June 28, 2010
BERKELEY - California midfielder Steve Birnbaum is currently participating in the U.S. under-20 national team training camp that started on June 27 and runs till July 5 in San Jose, Calif. The 19-year-old Golden Bear is one of 10 college players on the 24-man roster, which will scrimmage the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer twice and play two local clubs during the camp. Some of the training will take place at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif.
Birnbaum previously played with the U.S U-20 team, under current coach Thomas Rongen, and with the U.S. U-18s in 2008.
In 2009, his first season as a Golden Bear, the 6-2, 180-pound Irvine, Calif., product started the most games (8) of any true freshman on the Cal team. Birnbaum, who will be a sophomore this fall, played in 17 of Cal's 18 games last year.
The U.S. U-20s are approximately seven months away from the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which will serve as a qualifying tournament for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. youth national teams, particularly the U-23 and U-20 squads, often serve as springboards to the senior national team. Previous U.S. U-20 teams have included 2010 U.S. World Cup players Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment for Steve and the Cal soccer program," Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. "This is a prestigious honor for a soccer player to achieve. The current Cal players and alumni are all proud of Steve."
Two years ago, Birnbaum played for the U.S. U-20s in the Copa Chivas tournament in Mexico and played for the U.S. U-18s in the Lisbon International Tournament in Portugal.