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Wednesday August 2nd, 2006

Six Hyundai A-League players have been included in a 20-man Qantas Young Socceroo squad for a five-match tour of South America as the team continues preparations for October's Asian qualifiers for the 2007 FIFA World Youth Championship.

The Hyundai A-League players are goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski (Perth Glory), midfielder Troy Hearfield (Newcastle Jets), striker Nathan Burns (Adelaide United), flanker Tarek Elrich (Newcastle Jets), midfielder Brad Porter (Central Coast Mariners) and fellow Mariners midfielder Oliver Bozanic who is with the club on a short-term contract.

The Qantas Young Socceroos departed today for Chile today with their first match on Thursday against Colo Colo, before a second match in Santiago against Universidad de Chile. Three international matches will be the highlight of the tour firstly against Argentina (9 Aug), then two internationals against Chile (12 and 14 Aug).

"Undoubtedly this tour will be difficult but I am sure we will learn a lot from it and that it will prove to be an invaluable experience ahead of the qualifiers later in the year," says Qantas Young Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.

"This is quite a crucial tour for the team with the qualifiers looming.

"A tour of South America always provides a good gauge as to how the team is traveling.

"The good thing about this campaign is that we are doing this kind of preparation prior to the qualifiers, which puts well ahead of where we have been in the past in terms of knowing the capabilities of the players at a high level."

The Australian touring squad is:
Aleks Vrteski (Perth Glory), Steven O'Dor, Peter Eleftherakis, Matthew Spiranovic, Shaun Ontong (all AIS), Ben Vidaic (Sydney United), James Downey (AIS), Troy Hearfield (Newcastle Jets), Bruce Djite (AIS), Nathan Burns (Adelaide United), Evan Berger, Mitchell Langerak, Chris Grossman, Robbie Kruse, Cameron Watson (all AIS), Tarek Elrich (Newcastle Jets), Brad Porter, Oliver Bozanic (both Central Coast Mariners), Ryan McGowan (SASI South Australian Sports Institute), Sebastian Ryall (NSWIS New South Wales Institute of Sport)

Striker David Williams, who last season featured for Queensland Roar and is now with Brondby in Denmark, as well as 2005 Qantas Joeys captain Kaz Patafta of Portugal's Benfica, have not been released by their clubs for the tour. Leicester City midfielder James Wesolowski, who along with Williams was part of last year's Qantas Socceroo squad at the FIFA World Championship in The Netherlands, will also not make the trip having only recently returned from long-term injury.

The Qantas Socceroo tour matches are:
v Colo Colo (u-20), Monumental Stadium, Santiago
Thursday Aug 3, 3pm (5am Friday EST)

v Universidad de Chile (u-20), Universidad de Chile Sports Complex, Santiago
Sunday Aug 6, 3pm (5am Monday EST)

v Argentina (u-20), Venue TBC, Buenos Aires
Wednesday Aug 9, 6pm (5am Thursday EST)

v Chile (u-20), Venue TBC
Saturday Aug 12, Time TBC

v Chile (u-20), Chilean FA Complex, Santiago
Monday Aug 14, 2pm (4am Tuesday EST)

Australia are preparing for the AFC U-20 Championship which will take place in India during October and November. The top four teams at the 16-nation tournament will qualify for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

FFA Media Release
Tuesday 1 August 2006

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