FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Ethan White and Conor Shanosky, two of D.C. United’s most recent additions, were down in Florida for the past week, training with the US U-20 national team in an effort to impress head coach Thomas Rongen.
The duo are in contention to represent the US U-20s at the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament in April. If the Americans are successful in qualifying, they’ll head to Colombia to take part in the World Cup that begins at the end of July.
Shanosky and White have been in training camp with the U-20s since Jan. 2, and on Sunday, each started in an intrasquad scrimmage.
“It’s been real good so far. We started out getting used to it, and it’s been going up ever since,” Shanosky told MLSsoccer.com “I think we saw [Sunday] that the quality is really good here, so it’s been a great week for everyone.”
This past week of training was a chance for Rongen to check in on the players and see their fitness levels. It was one of the more impressive camps Shanosky has played in.
“This is probably our best group of players,” he said. “We’re all here to prove ourselves and do well, so it’s tough and the competition is real good.”Shanosky and White have a lot in common. Aside from being part of the US U-20 player pool and playing in last year’s Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, they each signed a professional contract with D.C. United from the club’s academy in 2010.
Both are also defensive-minded players. During Sunday’s scrimmage, White was deployed for one half as a central defender and the other as a right back, while Shanosky played as a defensive midfielder and central defender.
Camp is set to break this week and Shanosky and White will head home to the nation’s capital to prepare for 2011 season. White, who signed in December after his sophomore year at the University of Maryland, knows he has an uphill battle ahead of him.
“I know I got to work really hard,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to prove, being one of the younger guys.
“I’m looking forward to learning from lots of those guys,” continued White. “I’ve been watching them since I was 10 years old, so being able to learn from the people I’ve watched is great.”
Having signed in August, Shanosky has already experienced the rigors and demands of being a full-time professional soccer player.
“It’s definitely a jump. You have to learn something every day, and there are going to be ups and downs,” said Shanosky. “In the end, I’m just trying to improve every day.”