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Cuba's Soccer Team to Play in Florida for the First Time
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) announced that for the first time Cuba's under-23 men's soccer team will play in Florida. The island's squad will debut March 11 against the US team, favorites to win the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Group A will play at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, where Cuba will debut against the US at 8:00 p.m. March 11; then take on Honduras (5:30 p.m.) March 13 and Panama (4:30 p.m.) on March 15. Group B, made up of Mexico, Canada, Guatemala and Haiti begins action on March 14 in Carson, California.

The semifinals and finals are scheduled for March 20 and 23 in Nashville, Tennessee. The two finalists will earn tickets to the Beijing Olympics.

Cuba has played in two Olympics, Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980, both as last minute substitutes for other teams that declined to send their teams. In 1992, the Olympic tournament was fixed at the under-23 age category; following it was agreed that each qualified team could include three players of any age.

Antonio Garces, of the National Soccer Commission, said the under-23 team will begin practicing on January 11, although players will continue to play in the Cuban league which renews on January 5.


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