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Herzog Names 24-Player Roster for Final Camp Ahead of Olympic Qualifying

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2015) – U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog has called 24 players to England for a final preparation camp before the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in October.

The camp will run in Manchester, England, from Aug. 30-Sept. 8 and will feature friendlies against England on Sept. 3 at Deepdale Stadium in Preston, and Qatar on Sept. 8 at Gigg Lane in Bury. Fans can follow the action live via Twitter through @ussoccer.

"These are two important games here because they are our last before the Olympic Qualifying tournament,” Herzog said. “We have a strong group of players that we believe in, and now we are able to look as some of the guys who did very well with our U-20 team. This is really the last chance for all of the players to make an impression before we select the final roster for qualifying.”

The U-23’s were last in Europe in June, where they competed in the prestigious Toulon Tournament. With group stage wins against Netherlands and Qatar, the team advanced to the tournament’s third-place playoff, where it defeated England and matched its best ever finish in the tournament. The U-23’s are 5-3-0 in 2015, having also logged wins against Bosnia in March and Mexico in April.

The 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship will be played across the United States from Oct. 1-13. The U.S. was drawn into Group A and opens with a pair of games at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, against Canada on Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. CT and Cuba on Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. CT. The U.S. will conclude group play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on Oct. 6 against Panama at 7:30 p.m. MT. [TICKETS]

Roster By Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3):
Cody Cropper (MK Dons; Maple Grove, Minn.), Ethan Horvath (Molde; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downington, Pa.).
DEFENDERS (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Apollon Limassol; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington County, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Tex.), Benji Joya (Club Necaxa; San Jose, Calif.), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wisc.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.).
FORWARDS (5): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Scion; Washington, D.C.).

Roster Notes:

  • Seven players from the USA’s 2015 U-20 World Cup team that advanced to the quarterfinals in New Zealand now join the U-23 group: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Emerson Hyndman, Matt Miazga, Rubio Rubin, Zack Steffen, Maki Tall and Gedion Zelalem.
  • Five players from this roster have scored goals for the U-23’s in 2015: Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Jerome Kiesewetter, William Packwood and Mario Rodriguez.
  • Three from this roster scored goals with the U-20’s in 2015: Hyndman, Rubin and Tall.
  • Shane O’Neill was a force for the squad on the backline in the Toulon Tournament, and earned honors as the Third-Best player in the tournament.
  • Hernandez and Joya both scored penalties in the third-place playoff of the Toulon Tournament. Hernandez’s strike was the first score of the game and Joya’s proved to be the game-winner.
  • Rodriguez returns to the mix after missing the Toulon Tournament. The strong striker plays at Borussia Mönchengladbach, the same club as Men’s National Team defender Fabian Johnson. The North Hollywood-native has scored twice in as many games in 2015.
  • Luis Gil also returns to the U-23’s after missing the Toulon Tournament. Gil wore the captain’s armband in each of the first three games of 2015, where he leads the team with four assists.
  • Goalkeeper Cody Cropper (MK Dons), defender Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur) and midfielder Hyndman (Fulham) won’t have far to travel for this camp, coming over from their nearby English club teams.
  • Eighteen-year-old Gedion Zelalem, who recently completed a loan move from Arsenal to Rangers, made his U.S. debut for the U-20’s in this summer’s World Cup.
  • The roster is a diverse mix with the players coming from club teams of various leagues around the world. Nine players from this roster represent MLS clubs, three come from German club teams, four from English teams, two from Mexico, and a single player each from leagues in Cyprus, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, and Switzerland.
  • Twelve players from this roster have ties to the Development Academy: Ethan Horvath (Real Colorado), Emerson Hyndman (FC Dallas), Benji Joya (De Anza Force), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Eric Miller (Minnesota Thunder Academy), Boyd Okwuonu (FC Dallas), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Marc Pelosi (De Anza Force), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy & Pateadores), Zack Steffen (Continental FC DELCO), Wil Trapp (Crew SC Academy).

U-20 MNT Begins New Cycle at Stevan Vilotic Tournament in Serbia

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named a 23-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2015 Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament in Serbia.

The group will begin training on Aug. 30 in Subotica and begin tournament play against Serbia on Sept. 3, before traveling to Senta for a match against France on Sept. 4. The team will conclude the tournament with a placement match on Sept. 7.

“We’re giving a bunch of players an opportunity here to make an impression in the beginning, and I’m excited to be starting a new cycle that will hopefully end in the World Cup in South Korea in 2017,” Ramos said. “We’re taking 23 players in this camp, and the main reason for that is that we have back-to-back games. We play Serbia on Sept. 3 and we play France on Sept. 4, so those will be two completely different lineups and everybody will be able to get on the field and show themselves and show themselves against excellent competition.”

The Stevan Vilotic-Cele Tournament is the first test of a new U-20 cycle for the U.S. All 23 players from this group were born in 1997, although Erik Palmer-Brown has experience in this age group as he was a part of the 2015 U-20 MNT World Cup team. Thirteen other players participated in MNT camps with the U-18 team earlier this year.

Fourteen players from this roster represent clubs in Major League soccer, while five play in college, and the English Premier League, Bundesliga and USL each have single representatives on the squad. 22 players are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Christian Herrera (Real Monarchs; Las Cruces, N.M.), Justin Vom Steeg (Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Nicholas Hinds (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Andrew Lombard (Northeastern; Montclair, N.J.), Christian Onalfo (LA Galaxy; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Pablo Pelaez (Seattle Sounders FC; San Diego, Calif.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.),
MIDFIELDERS (8): Amir Bashti (Stanford; Cupertino, Calif.), Collin Fernandez ( Chicago Fire, Downers Grove, Ill.), Cameron Lindley (Chicago Fire; Carmel, Ind.), Abuchi Obinwa (Hannover 96; Orlando, Fla.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic PSG; Libertyville, Ill.), Martin Salas (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Kyle Scott (Chelsea; Winterbourne, Bristol), Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew SC; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): Coy Craft (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo; Pasadena, Texas), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders FC; Des Moines, Wash.), Nebojsa Popovic (Saint Louis FC; Loznica, Serbia), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Casa Grande, Ariz.)

COPA

Veteran U.S. WNT Defender Rachel Van Hollebeke Retires from Club and Country

CHICAGO (Aug. 25, 2015) – Veteran defender Rachel Van Hollebeke has announced her retirement from club and country. Capped 113 times by the United States, she was a gold medal winner at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and a starter at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where she scored the clinching goal in the USA’s 2-0 opening match victory against Korea DPR. She is one of just five players to score for the United States as a defender in a Women’s World Cup. 

Van Hollebeke will begin her second career this fall when she starts medical school in her hometown at UC San Diego. Medical school has long been a goal for Van Hollebeke. She was pre-med in human biology when a student-athlete at Stanford and took her medical school entrance exams in 2008. She was accepted into UCSD in 2011 but has been deferring until this fall. Her father, Donald, was a long-time heart surgeon in San Diego. 

Van Hollebeke, who turns 30 on Aug. 26, made her first impact on the international scene as a key member of the U.S. team that won the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Cup in Canada. She tore her ACL in the championship game of that tournament and would suffer another ACL injury before graduating from high school, the second on the opposite knee on her first day back on the field after the first surgery. 

Long-known for her mental toughness, Hollebeke would go on to be a starter for the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand (earning 30 total U-19 caps), and then play extensively for the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team (earning 17 U-21 caps). She got her first call-up to the senior National Team in July of 2006 and made her full National Team debut under Pia Sundhage against China at the Algarve Cup in March of 2008. 

“I’m sad to be leaving the game because I love soccer, I love my teammates and I love Portland, but it’s also been a passion of mine for a long time to attend medical school, and this is the right time to start that journey,” said Van Hollebeke, who has played the last three seasons for Portland Thorns FC and was among the last 25 players vying for spots on the 2015 Women’s World Cup roster before it was cut to 23. “Soccer has been a huge part of my life, but I am so excited for this next step. I feel ready. I felt a shift this year and it was the right time to begin this part of my life.” 

Née Rachel Buehler, she changed to her married name on the back of her jersey at the beginning of 2014, but it was her maiden name that produced one of the best nicknames in U.S. history. Known for her sweet disposition off the field, her crunching tackles and tenacious ball-winning on the pitch earned her the moniker of “The Buehldozer” during the latter part of her career. 

Van Hollebeke started 84 of her 113 caps while playing center and outside back and scored five international goals. She is one of six players to play almost exclusively on the back line to earn 100 or more caps for the USA and scored on a header in her 100th cap as she captained the team against Iceland at the 2013 Algarve Cup. 

Van Hollebeke grew up in Del Mar, California, north of San Diego, where she played youth club soccer for the San Diego Surf. She would go on to have a decorated career at Stanford, becoming a three-year captain and earning a slew of academic and athletic awards. 

Van Hollebeke won league championships in both Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). She was allocated to the FC Gold Pride for the inaugural season of WPS in 2009 and captained the club to the league title in 2010. She played in 2011 for the Boston Breakers. In the NWSL, she was allocated to the Portland Thorns in 2013, playing every minute of all 20 matches in which she appeared while helping lead the team to the league title in its inaugural season. She played the 2014 season for the Thorns and will end her career at the club when this season concludes. Due to her medical school commitments, she may not be available for the final two regular season games but could be available for the playoffs should the Thorns qualify. 

“I feel so blessed to have had the experiences in this game and I’m so thankful to my family, my husband and of course, all of my coaches and the support staff I’ve worked with over the years,” said Van Hollebeke. “My teammates are all like my sisters, and I love them all so much. I will forever be honored to be a part of such an outstanding group of women. In the end, I’m just very thankful to U.S. Soccer for investing in me at an early age and for bestowing on me the greatest honor of representing the United States for so many years.” 

Supporters Club Members Have First Opportunity to Purchase Tickets for Unprecedented USA-Mexico Clash on Oct. 10

CHICAGO (Aug. 27, 2015) – U.S. Soccer will hold a special sales process for its allotment of tickets for the USA-Mexico clash in the CONCACAF Cup on Oct. 10 at the Rose Bowl. The match pits the champions of the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cups in a winner take all showdown for the right to represent the region at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

Similar to other previous ticket sales, U.S. Soccer Supporters Club members and other members of the U.S. Soccer community will have an opportunity to purchase tickets from the allotment and will be seated in designated U.S. fan sections. U.S. Soccer Supporters Club members must have been registered before Aug. 26.

In early September, these supporters will receive information directly from U.S. Soccer via email about the ticket purchasing process. The exact details and timing of the process will be communicated directly at that time. Supporters will be able to purchase up to six tickets per household on a first-come, first-served basis while the supply of allocated tickets lasts.

All-Important October Matches Loom Large for MNT and U-23s

At the start of the year, the clearest goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team was to lock up a spot at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The road to Russia now has one final hurdle, and it’s a mouth-watering matchup with its biggest rival.

On Oct. 10, the United States and Mexico will meet in a do-or-die, one-match playoff at the legendary Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, with the winner taking CONCACAF’s spot at the World Cup warm-up competition.

While the U.S. has largely been successful against Mexico on home soil in the last 20 years, the task of facing a charged Mexican side at a giant venue like The Rose Bowl will serve up a new challenge. Four of the six largest crowds ever to watch the MNT play have watched a USA-Mexico match in southern California, and often with a heavy pro-Mexico tilt. That tide has turned in other venues – most notably Columbus Crew Stadium – and now the opportunity exists to make the Rose Bowl another example of the growing legion of U.S. supporters. After experiencing strong fan turnout during domestic matches throughout 2015, U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann stressed the importance of making sure American fans turn up for the team at the imperative playoff match.

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