U.S. U-20s kick off CONCACAF U-20 Championship today against Haiti

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team begins its quest to qualify for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Monday. The team faces Haiti to open the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship at Estadio Olímpico Universitario Lobos BUAP in Puebla, Mexico. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on FOX Soccer.

Colorado Rapids homegrown players Shane O'Neill and Dillon Serna are part of the USA's 20-man roster.

“I believe we’re as ready as we can be," said US U-20 coach Tab Ramos. "We’ve had eight camps already [this past year] and in this particular group we have guys who have all been here [in Mexico] before, We have players who are prepared and we’ve had a couple of great weeks of training. We are training in great facilities, playing in an excellent stadium, the temperature should be OK, so there are really no excuses for us but to do the best we can and try to get to this first game.”

The time the U.S. U-20s played Haiti was in the opener of the 21st CONCACAF Youth Championship, recording a 4-1 victory on Jan. 17, 2007, in Panama City, Panama when now Rapids players Andre Akpan tallied a hat trick and Anthony Wallace contributed a goal and assisted Akpan’s first goal. The USA went 2-0-1 in the CONCACAF tournament and qualified for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

The U.S. will play it's second group match against Costa Rica on Feb. 22. The top two teams from each of the four groups advancing to the quarterfinals to be played Feb. 26 and 27. The semifinals are scheduled for March 1, with the final and third-place game slated for March 3. All four semifinalists qualify for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup from June 21-July 13, 2013, in Turkey..

Fans can follow both matches on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.