against Brazil as Fabiano finished off a pass from Hugo in the 25th minute, but Lee Nguyen found the equalizer in the 77th minute.
Charlie Davies scored the winning goal against Serbia & Montenegro to push the U.S. into the championship match. In the final Northern Ireland took the early lead in front of a raucious home crowd, but the U.S. rattled off four unanswered goals to run away with the contest. Rodrigo Lopez scored the opening goal off a penalty kick before Davies notched the next three goals.
"The Milk Cup gave Jamil exposure against a really exceptional level of player," said Yamamoto. "He is a very blue-collar, gritty, strong, tough type of player and it was a great experience to play against the more finesse players from Brazil. It was also a unique experience to play in the final against the decidedly home side in Northern Ireland."
The U.S. had never won the international youth football tournament, which is hailed as one of the premier soccer events in Europe. The U.S. played in the elite group, which also included Brazil and Serbia & Montenegro.
2005 Milk Cup Results (Elite Group)
Monday, August 1
U.S. 1, Brazil 1
Northern Ireland 3, Serbia & Montenegro 1
Wednesday, August 3
U.S. 1, Serbia & Montenegro 0
Northern Ireland 2, Brazil 0
Friday, August 5
U.S. 4, Northern Ireland 2
Brazil 5, Serbia & Montenegro 0
The Milk Cup began in 1983 and added the elite group, which is an invitation only tournament, in 1995. The tournament routinely includes some of the best national youth teams as well as English Premier League squads such as Manchester United, Rangers, Newcastle United and Everton.
A number of famous players have played in the Milk Cup, including David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Wayne Rooney who played for Everton in the 2000 Milk Cup. In the 2002 World Cup there were 30 Milk Cup veterans playing.
Milk Cup Champions (Elite Group)
1995 -- Wales
1996 -- Turkey
1997 -- Northern Ireland
1998 -- Turkey
1999 -- E.C. Vitoria (Brazil)
2000 -- Chile
2001 -- Mexico
2002 -- Paraguay
2003 -- Paraguay
2004 -- Turkey
2005 -- USA