Guatemalan players (above) arrive at their hotel in San Salvador, El Salvador, ahead of the Central American qualifying tournament for the next CONCACAF Under-20 Championship. (Photo courtesy of the Federación Nacional de Fútbol de Guatemala)
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Following an overland trip that lasted approximately five hours, Guatemala arrived in San Salvador on Tuesday to compete in the Central American qualifying tournament for the next CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
Head coach Guillermo Morales’ selection is comprised of 15 domestic-based performers and three with teams in the United States -- Nicholas Hagen and Jose Ruiz (both of FC Dallas), plus Pablo Aguilar (University of Virginia).
"The fans expect that we’ll qualify and we hope to get it,” said Morales. “There is talent. There are seven players who play in the Liga Mayor. In this tournament, you have to beat everyone.”
After participating in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia, the Guatemalans failed to qualify for the 2013 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
Guatemala’s six-game schedule is as follows:
July 17 v Costa Rica (San Salvador)
July 19 v El Salvador (Santa Tecla)
July 23 v Honduras (Santa Tecla)
July 25 v Panama (San Salvador)
July 27 v Nicaragua (Santa Tecla)
July 29 v Belize (San Salvador)
The CONCACAF competition will qualify teams for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will be held in New Zealand.
GUATEMALA UNDER-20 NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER
(Central American Qualifying: July 17-July 29, 2014)
GOALKEEPERS: Nicholas Hagen (FC Dallas/USA), Ceryi Herrera (Sanarate)
DEFENDERS: Luis de Leon (Comunicaciones), Kevin Grijalva (Comunicaciones), Cristian Jimenez (Municipal), Rene Maltes (Suchitepequez), Nicolas Samayoa (Antigua GFC), Allen Yanes (Achik’)
MIDFIELDERS: Pablo Aguilar (University of Virginia/USA), Diego Alvarez (Comunicaciones), Cristian Ojeda (Universidad de San Carlos), Julio Ortiz (Comunicaciones), Jose Ruiz (FC Dallas/USA), Luis Samayoa (Achik’)
FORWARDS: Mario Hernandez (Municipal), Christopher Paolo Ortiz (Comunicaciones), Diego Palma (Mictlan), Mauro Portillo (Municipal)