US SoccerUS Soccer

A New Adventure

For young defender Ventura Alvarado, getting the call as a regular starter at Liga MX powerhouse Club América was significant. Yet, it was the call he wasn’t expecting that was even bigger.

“I was surprised,” Alvarado said about the call he recently received from U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “I was about to go to Phoenix for a vacation and an assistant let me know that a call from the U.S. National Team might be coming Ten minutes later coach Klinsmann called me and I was just surprised!”

Phoenix was where it all started for Alvarado 22 years ago. Born to Mexican parents in the United States, the maturing center back is eligible to represent both the U.S. and Mexico on the international soccer stage. For the moment, he is a U.S. player, and his parents, who had initially thought Mexico might be the better place for him, have enjoyed seeing him in the U.S. jersey.

“My family was really excited when I got called up for the U.S. National Team,” he said. “They were happy when I started playing for Club América, and now they’re really happy. They sent me a picture of my nieces and they were holding a newspaper that said ‘Ventura Alvarado goes to the U.S. National Team,’ and they are all smiling. They’re just partying over there right now. They’re so happy, and just hearing them makes me really happy too.”

Ventura Alvarado
USMNT Defender Ventura Alvarado makes his international debut against Denmark in the rain of Aarhus.

While still one of the team’s newer players, Alvarado was glad to come in and see some familiar faces like Michael Orozco and Greg Garza, his opponents in Liga MX, who are now his U.S. teammates.

“Guys like Michael Orozco, he has more experience than me. He’s been here a lot of years, and Greg Garza, he has a lot of experience too and has been playing very well in Tijuana. Everything they say to me, it just gives me confidence,” Alvarado said. “It’s nice to have them because we have so much in common, players they know, clubs and coaches. They are my friends. It helps me out a lot.”

Flash forward to last week in Aarhus, Denamrk. Michael Orozco had to come out of the USA’s international friendly against the Danes with a knee injury, handing Alvarado his chance to get on the pitch.

“Earning my first cap, it was an incredible experience,” Alvarado said. “They said, ‘you’re going in,’ and I was just excited!”

Making his first appearance for the USA may be just the first step in Alvarado’s international career. The athletic defender hopes to work his way up to one day to play on soccer’s biggest stage, and so far he’s relishing the opportunity he’s been given with the U.S MNT.

“I hope to work and little by little start getting more minutes, getting more games,” he said. “Little by little, work my way towards being a starter and being known and getting the confidence up of the fans and the coaches and everybody. My ultimate goal is to go to the World Cup. It’s a dream for every player.”

COPA

American Opportunity

Thirty years ago, Lee Yarbrough and Stacy Story moved from the United States to Mexico and they never left. William Yarbrough was born in Mexico four years later and brought up there. Two weeks ago, his family history collided with his personal past when he received his first ever call-up to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team.

“My parents moved to Mexico as missionaries and they’ve been there ever since,” Yarbrough told ussoccer.com. “At an early age I knew what I wanted to do, which was play soccer.”

Yarbrough has played professionally in Liga MX since 2010, when he began his professional career with Pachuca before moving to his current club León in 2012. At León, Yarbrough has backstopped the team to the 2013 Apertura and 2014 Clausura titles. Beyond the club level, he knew he wanted to play international soccer, and as a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, he always thought there might be a choice to make one day.

His performances with León caught the eye of U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who sent scouts to Mexico City before sending the invitation. Ultimately, Klinsmann elected to call up the goalkeeper, and so far, he likes what he sees.

“William has a wonderful positive character,” Klinsmann said. “He’s highly motivated and wants to learn. Chris Woods, our goalkeeper coach, is full of compliments already so we are really glad to have him in camp.”

William Yarbrough
Goalkeeper William Yarbrough makes a save on the training pitch in his first camp with the USMNT.

At the moment, Yarbrough is just trying to take advantage of the opportunity to be in camp with the Men’s National Team.

“I like living day-by-day and doing my best every day,” Yarbrough said. “Right now, I’m just looking to give coach Klinsmann and the rest of the teammates a good impression of myself. I want them to know that I’m a person who’s going to give everything on and off the field, who truly shows passion and a commitment to the meaning of representing the United States.”

It certainly helps to have familiar faces on board, and with fellow Liga MX members Ventura Alvarado, Greg Garza, and Michael Orozco also in Zurich, Yarbrough has been able to draw on their experience as he gets adjusted to the new environment.

“It’s been great to talk to those guys that I’ve played with and against in Mexico, and they’ve all been hugely helpful to me, as have the rest of the guys.” Yarbrough said. “My experience with this first call-up has been great. I’ve learned a lot of things. Everyone helps you adapt in a very quick way. Coach Klinsmann has been very helpful with that, too.”

Yabrough has always been a follower of soccer in the United States, but his first real moment of pride in the colors of the National Team came as a 10-year-old watching the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“When the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup in a penalty shootout, I was pretty young,” Yarbrough recalled. “I was up in Montana when that happened, and just seeing the reaction of so many people to a sport that was just growing in the United States was something that caught my attention in a big way.”

His first time with the group has already been a thrill while the prospect of earning his first cap looms as a huge reward for the work he’s put in for so long.

“It’s just an honor,” Yarbrough said. “It’s a privilege to be representing the United States, and I’m trying to take advantage of this opportunity because I don’t want it to be just one time. I want there to be many to come. I think what’s helped is the way the rest of the team helps you feel like you’ve been a part of this group for a really long time.”

U.S. Soccer to Hold Fan Headquarters April 14-15 Prior to USA-Mexico, Presented by AT&T

CHICAGO (March 25, 2015) – U.S. Soccer is planning an exciting series of activities to energize fans and display the passion for the sport of soccer in San Antonio, Texas, beginning on April 14, as the U.S. Men’s National Team is set to take on Mexico, Presented by AT&T, on April 15.

U.S. Soccer’s Fan Headquarters in San Antonio is the official pregame party for fans attending the USA vs. Mexico match. FanHQ San Antonio will kick off on April 14, the night before the game, at Sunset Station to celebrate one of the biggest matchups of the year. Space is limited and an RSVP is required for admission to this free event.

FanHQ at Sunset Station
Date: April 14
Time: 7 p.m.-12 a.m. CT
Location: Sunset Station, 1174 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Space is Limited, Tickets Required - RSVP Below

Fan HQ San Antonio will continue on April 15, outside the Alamodome in the North Plaza, starting at 3:30 p.m. CT, prior to kickoff of the sold-out USA-Mexico game at 7:30 p.m. CT.

The event will include a wide array of activities, ranging from exhibitions to giveaways and contests, for fans to enjoy and experience ahead of one of the biggest rivalries in soccer. There will also be food and beverages available for purchase, and an on-site official U.S. Soccer store.

Several of the exhibitions that will take place will connect art, fashion and culture to the game of soccer, as well as to the USA-Mexico match itself. 

Kicks to the Pitch, an online magazine and live event production company, will bring three exhibitions that together aim to showcase the game in a fresh, unique and cutting edge way to attract tastemakers and trendsetters to the sport. These will include: Stash (a graffiti pioneer); Transhoeformers (turning old sneakers into collectible works of art); and Sneaker Summit alongside SNKSUP (a display of collectible sneakers aiming to unite America through its sneaker culture).

These three innovative exhibitions will each bring something unique and fresh into the event as each aims to tie in their own one-of-a-kind talents with the game of soccer and the match between CONCACAF heavyweights.

Furthermore, U.S. Soccer sponsors will also be on hand for fans to enjoy the festivities while playing games, taking photos and winning prizes.

Finally, TV broadcasters will host their pregame shows outside the Alamodome, as both FOX Sports 1 and Univision will be on-site to prepare the crowd and TV audiences ahead of one of the most anticipated games of the year.

More detailed information of the events taking place can be found below. You can also find detailed information in the USA-MEX match page.

Art and Culture Exhibitions: 

  • Stash: Stash will paint two wall-sized canvasses inspired by the USA-Mexico match, Presented by AT&T, live at FanHQ. He has also created a custom name and number set available for customization on the new U.S. Men’s Nike Away Jersey. The customized jersey is extremely limited and can only be purchased at ussoccerstore.com or on-site at FanHQ. 
  • Transhoeformers: At FanHQ, Transhoeformers will display art created from the back of U.S. Soccer’s equipment room. Old boots and balls intended for National Team players that were never used will be given a new life. He has created model robots, vehicles and animals entirely from sneakers and other recycled materials. Transhoeformers’ work is truly one of a kind. His intricate and creative pieces are a masterfully examples of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and sustainability.
  • Sneaker Summit and SNKSUP: will exhibit a display of unique and collectable sneakers that connects sneaker culture to soccer in America. Sneaker Summit provides a platform for sneaker enthusiast to celebrate sneaker culture and to buy, sell, trade and discuss rare, vintage, and collectible shoes and apparel, and has grown to be one of the biggest sneaker conventions in the country. SNKSUP provides a showcase for sneaker aficionados and collectors to talk shop and come together to celebrate the thriving sneaker culture in Texas. This event is held annually in San Antonio, TX and attracts sneakerheads from all across the country.

Contests, Displays and Giveaways:

  • AT&T: Visit AT&T for the Slo-Mo Photo Op, where fans have the opportunity to showcase their best group goal celebrations and have them turned into a slo-mo video which can then be shared via email/social media. Also, check out the Digital Free Kick game, a fast-pace phone game where fans try to score as many goals as possible in 60 seconds through flicking a ball from a handset into a goal on a monitor. The top scorers are rewarded with great prizes. Fans can also win prizes by taking the “It Can Wait Pledge” to not text and drive and sharing the message on their social channels as well as winning the Speed Kick Challenge, where fans test how hard they can strike a ball on goal.
  • Bud Light: Visit Bud Light’s mobile bar to audition for your chance to be a part of the “Up For Whatever” campaign and play FIFA 15 with other fans.
  • Chevy: Check out Chevy’s display to see new Chevy vehicles, get your face painted in support of the USA, have your image included into the Men’s National Team Starting XI photo, and take home prizes and giveaway items.
  • Continental Tire: The Continental Tire Cornering Performance Challenge allows fans to complete a product information “Challenge” and receive a free Continental Tire scarf (while supplies last). Participants will also be entered to win a U.S. National Team Jersey. Fans can also participate in the Corner Kick Pic; to take a picture against a soccer themed backdrop and retrieve the picture online. Also at Continental Tire’s section, Tic-Tac-Tire, where fans will kick or throw a plush soccer ball into tires to play tic-tac-toe.
  • Coppertone: At Coppertone’s tent, fans will be encouraged to demonstrate their soccer skills by kicking a ball through a target. Prizes awarded while supplies last.
  • Liberty Mutual: Come pick up your crown at the Liberty Mutual Insurance tent where fans will be given the chance to share their passion in a fun, memorable way by posing for a vintage soccer poster (while supplies last). Posters will be printed on-site and also provided digitally to allow fans the ability to share on their social media.

WNT for Club and Country

The fast-approaching Women’s World Cup has kept the WNT players tremendously busy around the USA and the world, but they are looking forward to the chance to turn out for their NWSL clubs and play a handful of games before the final stretch run to Canada.

Gallery: U-23 MNT Holds First Olympic Qualifying Prep Camp in Bosnia

The U-23 Men's National Team is holding its first training camp of 2015 ahead of Olympic qualifying this fall. The U-23's trip included a 5-2 win against Bosnia's U-21 side in Tuzla where the team has been based for a majority of the camp. Next up for the U-23's is a friendly against Denmark on March 31. Keep up with the U-23 MNT's camp and match against Denmark on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.  

U-23 MNT vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina: Highlights - March 27, 2015

The U-23 Men's National Team beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 5-2 in Sarajevo as the team continues to tune up for Olympic Qualifying later this year.

U.S. U-23 MNT To Play Mexico U-23’s on April 22 in California


CHICAGO (March 28, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will face its counterpart Mexico on Wednesday, April 22 at 8 p.m. PT at StubHub Center in Carson, California. The game against its CONCACAF rival will serve as preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, to be held Oct. 1-13 in the USA.

Tickets for the U.S. U-23 MNT-Mexico match-up go sale to the public Thursday, April 2, at 10 a.m. PT through ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.

The U.S. U-23 MNT is currently in the midst of its first training camp of 2015 in Europe. The camp marks the beginning of the team’s qualifying preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

After training from March 23-26 in Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the U.S. played its first friendly of the year on March 27, defeating Bosnia 5-2, behind goals from Jordan Morris, Mario Rodriguez, Benji Joya, Alonso Hernandez and Fatai Alashe. The team next faces Denmark on Tuesday, March 31, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The U-23 MNT is led by head coach Andi Herzog, who has served as a Senior Men’s National Team assistant coach since 2011. Herzog’s assistants include John Hackworth, who serves as head coach of the U-15 Boys’ National Team, MNT scout Matthias Hamann and goalkeeper coach Memo Valencia.

Stay up-to-date with all the latest information on the U-23 MNT on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

U.S. U-23 MNT Opens Up 2015 with 5-2 Win Over Bosnia U-21s

TUZLA, Bosnia & Herzegovina (March 27, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team defeated Bosnia U-21's 5-2 in its first friendly of the year in Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Five different players scored for the U.S. including, Jordan Morris, Mario Rodriguez, Benji Joya, Alonso Hernandez and Fatai Alashe, with Luis Gil assisting on three of the tallies.

The U.S. jumped to a 2-0 advantage early in the game after Morris converted from the top of the box following a pass form Gil in the eighth minute. Rodriguez notched the second thanks to an assist from Morris in the 14th.

Bosnia got into the score sheet with a goal in the 64th, but a foul in the box to Jerome Kiesewetter two minutes later, gave the U.S. a penalty kick that Benji Joya had no trouble converting for the 3-1 USA lead. Shortly after, Bosnia got its own call in the box and scored on a penalty kick to make it a 3-2 game.

The USA once again was able to distance itself as Hernandez received a missed shot from Gil that rebounded straight back to him to send it to the back of the net in the 78th. Finally, the U.S. sealed the deal when a perfectly placed corner from Gil went to the middle of the box and Alashe headed it home to secure the 5-2 victory. 

Next, the U-23 MNT will travel to Denmark to face Denmark U-23’s on Tuesday, March 31. The U.S. U-23 MNT is currently in its first training camp of 2015 in Europe. The camp marks the beginning of the team’s qualifying preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

For more updates, follow the U-23's on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-23 MNT v. Bosnia Herzegovina U-21 MNT
Date: March 27, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Stadion Tusanj; Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 800
Weather: 49 degrees

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                            2          3          5
BIH                             0          2          2             

USA – Jordan Morris (Luis Gil)                                  8th minute
USA – Mario Rodriguez (Jordan Morris)                    14
BIH – Nikola Jelisic                                                     64
USA – Benji Joya (penalty kick)                                 66
BIH – Armin Hodzic (penalty kick)                            72
USA – Alonso Hernandez (Luis Gil)                           78
USA – Fatai Alashe (Luis Gil)                                     86

Lineups:
USA: 12-Charlie Horton; 3-Boyd Okwuonu, 5-Will Packwood, 4-Shane O’Neill, 2-Juan Pablo Ocegueda (6-Christian Dean, 81); 17-Jerome Kiesewetter, 8-Benji Joya (16-Dan Metzger, 83), 10-Luis Gil (capt.), 7-Ariel Lassiter (13-Khiry Shelton, 61); 9-Jordan Morris (11-Alonso Hernandez, 74), 18-Mario Rodriguez (14-Fatai Alashe, 61)
Subs not used: 22-Tyler Miller
Not Dressed: 15-Alfred Koroma Shams, 20-Oscar Sorto
Head Coach: Andi Herzog

BIH: 1-Kenan Piric; 11-Adis Omerbasic, 6-Luka Miletic, 5-Renato Goikovic (17-Marko Mihoievic, 45), 4-Alem Merlaic; 14-Damir Sadikovic, 16-Nikola Jelisic, 10-Samir Radovac (23-Smail Prevljak, 74); 2-Kerim Memiia, 15-Fedor Predragovic (19-Amar Rahmanovic, 45), 9-Armin Hodzic (capt.) (8-Milos Satara, 81)
Subs not used: 7-Dzenan Burekovic, 12-Vedran Kiosevski, 13-Milos Acimovic, 18-Omar Markovic, 20-Semir Music, 21-Branimir Odak, 22-Nemanja Trkulja
Head Coach: Darko Nestorovic

Stats Summary: USA / BIH
Shots: 8 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 7
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 18 / 9
Offside: 0 / 1 

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Boyd Okwuonu (caution)                  55th minute
USA – Fatai Alashe (caution)                        63
BIH – Samir Radovac (caution)                     65
USA –Benji Joya (caution)                            71
BIH – Kerim Memiia (caution) 73

Officials:
Referee – Edin Jakupovic
Assistant 1 – Sreten Udovicic
Assistant 2 – Senad Ibrisimbegovic
Fourth Official – Elvedin Topuzovic

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