Dec. 7, 2007
USF freshman defender Victor Cortez and the U.S. Under-20 National Team concluded an 11-day training camp in Argentina, which included three international games, earlier this week. Cortez played all three matches, starting and recording an assist in a 1-1 draw versus Buenos Aires on November 29.
The U.S. U-20 squad also played River Plate to a 1-1 tie and lost to Uruguay 1-0 to finish with a 0-1-2 record. Cortez has now played in a total of seven international matches having seen time for the U.S. U-17 and U-15 teams as well.
"Representing the United States I get pure goosebumps especially when they play the national anthem," Cortez said. "It gives you a sense of pride. You just know that you're representing something bigger than the university or yourself."
Cortez was one of 18-players from across the country named by Head Coach Thomas Rongen to participate in this particular trip. Playing alongside Cortez were professional players, Kyle Davies and Andrew Giallombardo from Southhampton FC (England), Abdusalam Ibrahim and Anthony Wallace from FC Dallas (MLS), Bryan Arguez from DC United (MLS) and Jorge Flores from Chivas USA (MLS). In total, eight players also had FIFA World Cup experience.
"When you play national or club teams overseas you are playing professionals," Cortez said. "They play is faster and the game is more physical. In the stands there are coaches and scouts from other teams. You find out that good players learn to adjust and make it through."
The U-20 team, with Cortez on its roster, will next compete in Mid-February in New Orleans, La., versus national and club teams from Honduras.
At the recently completed annual USF team banquet, Cortez earned the Stephen Negoesco Award as the Dons' top newcomer. Cortez started in 15 matches for USF earning 2007 All-WCC Freshman Team honors. Cortez was a four year varsity player at Miramonte High School where he was a high school All-American as a senior.