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Defending Champion U.S. MNT Placed Atop Group A for 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

CHICAGO (Dec. 16, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team has been placed atop Group A for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup as it seeks to defend its Gold Cup title and qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. 

The U.S. will play the tournament’s opening match on July 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, followed by a July 10 game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Three days later, the USA will complete the group phase at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Complete groups and schedule, including selection of dates and assignment of matches for the knockout round and the awarding of the final, will be announced in early 2015. Fans interested in learning about a special, holiday season gift package and exclusive presale ticket offer can find more information at www.concacaf.com

CONCACAF's top-ranked teams – the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico – will headline the 12-nation tournament from July 7-26, along with Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Canada, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Haiti and Cuba. Honduras and French Guiana will meet in March with the playoff winner securing the final berth in the 2015 Gold Cup. 

A total of 13 North American cities will host matches throughout the event – Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Toronto. 

As defending champion from the 2013 competition, a Gold Cup championship this summer would guarantee the United States as the CONCACAF representative in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. If the USA is unable to defend its title, it would then face the 2015 champion in a playoff. 

The team’s opening match will be the USA’s first Gold Cup match in Frisco. Overall, the U.S. has a 1-0-1 record at the home of FC Dallas, last appearing in the venue in 2007. 

Foxborough has a storied history hosting the USA in the confederation championship, with the United States boasting an unbeaten 6-0-2 record dating back to 2003. Ten different U.S. goal scorers are on the books in games from Gillette Stadium, which has welcomed the MNT for five group games and three quarterfinal matchups. 

The MNT holds a perfect 3-0-0 record at Sporting Park, with all three matches coming in official competition against CONCACAF opponents. The U.S. made its debut appearance there in 2011 with a Jozy Altidore goal securing a 1-0 win against Guadeloupe and a first-place finish in Group C of the 2011 Gold Cup.

Four-Time FIFA World Cup Defender DaMarcus Beasley Retires from International Soccer

CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2014) – U.S. Men’s National Team defender DaMarcus Beasley has announced his retirement from international soccer. Beasley caps off a stellar career that spanned 14 years and included 121 appearances.

This past summer, Beasley became the first U.S. player to make an appearance in four FIFA World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). He joined Kasey Keller (1990, 1998, 2002, 2006) and Claudio Reyna (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) as the only USA players to be a part of four World Cup teams.

Beasley’s 11 caps in the World Cup tie for second-most in U.S. MNT history, and his 121 appearances rank fifth on the all-time list since debuting in 2001.

In 2014, Beasley started in six of seven games while logging 530 minutes. He was one of seven MNT players to start in all four games during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and Beasley was one of only four players to play in every minute during the tournament.

Beasley tallied 17 international goals, which ties for ninth on the all-time list with Earnie Stewart. Beasley’s 13-career assists tie for eighth on the all-time list with Clint Dempsey.

During his tenure, Beasley won four CONCACAF Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005, 2007 and 2013), the latter serving as the team captain. His 2013 campaign included a career-high 17 appearances and 1,469 minutes.

Beasley first made his name known among the U.S. Under-17 and U-20 Men’s National Teams, playing in FIFA World Cups at both age levels. He won the Silver Ball at the 1999 FIFA U-17 Youth World Championship as the tournament’s second-best player as the USA advanced to the semifinal stage of that event. Beasley also played in every minute of the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He was named the U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year in 2001.

Professionally, Beasley became the first American to score in the Champions League for two teams – Rangers and PSV Eindhoven – and holds the MNT record with 22 Champions League appearances overall. Beasley won two Dutch league championships with PSV and two Scottish titles with Rangers.

Beasley has had two stints in Major League Soccer, first with the Chicago Fire and then most recently with the Houston Dynamo. Beasley won the 2000 and 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with the Fire.

DaMarcus Beasley's U.S. Men's National Team Moments

ussoccer.com remembers some of former Men's National Team player DaMarcus Beasley's best moments with the USA!

Sneak a Peek Inside Tim Howard's New Book "The Keeper"

I will never forget our bus ride to the Loftus Versfeld, the Pretoria stadium where we’d play our win-or-go-home match against Algeria. All along the route, American fans stood on the road, waving and cheering. By the time Loftus came into view, the bus had to roll to a stop. A sea of supporters stretched out in all directions. Some wrapped themselves in American flags, others had painted stars and stripes on their faces, and everyone rocked the national colors—red, white, and blue. They held up scarves like one might see at a Premier League match except these said LAND OF THE FREE. They held up signs proclaiming ONE NATION. ONE TEAM, and DIVERSE. HUNGRY. UNITED. AMERICA. Fans were rapping on the windows screaming “USA!” They also held up our bus—not that anyone minded. We were so far from home, and yet all these fans made us feel like were home. “Holy crap,” said Carlos. “This is awesome.” 

The game was scoreless for 90 minutes. A draw wouldn’t be good enough for us; to advance we had to win. At a certain point, tactics went out the window. Defensive principles? Gone. The notion that a soccer game might be a chess match? Forget about it. With the clock ticking down and the prospect of our World Cup ending, there was no time for rhyme or reason. If we had a strategy, it was this: throw everything we have at them and hope they break. 

We attacked with three strikers and a midfield that marauded forward with only one thing on its mind: putting the ball in the back of their net. Algeria massed as many as nine players in front of their goal. Still we had chance after chance. We hit the post. We had a goal called back for offsides. We did everything but score. I watched on full alert, thinking, All we need is one play, one moment of inspiration where we catch them on their heels. And then, a minute into stoppage time, it arrived.

Algeria’s Rafik Saïfi had a clear header at goal but it was weak and straight at me. The ball bounced and I caught it. I had to move fast. There was no time to survey the field and pick out a safe outlet. There wasn’t time to even look up. I had to operate on instinct. My instincts were formed on the fields of New Jersey with my goalkeeping coach Tim “Mulch” Mulqueen hammering certain lessons into my brain. When the ball comes in from the left, look to the right. A split second after catching that ball, I knew—I just knew—that Landon would be tearing down the right flank. And because the game had been stretched wide open in those final frantic minutes, all those players abandoning their positions in their desperation to score, I also knew there’d be acres of green grass in front of him. So I hurled that ball as far as I could to where Landon would be by the time it landed. It came to rest at his feet, like Mulch always insisted it would.

Landon set off toward the Algeria goal, 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards, chewing up the space as he searched for an open teammate. He pushed the ball ahead to Jozy, who picked out Clint across the box. I thought Clint would finish it but at the exact moment that he reached Jozy’s pass, the Algerian goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi threw himself bravely at Dempsey’s feet. The ball ricocheted off their keeper and away from goal. For a moment, it looked to most of the world like we were going home.

But my eyes were on Landon. He was still running, accelerating as he moved closer to the ball. I’m not even sure the Algerian defenders knew he was there. That’s the thing about Landon. He doesn’t broadcast his presence like some of the flashier players. He glides in, cool-as-you-like, and no matter how high the stakes, no matter how pressurized the situation is, he does what Landon always does—executes the finish with flawless precision.

There were 92 minutes on the clock. The ball had traveled from goal line to goal line in a few historic seconds before Landon buried it in the back of their net.

Landon raced toward the corner flag. He stretched out his arms and dove, bodysurfing along the grass. Benny Feilhaber slid behind him. Then everyone got in on it. All the guys on the field. All the guys on the bench. The coaches. The staff. Everyone. They ran toward Landon and threw themselves on top of him, one after another. Jozy flew onto the pileup like he was Superman. Jay DeMerit finished it off with a rolling somersault over the whole delirious gang. I watched the jubilation from the far end of the field. I kneeled down and touched the grass, five precise touches. I stood. I kissed my goalkeeper’s gloves, and raised my arms toward the sky.

“Thank you,” I said, looking up. “Thank you.”

U.S. Soccer Announces Ambitious Schedule for MNT in First Half of 2015

CHICAGO (Dec. 9, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will embark on arguably its most challenging schedule of friendly matches in team history with seven top quality friendlies in the first half of 2015, highlighted by a string of three matches against regional rival Mexico, 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany and fifth-ranked Netherlands. 

The United States will face five teams ranked in the top 20 in the world and compete on three continents in advance of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup that will take place from July 7-26 in the United States. Additional friendlies will be announced in the near future. 

The U.S. will open at Chile on Jan. 28 before facing Panama in its first home match a little more than a week later on Feb. 8 at StubHub Center in Carson, California (TICKETS). After two away matches during the international window in March against Denmark and Switzerland, the concentration will turn to one of the biggest rivalries in international soccer when the U.S. faces Mexico, Presented by AT&T, on April 15 at a location still to be announced. 

In final preparations for the Gold Cup, the U.S. will face two of the top three finishers of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On June 5, the U.S. will travel to face third-place finisher Netherlands before heading to Cologne, Germany, to face the world champion at Rhein Energie Stadion. 

U.S. Soccer’s new partnership agreements with ESPN, FOX and Univision begin in 2015, providing unprecedented coverage of the National Teams. Every match will be broadcast by either ESPN or FOX Sports, as well as simulcast on UniMas and Univision Deportes Network. 

“We want to consistently benchmark ourselves against the top teams in the world, and to give new and different challenges to our players. Competition gives your team an opportunity to grow, and this schedule allows us to do that,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “At the same time, our most important goal for the senior National Team in 2015 is to win the Gold Cup and qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017, and these games will be excellent preparation.” 

Date

Opponent

Venue

Television

Jan. 28

Chile

Away (TBD)

FOX Sports 2, UniMas, UDN

Feb. 8

Panama

StubHub Center; Carson, California

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

March 25

Denmark

Away (TBD)

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

March 31

Switzerland

Stadion Letzigrund; Zurich, Switzerland

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

April 15

Mexico

Home (TBD)

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

June 5

Netherlands

Away (TBD)

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

June 10

Germany

Rhein Energie Stadion; Cologne, Germany

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

Tickets for USA-Panama on Feb. 8 go on sale to the general public Monday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. PT through ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12-6 p.m.).

Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.

As a sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Visa is pleased to offer all Visa cardholders access to an advance ticket sale for this match before the sale to the general public. This advance sale starts Friday, Dec. 12, and runs from 10 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. PT at ussoccer.com. Visa will be the only payment method accepted through the Visa presale and is the preferred card of U.S. Soccer. Terms and conditions apply. 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Netherlands earned a third-place finish in the 2014 FIFA World Cup after a comprehensive 3-0 shutout against Brazil.
  • Chile advanced out of one of the most difficult groups in Brazil, defeating Spain and Australia before losing to Brazil in penalties in the Round of 16. This will be the USA’s first friendly on South American soil since its last visit to Chile in 2000.
  • Switzerland was one of seven seeded teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup
  • The USA-Mexico match, presented by AT&T, comes off two historic results for the U.S. against El Tri during the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying in 2013, including earning its first road point from Mexico since 1997.
  • Denmark is currently in first place of Group I ahead of Portugal in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship.
  • Goals from Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson in second-half stoppage time snatched a spot in the World Cup away from Panama and gave the U.S. a first-place finish in CONCACAF qualifying for Brazil.

DeAndre Yedlin, Morgan Brian and Gavin Sibayan Earn 2014 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Honors

CHICAGO (Dec. 4, 2014) – DeAndre Yedlin has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year, Morgan Brian has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year and Gavin Sibayan has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Disabled Athlete of the Year.

U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard earned Male Athlete of the Year honors last month and awards season wraps up when FOX Sports 1 announces the Female Athlete of the Year live on Dec. 6 during its coverage of the FIFA Women's World Cup Draw from 12-1 p.m. ET. Post-draw coverage continues for an additional 30 minutes on FOX Sports 2, and viewers will have access to the full 90-minute Draw Show via the FOX Sports GO app.

Yedlin’s star has risen for the past two years, punctuated by a breakout performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he made three appearances that led to a transfer to English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. The 21-year-old was one of seven players to make at least 10 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team this year. A Seattle Sounders FC Academy product, Yedlin become a regular in MLS and helped the Sounders capture the league’s Supporters Shield as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.

“It’s an absolute honor to win this award,” said Yedlin. “I would like to thank my teammates, my family, and most of all the fans for the amazing support for our team. It was a tremendous year for a lot of young players, and we all share the dream of continuing to have the opportunity to represent our country.”

Brian has earned 13 caps so far in 2014 as the youngest member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, scoring two goals and helping the team qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She also led Virginia to the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup being played tomorrow and tied the NCAA Tournament single-game record with five assists in a first-round victory.

“The group of players who have won this award have gone on to do some great things and to be listed among them is a true honor and very humbling,” said Brian. “The last two years playing with the National Team have been amazing. I’ve been fortunate to have so many talented people around me and I’ve learned so much from all of my teammates and coaches.”

Sibayan, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant who served in Iraq, played in every game of the 2014 Americas Cup in Canada this past September to help the U.S. Paralympic National Team earn the bronze medal. The Colorado Springs native also helped the U.S. PNT claim second at the 9th International Trophy of 7-a-Side Football in Barcelona, Spain, with an unbeaten run – the first time the team went unbeaten at an international tournament for 10 years.

“I’m honored,” said Sibayan. “I have a lot of pride for the U.S. and it’s a big honor to just play on the team. The group we have assembled is a great bunch of guys. We’re getting better and making some great progress on our team right now.”

The U.S. Soccer Young Male and Young Female Athlete of the Year honors have been awarded since 1998, when forwards Josh Wolf and Cindy Parlow won the respective awards, while the Disabled Athlete of the Year honor was first awarded to Felicia Schroeder in 2012.

JK Q&A: Klinsmann Closes the Book on 2014 and Previews 2015

After finishing off the 2014 slate with a pair of friendlies against Colombia and Ireland in the United Kingdom, U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss the state of the team as it sets sail on the new 2018 World Cup cycle.

ussoccer.com: Having thoroughly reviewed both games, what are the key points you take away? To what extent are the results important? 

Jurgen Klinsmann: “Results are always important because results over time bring you confidence and give you more respect towards opponents and other countries watching you. But, on the other hand, playing these games in another environment, especially far away from the United States is always a learning curve. It's an experiment where you can bring in players who never really experienced this type of atmosphere or circumstances. Therefore it was two very important games where I hope the players took a lot with them at the end of the day.” 

“Obviously for us coaches we saw a lot of things we want to see and also a lot of things we don’t want to see, especially in the 4-1 loss to Ireland. There were too many individual mistakes, especially on the second and third goal, that you can’t afford on the international level.”

“I still think it was definitely worth it. We were excited about a couple of players coming in being fresh. Bill Hamid made his start there against Ireland and experienced really the international level. Jordan Morris played his first cap, Rubio Rubin came in and we see some talent coming through. Will it take time for them? Absolutely, but you got to start that process and it’s better earlier than too late. So we start the process already and we're excited for them.”

ussoccer.com: One of the key goals of this last camp was establish a mentoring environment between the veterans and the youngsters. Were you pleased with how that went, and what are the next steps there?

JK: “It was the overall theme that we wanted to use the last couple of games: to build relationships between the older players and some of the younger players to be their mentors, to be their guides in a certain way, to help from their experience. We wanted guys like Brad Guzan, Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones and others to make the younger players understand what it takes to drive towards hopefully one day a World Cup because they already have a couple World Cups under their belts. This mentorship that we've started now will continue in the future because we want the younger players to grow and we want them to very fast understand that it takes a lot of inner drive and self-motivation and professionalism to get to that level where the established older guys have played already. So this theme will go with us into the future and it will be interesting to see how it develops.”

ussoccer.com: You said the goalkeeper position is an open competition. You've had a variety of them in camp and were able to spread around minutes. How would you assess that situation?

JK: “I think the goalkeeper situation is going well. Obviously Tim Howard is taking a year off, so Brad Guzan jumps in as the natural fit right away. He proves that he is ready to be the No. 1. Nick Rimando is knocking at the door and he would like to have that spot too. For us it's also important that we bring along Billy Hamid and Sean Johnson who were our Olympic team goalkeepers of the last cycle. So we have to bring them into those environments, train them on the highest level, but also here and there give them a game. That's why Bill Hamid started that game against Ireland and did well; I had no issues at all [with his performance]. Right now, it's not about defining No. 1, 2, and 3 and setting it in stone because we're in a transition year going into next summer's Gold Cup. Prior to the Gold Cup we will make it clear, so this year gives us the opportunity to have a closer look at all of them.”

ussoccer.com: Part of the goal of these friendlies is to get players experience. In what ways does making extensive substitutions impact a match?

JK: “Playing friendly games and having the substitution rule where you can bring in six players obviously changes the dynamic of games, especially towards the end of games. When you bring in subs in order to give them a chance, in order to give them experience, you sort of risk the result. Either way - it could go the good way or it could go the bad way. When you come in as a sub and you're down a goal, it's far more difficult to give an impact than if you're up a goal when everything is positive and you might hit another goal from your end. So it's not always easy for the subs to make an impression, but if we don't do it, we miss out on too big an opportunity for these players to gain experience. So, we compromised the substitutions in a friendly game for some results. Do we want the results at the same time? Absolutely, but here and there you’ve got do it for the big picture.”

ussoccer.com: Two of the surprise call-ups during the post-World Cup friendlies were Miguel Ibarra and Jordan Morris. How did they fare, and are you open to bringing in other players in similar circumstances as them?

JK:We believe Miguel Ibarra coming from the NASL and Jordan Morris coming from college that there are players in those areas that have tremendous talent. So we are looking at their talent and where it could be in two to four years from now if you give them time to grow and nurture them. Basically it's gone extremely well so far, so we are looking for players all over the place - if they come through the European channels, maybe through the youth system there, through Mexico or the NASL or the college route or the MLS ranks.

“The players themselves need to prove that they have this inner drive and they have an understanding of what it takes to grow into an established player on the international level. Our job is to identify their talent and then build it. Hopefully they make the right choices then down the road in terms of their own career and their own club environment, but it’s encouraging to see these two young players leading the way for hopefully many other players in the future to break through.”

ussoccer.com: Morris made his debut when he came on against Ireland. How did you rate his performance?

JK: “For us coaches it’s really important for us to see the talent growing one step at a time. With Jordan Morris you have a player that comes from the college system; he comes from Stanford. He has a specific rhythm there in the college environment, so we kind of had a closer look at him with the Olympic team first, then I brought him to the Czech Republic. We saw him grow now over the last half year to a year and he did better and better because he gets more and more confident and believes in himself. So when the moment came actually to add him in to the Ireland game, it was a tricky moment because we were down. But he settled in and he had good moments. He was good in one-on-one situations. If he's a bit lucky he gives an assist to Greg Garza to score a goal. So we were very happy and we continue to build him and bring him in like with the other younger players.”

ussoccer.com: How would you assess the Jermaine Jones transition to centerback? Is something you plan on continuing?

JK: “Jermaine Jones growing into this role as a right center back is encouraging for us to see that we have another option, another card if we need him to play. Is he more of a midfielder? Yes, that's where he played his whole life. Does he see himself as a midfielder? Probably, but we see that at his age he has tremendous experience and leadership to guide a back line, especially with young players coming through like John Anthony Brooks. They are the ones who need that leadership from him on the back line. It's good to have this drive from Jermaine. Going forward this will be important for us. It could be that he has to settle with this role; we'll see. We'll see with the development of all the other players in that role as well, but we're looking good in terms of center backs.”

ussoccer.com: Tim Howard was voted the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. What can you say about his performance in 2014?

JK:When you talk about Timmy, you talk about the Belgium game where I don’t know how many shots he saved, but he really was our backbone to stay in the game and to go all the way into extra time and almost actually beat Belgium. That was a remarkable performance from him that I think everybody would talk about right away. He's a tremendous personality, a very calm, quiet leader. Obviously he has all the experience that you need in his position but also in his career. He's played pretty much his entire career in Europe on a very high level, so he's a role model for many, many young players coming through the ranks and not only goal keepers, also field players. It's just great to have him.” 

ussoccer.com: You will be attending the Nike Friendlies and the Development Academy Showcase at the end of the month. What is on the agenda there? 

JK: “For us coaches it's important to see what the talent is doing on a younger level so going to the Nike Friendlies, seeing our U-17s competing with teams like Brazil, Australia and England is quite exciting. I was there last year and it was neat to see. It's also important for us to connect with the Academy program, with the coaches from the Academy clubs, with a lot of people who are down there and seeing things first hand. That's why I called in my coaching staff, assistant coaches and other people to have a closer look at the young players. It's important to always be up to speed with the development on the youth side.”

ussoccer.com: Many of the players are now heading into their offseason. What will your message be to them on how to bridge the gap between now and the start of their next season? 

JK: “For us it's a tricky situation. MLS players are pretty much done, NASL players are done, the college season gets to an end, Mexico plays its own agenda and the Europeans now are going full steam basically until the end of May. We're monitoring all of them, their club teams, we're keeping in touch with their coaches and with themselves as well. It's a lot of scouting. It's a lot of communication, a lot of tracking down the right people to get the right information. What we hope from them is absolutely to establish their starter position stronger and stronger. This is the biggest challenge for them. This is what quite a lot of them lost after the World Cup. For us this is a bad situation to develop a National Team program with players not starting in their club situations. Hopefully they get that done over the next couple weeks and we can look at it a little bit calmer.”  

ussoccer.com: You have considered different approaches to the January camp, including not having one at all. Why is this camp important and what will be the focus in terms of roster and schedule? 

JK: “With the tricky situation that we have in the United States that now we have the season for the MLS players going towards the end and a lot of them having a break of almost two or three months, we are forced to hold a January camp to try and get the players in early in order to build their foundation for the season. It probably will go with the theme we had the last couple of months, bringing experienced players, bringing a lot of younger players in and kind of meld them together and have that mentorship for the developmental aspect of it.

“We want to explain a lot more what it takes to get to the international level - that you have to be on top of your game on the field, but you also have to be on top of your life off the field. With that schedule that we carry in the United States that we only get a nine, nine-and-a-half month season, we can't compete with the nations that go 11 months through. We're missing two months basically, so we try to bridge that with camps. We keep working, we keep explaining, we keep educating, which is very important on the field and off the field. It's going to be an exciting January camp like all the other ones in the past.” 

ussoccer.com: Next year has been described as one of the most challenging schedules the National Team has ever put together in terms of the opponents as well as the competitions which would suggest a significant growth opportunity. How important is it to have the full team available?

JK: “Looking forward to 2015, obviously there's an exciting Gold Cup on the agenda in July, which we want to badly win because it takes us to the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia. Certainly there are challenges with the FIFA fixture dates. The calendar is not in sync with MLS, so hopefully we're getting closer with MLS to solve that situation so that we can always call the strongest team possible for senior National Team games, which is very important to us because we want to do well and we want to get the results. We can't always compromise our players on this side or the other side, so having that calendar together would help us tremendously.

“2015 will be a year of developing talent on and off the field. The theme will be education. Education wherever we can. We want to educate more on the coaching side, we want to educate on the players side, we want to educate on the parents side about what it really takes to become a professional. What's exciting for us is we're building our own counseling office with Nelson Rodriguez leading it. This is a huge step. It's something we copied a bit from the universities where we try to establish contact with the players and their parents early in order to help them understand what you need to know to become a pro. So there will be a lot of educational topics out there. We want to improve coaching education wherever we can because it's crucial, and we want to challenge our players and not let them settle, not even for a second, for whatever they have achieved up to that point. We want to grow our program and one day compete with the best in the world, so it means a lot of hard work in 2015.”

Tim Howard Voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

CHICAGO (Nov. 20, 2014) – Goalkeeper Tim Howard has been voted the 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, with the announcement taking place earlier today live on ESPN’s SportsCenter. This is Howard’s second time winning AOTY, previously earning the honor in 2008.

The three-time FIFA World Cup veteran becomes the fifth player to win Male Athlete of the Year on multiple occasions, joining defender Marcelo Balboa (1992, 1994), goalkeeper Kasey Keller (1997, 1999 and 2005), forward Landon Donovan (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010) and forward Clint Dempsey (2007, 2011 and 2012).

“It’s an honor. I know the winners on the list who have come before me, so it’s special to have my name up there,” Howard said on SportsCenter. “The whole ride with the team for about a month and a half, when we got together for training camp and we flew down to Brazil, we had a really good time and that made 2014 so special to me.”

A new voting process took place this year, with votes collected from Men’s National Team players earned a cap in 2014, Men’s National Team and Youth Men’s National Team coaches, Major League Soccer and North American Soccer League head coaches and select former players, administrators and media members.

Howard received 64 percent of the tabulated votes, followed by Jermaine Jones (19 percent) and Kyle Beckerman (11 percent).

This year, Howard became the USA’s all-time leader in career wins with 55 (breaking Keller’s record of 53) and goalkeeper appearances with 104 (breaking Keller’s record of 102). Howard also had a memorable 2014 FIFA World Cup that included a tournament-record 15 saves during the USA’s 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium in the first knockout round on July 1.

The U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year has been awarded since 1984, when midfielder Rick Davis earned the first Athlete of the Year honor.

Also on Thursday, U.S. Soccer unveiled its nominees for 2014 Young Male Athlete of the Year, Young Female Athlete of the Year and Disabled Athlete of the Year. The nominees in each category are:

  • Young Male Athlete of the Year Nominees: Mukwelle Akale, midfielder; Emerson Hyndman, midfielder; Christian Pulisic, midfielder; Haji Wright, forward; DeAndre Yedlin, defender (A Look at the Nominees)
  • Young Female Athlete of the Year Nominees: Morgan Brian, midfielder; Rose Lavelle, midfielder; Samantha Mewis, midfielder; Mallory Pugh, midfielder; Katelyn Rowland, goalkeeper (A Look at the Nominees)
  • Disabled Athlete of the Year Nominees: Meghan Maiwald, Deaf Soccer; Natalie Russo, Power Soccer; Gavin Sibayan, Paralympic Soccer (A Look at the Nominees)

The nominees for U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year will be unveiled in the coming days.

Photo Gallery: Tim Howard - U.S. Soccer 2014 Male Athlete of the Year

Photos from Tim Howard's 2014 season with the U.S. Men's National Team. Howard was voted U.S. Soccer's 2014 Male Athlete of the Year, the second time he has earned U.S. Soccer's most prestigious player award in his international career; he also earned the honor in 2008. 

Academy Product Morris Makes National Team Leap

The U.S. Men’s National Team dropped its final game of the year against the Republic of Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Yet, with every negative comes a positive, and in the case of Development Academy alum and current Stanford University striker Jordan Morris, the game versus Ireland represented a truly special night.

Morris came in the game during the second-half as a substitution in the 76th minute. The moment marked his debut with the MNT.

“Obviously it wasn't the result we wanted,” Morris said of the game. “But it's something I've been dreaming of since I was a little kid, so it was an unbelievable honor and a great experience.”

Morris, who scored a game-winner for the U.S. U-23 MNT against the Bahamas in August, was named the 2012-13 Development Academy Player of the Year for the U-18 age group while playing for the Seattle Sounders FC Academy. He is the first active college player to be included on a roster under Klinsmann.

“I was super excited,” Morris said of being called into the MNT roster. “Talking to Jurgen, he stresses patience, and I think that that's a thing you've got to learn, especially moving up in the ranks, that there are such good players all over the place, so it's going to be tough to get on the field. I was definitely itching to get on and was going to make the most of it when I did get on. I'm happy it happened. It was really exciting.”

Morris’ Academy ties and his incredible success at Stanford, the 2014 Pac-12 Champions, have allowed him to become one of the new youngsters that Klinsmann is excited to keep challenging on the path toward the next World Cup.  

“We’re happy for some that made kind of their starts today,” said Klinsmann of the fresh faces that played against Ireland. “Whether it’s Jordan Morris or Bill Hamid from the start in goal, those are the experiences they need, the younger ones, so we’ll take it.”

Also excited to see new faces get their first taste of what it means to play in the National Team is veteran forward Jozy Altidore, who despite only being 25 years old, is one of the players Klinsmann hopes can share some advice and help this new group be successful.

”I remember my first cap and how special it was for me, what I took with it, along in my career. I'm honored that I get to see now a lot of these guys come through and have that same experience.”

Sneak a Peek Inside Tim Howard's New Book "The Keeper"

I will never forget our bus ride to the Loftus Versfeld, the Pretoria stadium where we’d play our win-or-go-home match against Algeria. All along the route, American fans stood on the road, waving and cheering. By the time Loftus came into view, the bus had to roll to a stop. A sea of supporters stretched out in all directions. Some wrapped themselves in American flags, others had painted stars and stripes on their faces, and everyone rocked the national colors—red, white, and blue. They held up scarves like one might see at a Premier League match except these said LAND OF THE FREE. They held up signs proclaiming ONE NATION. ONE TEAM, and DIVERSE. HUNGRY. UNITED. AMERICA. Fans were rapping on the windows screaming “USA!” They also held up our bus—not that anyone minded. We were so far from home, and yet all these fans made us feel like were home. “Holy crap,” said Carlos. “This is awesome.” 

The game was scoreless for 90 minutes. A draw wouldn’t be good enough for us; to advance we had to win. At a certain point, tactics went out the window. Defensive principles? Gone. The notion that a soccer game might be a chess match? Forget about it. With the clock ticking down and the prospect of our World Cup ending, there was no time for rhyme or reason. If we had a strategy, it was this: throw everything we have at them and hope they break. 

We attacked with three strikers and a midfield that marauded forward with only one thing on its mind: putting the ball in the back of their net. Algeria massed as many as nine players in front of their goal. Still we had chance after chance. We hit the post. We had a goal called back for offsides. We did everything but score. I watched on full alert, thinking, All we need is one play, one moment of inspiration where we catch them on their heels. And then, a minute into stoppage time, it arrived.

Algeria’s Rafik Saïfi had a clear header at goal but it was weak and straight at me. The ball bounced and I caught it. I had to move fast. There was no time to survey the field and pick out a safe outlet. There wasn’t time to even look up. I had to operate on instinct. My instincts were formed on the fields of New Jersey with my goalkeeping coach Tim “Mulch” Mulqueen hammering certain lessons into my brain. When the ball comes in from the left, look to the right. A split second after catching that ball, I knew—I just knew—that Landon would be tearing down the right flank. And because the game had been stretched wide open in those final frantic minutes, all those players abandoning their positions in their desperation to score, I also knew there’d be acres of green grass in front of him. So I hurled that ball as far as I could to where Landon would be by the time it landed. It came to rest at his feet, like Mulch always insisted it would.

Landon set off toward the Algeria goal, 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards, chewing up the space as he searched for an open teammate. He pushed the ball ahead to Jozy, who picked out Clint across the box. I thought Clint would finish it but at the exact moment that he reached Jozy’s pass, the Algerian goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi threw himself bravely at Dempsey’s feet. The ball ricocheted off their keeper and away from goal. For a moment, it looked to most of the world like we were going home.

But my eyes were on Landon. He was still running, accelerating as he moved closer to the ball. I’m not even sure the Algerian defenders knew he was there. That’s the thing about Landon. He doesn’t broadcast his presence like some of the flashier players. He glides in, cool-as-you-like, and no matter how high the stakes, no matter how pressurized the situation is, he does what Landon always does—executes the finish with flawless precision.

There were 92 minutes on the clock. The ball had traveled from goal line to goal line in a few historic seconds before Landon buried it in the back of their net.

Landon raced toward the corner flag. He stretched out his arms and dove, bodysurfing along the grass. Benny Feilhaber slid behind him. Then everyone got in on it. All the guys on the field. All the guys on the bench. The coaches. The staff. Everyone. They ran toward Landon and threw themselves on top of him, one after another. Jozy flew onto the pileup like he was Superman. Jay DeMerit finished it off with a rolling somersault over the whole delirious gang. I watched the jubilation from the far end of the field. I kneeled down and touched the grass, five precise touches. I stood. I kissed my goalkeeper’s gloves, and raised my arms toward the sky.

“Thank you,” I said, looking up. “Thank you.”

JK Q&A: Klinsmann Closes the Book on 2014 and Previews 2015

After finishing off the 2014 slate with a pair of friendlies against Colombia and Ireland in the United Kingdom, U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss the state of the team as it sets sail on the new 2018 World Cup cycle.

ussoccer.com: Having thoroughly reviewed both games, what are the key points you take away? To what extent are the results important? 

Jurgen Klinsmann: “Results are always important because results over time bring you confidence and give you more respect towards opponents and other countries watching you. But, on the other hand, playing these games in another environment, especially far away from the United States is always a learning curve. It's an experiment where you can bring in players who never really experienced this type of atmosphere or circumstances. Therefore it was two very important games where I hope the players took a lot with them at the end of the day.” 

“Obviously for us coaches we saw a lot of things we want to see and also a lot of things we don’t want to see, especially in the 4-1 loss to Ireland. There were too many individual mistakes, especially on the second and third goal, that you can’t afford on the international level.”

“I still think it was definitely worth it. We were excited about a couple of players coming in being fresh. Bill Hamid made his start there against Ireland and experienced really the international level. Jordan Morris played his first cap, Rubio Rubin came in and we see some talent coming through. Will it take time for them? Absolutely, but you got to start that process and it’s better earlier than too late. So we start the process already and we're excited for them.”

ussoccer.com: One of the key goals of this last camp was establish a mentoring environment between the veterans and the youngsters. Were you pleased with how that went, and what are the next steps there?

JK: “It was the overall theme that we wanted to use the last couple of games: to build relationships between the older players and some of the younger players to be their mentors, to be their guides in a certain way, to help from their experience. We wanted guys like Brad Guzan, Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones and others to make the younger players understand what it takes to drive towards hopefully one day a World Cup because they already have a couple World Cups under their belts. This mentorship that we've started now will continue in the future because we want the younger players to grow and we want them to very fast understand that it takes a lot of inner drive and self-motivation and professionalism to get to that level where the established older guys have played already. So this theme will go with us into the future and it will be interesting to see how it develops.”

ussoccer.com: You said the goalkeeper position is an open competition. You've had a variety of them in camp and were able to spread around minutes. How would you assess that situation?

JK: “I think the goalkeeper situation is going well. Obviously Tim Howard is taking a year off, so Brad Guzan jumps in as the natural fit right away. He proves that he is ready to be the No. 1. Nick Rimando is knocking at the door and he would like to have that spot too. For us it's also important that we bring along Billy Hamid and Sean Johnson who were our Olympic team goalkeepers of the last cycle. So we have to bring them into those environments, train them on the highest level, but also here and there give them a game. That's why Bill Hamid started that game against Ireland and did well; I had no issues at all [with his performance]. Right now, it's not about defining No. 1, 2, and 3 and setting it in stone because we're in a transition year going into next summer's Gold Cup. Prior to the Gold Cup we will make it clear, so this year gives us the opportunity to have a closer look at all of them.”

ussoccer.com: Part of the goal of these friendlies is to get players experience. In what ways does making extensive substitutions impact a match?

JK: “Playing friendly games and having the substitution rule where you can bring in six players obviously changes the dynamic of games, especially towards the end of games. When you bring in subs in order to give them a chance, in order to give them experience, you sort of risk the result. Either way - it could go the good way or it could go the bad way. When you come in as a sub and you're down a goal, it's far more difficult to give an impact than if you're up a goal when everything is positive and you might hit another goal from your end. So it's not always easy for the subs to make an impression, but if we don't do it, we miss out on too big an opportunity for these players to gain experience. So, we compromised the substitutions in a friendly game for some results. Do we want the results at the same time? Absolutely, but here and there you’ve got do it for the big picture.”

ussoccer.com: Two of the surprise call-ups during the post-World Cup friendlies were Miguel Ibarra and Jordan Morris. How did they fare, and are you open to bringing in other players in similar circumstances as them?

JK:We believe Miguel Ibarra coming from the NASL and Jordan Morris coming from college that there are players in those areas that have tremendous talent. So we are looking at their talent and where it could be in two to four years from now if you give them time to grow and nurture them. Basically it's gone extremely well so far, so we are looking for players all over the place - if they come through the European channels, maybe through the youth system there, through Mexico or the NASL or the college route or the MLS ranks.

“The players themselves need to prove that they have this inner drive and they have an understanding of what it takes to grow into an established player on the international level. Our job is to identify their talent and then build it. Hopefully they make the right choices then down the road in terms of their own career and their own club environment, but it’s encouraging to see these two young players leading the way for hopefully many other players in the future to break through.”

ussoccer.com: Morris made his debut when he came on against Ireland. How did you rate his performance?

JK: “For us coaches it’s really important for us to see the talent growing one step at a time. With Jordan Morris you have a player that comes from the college system; he comes from Stanford. He has a specific rhythm there in the college environment, so we kind of had a closer look at him with the Olympic team first, then I brought him to the Czech Republic. We saw him grow now over the last half year to a year and he did better and better because he gets more and more confident and believes in himself. So when the moment came actually to add him in to the Ireland game, it was a tricky moment because we were down. But he settled in and he had good moments. He was good in one-on-one situations. If he's a bit lucky he gives an assist to Greg Garza to score a goal. So we were very happy and we continue to build him and bring him in like with the other younger players.”

ussoccer.com: How would you assess the Jermaine Jones transition to centerback? Is something you plan on continuing?

JK: “Jermaine Jones growing into this role as a right center back is encouraging for us to see that we have another option, another card if we need him to play. Is he more of a midfielder? Yes, that's where he played his whole life. Does he see himself as a midfielder? Probably, but we see that at his age he has tremendous experience and leadership to guide a back line, especially with young players coming through like John Anthony Brooks. They are the ones who need that leadership from him on the back line. It's good to have this drive from Jermaine. Going forward this will be important for us. It could be that he has to settle with this role; we'll see. We'll see with the development of all the other players in that role as well, but we're looking good in terms of center backs.”

ussoccer.com: Tim Howard was voted the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. What can you say about his performance in 2014?

JK:When you talk about Timmy, you talk about the Belgium game where I don’t know how many shots he saved, but he really was our backbone to stay in the game and to go all the way into extra time and almost actually beat Belgium. That was a remarkable performance from him that I think everybody would talk about right away. He's a tremendous personality, a very calm, quiet leader. Obviously he has all the experience that you need in his position but also in his career. He's played pretty much his entire career in Europe on a very high level, so he's a role model for many, many young players coming through the ranks and not only goal keepers, also field players. It's just great to have him.” 

ussoccer.com: You will be attending the Nike Friendlies and the Development Academy Showcase at the end of the month. What is on the agenda there? 

JK: “For us coaches it's important to see what the talent is doing on a younger level so going to the Nike Friendlies, seeing our U-17s competing with teams like Brazil, Australia and England is quite exciting. I was there last year and it was neat to see. It's also important for us to connect with the Academy program, with the coaches from the Academy clubs, with a lot of people who are down there and seeing things first hand. That's why I called in my coaching staff, assistant coaches and other people to have a closer look at the young players. It's important to always be up to speed with the development on the youth side.”

ussoccer.com: Many of the players are now heading into their offseason. What will your message be to them on how to bridge the gap between now and the start of their next season? 

JK: “For us it's a tricky situation. MLS players are pretty much done, NASL players are done, the college season gets to an end, Mexico plays its own agenda and the Europeans now are going full steam basically until the end of May. We're monitoring all of them, their club teams, we're keeping in touch with their coaches and with themselves as well. It's a lot of scouting. It's a lot of communication, a lot of tracking down the right people to get the right information. What we hope from them is absolutely to establish their starter position stronger and stronger. This is the biggest challenge for them. This is what quite a lot of them lost after the World Cup. For us this is a bad situation to develop a National Team program with players not starting in their club situations. Hopefully they get that done over the next couple weeks and we can look at it a little bit calmer.”  

ussoccer.com: You have considered different approaches to the January camp, including not having one at all. Why is this camp important and what will be the focus in terms of roster and schedule? 

JK: “With the tricky situation that we have in the United States that now we have the season for the MLS players going towards the end and a lot of them having a break of almost two or three months, we are forced to hold a January camp to try and get the players in early in order to build their foundation for the season. It probably will go with the theme we had the last couple of months, bringing experienced players, bringing a lot of younger players in and kind of meld them together and have that mentorship for the developmental aspect of it.

“We want to explain a lot more what it takes to get to the international level - that you have to be on top of your game on the field, but you also have to be on top of your life off the field. With that schedule that we carry in the United States that we only get a nine, nine-and-a-half month season, we can't compete with the nations that go 11 months through. We're missing two months basically, so we try to bridge that with camps. We keep working, we keep explaining, we keep educating, which is very important on the field and off the field. It's going to be an exciting January camp like all the other ones in the past.” 

ussoccer.com: Next year has been described as one of the most challenging schedules the National Team has ever put together in terms of the opponents as well as the competitions which would suggest a significant growth opportunity. How important is it to have the full team available?

JK: “Looking forward to 2015, obviously there's an exciting Gold Cup on the agenda in July, which we want to badly win because it takes us to the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia. Certainly there are challenges with the FIFA fixture dates. The calendar is not in sync with MLS, so hopefully we're getting closer with MLS to solve that situation so that we can always call the strongest team possible for senior National Team games, which is very important to us because we want to do well and we want to get the results. We can't always compromise our players on this side or the other side, so having that calendar together would help us tremendously.

“2015 will be a year of developing talent on and off the field. The theme will be education. Education wherever we can. We want to educate more on the coaching side, we want to educate on the players side, we want to educate on the parents side about what it really takes to become a professional. What's exciting for us is we're building our own counseling office with Nelson Rodriguez leading it. This is a huge step. It's something we copied a bit from the universities where we try to establish contact with the players and their parents early in order to help them understand what you need to know to become a pro. So there will be a lot of educational topics out there. We want to improve coaching education wherever we can because it's crucial, and we want to challenge our players and not let them settle, not even for a second, for whatever they have achieved up to that point. We want to grow our program and one day compete with the best in the world, so it means a lot of hard work in 2015.”

Photo Gallery: Tim Howard - U.S. Soccer 2014 Male Athlete of the Year

Photos from Tim Howard's 2014 season with the U.S. Men's National Team. Howard was voted U.S. Soccer's 2014 Male Athlete of the Year, the second time he has earned U.S. Soccer's most prestigious player award in his international career; he also earned the honor in 2008. 

Academy Product Morris Makes National Team Leap

The U.S. Men’s National Team dropped its final game of the year against the Republic of Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Yet, with every negative comes a positive, and in the case of Development Academy alum and current Stanford University striker Jordan Morris, the game versus Ireland represented a truly special night.

Morris came in the game during the second-half as a substitution in the 76th minute. The moment marked his debut with the MNT.

“Obviously it wasn't the result we wanted,” Morris said of the game. “But it's something I've been dreaming of since I was a little kid, so it was an unbelievable honor and a great experience.”

Morris, who scored a game-winner for the U.S. U-23 MNT against the Bahamas in August, was named the 2012-13 Development Academy Player of the Year for the U-18 age group while playing for the Seattle Sounders FC Academy. He is the first active college player to be included on a roster under Klinsmann.

“I was super excited,” Morris said of being called into the MNT roster. “Talking to Jurgen, he stresses patience, and I think that that's a thing you've got to learn, especially moving up in the ranks, that there are such good players all over the place, so it's going to be tough to get on the field. I was definitely itching to get on and was going to make the most of it when I did get on. I'm happy it happened. It was really exciting.”

Morris’ Academy ties and his incredible success at Stanford, the 2014 Pac-12 Champions, have allowed him to become one of the new youngsters that Klinsmann is excited to keep challenging on the path toward the next World Cup.  

“We’re happy for some that made kind of their starts today,” said Klinsmann of the fresh faces that played against Ireland. “Whether it’s Jordan Morris or Bill Hamid from the start in goal, those are the experiences they need, the younger ones, so we’ll take it.”

Also excited to see new faces get their first taste of what it means to play in the National Team is veteran forward Jozy Altidore, who despite only being 25 years old, is one of the players Klinsmann hopes can share some advice and help this new group be successful.

”I remember my first cap and how special it was for me, what I took with it, along in my career. I'm honored that I get to see now a lot of these guys come through and have that same experience.”

So That's What You've Been Doing: Former MNT Defender Paul Caligiuri

On November 19, 1989, Paul Caligiuri was keeping track of the time left in the game against Trinidad and Tobago after scoring in the 30th minute. Each time the clocked counted down one minute, the United States was one minute closer to attending the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, the first World Cup in 40 years for the American squad.

A different U.S. team than the one Caligiuri was on will be starting a similar countdown in that same city on Feb. 9, working their way towards a fifth consecutive World Cup.

Just over 15 years later, Coach Caligiuri, head of the men’s and women’s soccer programs at California Polytechnic University at Pomona, is keeping track of a lot more than game-time, although he certainly hasn’t been counting the years.

“When you asked me the question, I almost freaked,” said Caligiuri about the 15 years that have passed since ‘the goal heard around the world.’ “It’s been a long time but it seems like yesterday. I can literally still see the play and still feel the moment. I’m fortunate enough to still keep in touch with the guys on that team on a regular basis. It’s been a fun ride.”

These days, Caligiuri isn’t as focused on his own goals as much as those of the 53 men’s and women’s soccer players at Cal Poly Pomona, where he has coached both programs for three years. Since his now famous goal in 1989 led the U.S. into Italia ‘90, opening the floodgates for the development of the sport in the United States, Caligiuri’s role has changed from imposing defender to coach.

After his third season as coach of Division II school Cal Poly Pomona, Caligiuri has the chance to teach another generation of players. Players who may be too young to remember watching his famous goal, but who have certainly been influenced by it. He has also had a chance to learn from his job, everything from how to budget for two programs, schedule games and make travel arrangements, to how to control his emotions going from one practice or game with guys to another one with girls. He has also mastered the art of tracking players’ grades and make sure the team is bonding well and playing well.

“When you’re dealing with two programs, it’s really challenging,” Caligiuri said. “Time management has been the biggest area of challenge to maximize in providing the best quality to the student athletes.”

Time management during the season includes showing up to work at 9 a.m. after dropping his two daughters, Ashley and Kayley, off at school, preparing for the day’s practices and upcoming games, arranging travel, actually going to the two teams’ practices and then going home to his daughters. It also includes double headers at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on game days as well as time he sets aside to make himself available to whoever would like to learn a little bit from his experience.

“I played youth soccer here and in Germany (and) professionally here and in Germany,” Caligiuri said. “I spent 15 years in the national team program, and I like people to know that I am accessible. The world of soccer is small and we’re all very much in tune with what’s going on. As part of the soccer family, I’m here to help in any way I can.”

The past three seasons have been challenging, but rewarding as well. Caligiuri’s women’s team is an Academic All-American and went from having the eighth highest grade point average among Pomona athletics to having the highest. The men’s team is ranked third among Cal Poly Pomona Men’s athletics, one thousandth of a point behind the second place team. Both teams boast GPAs over 3.0. There’s also the personal growth he has experienced.

“I think it is (rewarding), particularly in the areas I’ve had to improve on,” Caligiuri said. “It’s a matter of enjoying learning and I’ve enjoyed the process. I have to hire assistant coaches and graduate assistants. There’s a lot of delegating and I’ve learned a lot of those professional skills I didn’t need as a soccer player. Now I feel I’m more rounded and capable of running a corporation if I had to. If I was ever to go to a different level or stage in my career, I’d be up for the challenge.”

Caligiuri, who played for 15 years with the U.S. Men’s National Team, as well as playing professionally in Germany and in the U.S., was inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y. last summer, along with Michelle Akers and Eric Wynalda. Some would argue that Caligiuri’s goal launched the rebirth of American soccer. It sent the U.S. to its first World Cup in 40 years, giving a number of young players valuable experience for the 1994 World Cup at home in the U.S. as well.

After 1994 came the 1996 launch of Major League Soccer, a domestic league that has showcased the likes of Brian McBride, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Ed Johnson, and helped many of them move on to Europe. Others, such as Claudio Reyna and Steve Cherundolo, established themselves overseas, where Caligiuri was the first American-born player to play in the German Bundesliga. Now, well more than 100 American players earn their keep among the different ranks in countries such as England, Germany, Holland, France and Norway.

But the floodgates didn’t just open for the players. Caligiuri’s goal had an impact on soccer fans in the U.S. as well. According to Caligiuri, today there is a growing fan base and a lot more games available on TV due to changes in how the sport is perceived in the U.S. since 1990, after four consecutive World Cup appearances. More people are watching, more people are playing and more people in general have accepted the sport as “American” versus “European” or “South-of-the-Border.”

While some credit those changes to the growth of the sport in general, there are those who can count back 15 years to one particular goal and one particular win.

“The relevance of that victory (against Trinidad and Tobago) seems to grow every day,” said Caligiuri, who is frequently asked about his Nov. 19, 1989 goal. “It’s kind of cool to leave my imprint.”

Vanole 'Neck Save' Paves Path Toward ’90 World Cup

For all the deserved glamour that Paul Caligiuri’s historic 1989 strike against Trinidad & Tobago has attracted over the years, it should not be lost in the shuffle that his former UCLA teammate was responsible for that scenario existing in the first place.

About eight months before Caligiuri catapulted the U.S. into its first FIFA World Cup in 40 years, 26-year-old goalkeeper David “Dino” Vanole made the most important save of his international career when he stopped a lethal penalty kick strike against Costa Rica’s Mauricio Montero.

Vanole was an energetic, aggressive and flamboyant personality both on and off the field. Former UCLA head coach Sigi Schmid coined him “Dino” in reference to Italy goalkeeper Dino Zoff, who displayed a similar fierceness.

Heading into the second leg of a pair of World Cup qualifying matches against Costa Rica on April 30, 1989, anything less than a win would have put the U.S. in a serious hole among the CONCACAF field, but Tab Ramos did his part in supplying a 1-0 lead in the 72nd minute. With Vanole and the U.S. defense clinging to the one-goal lead in the waning minutes, Costa Rica’s Alvaro Solano had an open net and U.S. defender Steve Trittschuh had to stop the ball with his hands at the goal line to sacrifice a penalty kick.

That set the stage for Vanole against Costa Rica’s brawny defender Montero.

Before the kick, Vanole stared Montero down, attempting to get into the Ticos’ head. Rather than commit to diving in one direction, Vanole held his ground and Montero’s shot went straight at Vanole’s neck “at about 100 mph,” Vanole recalled. Although Costa Rica had a rebound opportunity, it sailed over the goal and the U.S. held on through a nervy handful of extra time minutes for a win that set the team on its way to a successful World Cup qualifying run that culminated with Caliguir’s ‘shot heard ‘round the world.’

The ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’

It’s rare that the course of history is changed in a moment. But with one swing of Paul Caligiuri's left leg, that’s what happened on a bumpy field one steamy afternoon in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on Nov. 19, 1989.

It was the final game of a grueling 10-game qualifying march to the 1990 World Cup in Italy, and the Americans had scored just nine goals in the previous nine matches. More than half of those came in one game, a 5-1 victory against Jamaica in the second game of qualifying. The USA was coming off consecutive 0-0 ties, against Guatemala at home and El Salvador on the road, and needed a win to qualify for a World Cup tournament for the first time in 40 years.

The stadium was jammed to the brim – a full six hours before the match – with Trinidadians who were swathed in red and poised for a celebration the likes of which the island had never seen. The match was played on a Sunday and the government had even declared the following Monday a national holiday in preemptive celebration of qualifying for the nation’s first-ever World Cup.

But it was the Americans on whom fortune smiled. In the 30th minute, Caligiuri, who was playing midfield in that match, took a simple square pass from Tab Ramos, controlled the bouncing ball with his midsection and ran toward goal. He took a big windup with his right leg, freezing a defender, cut the ball to the inside and struck a left-footed half-volley from about 30 yards that looped and dipped forcefully into the lower right corner for a goal.

 

The goal was one of just five Caligiuri scored in his National Team career and, although he would also score in the first match of the 1990 World Cup, it was surely his most important.

Now known as the “shot heard ‘round the world,” Caliguiri’s goal has reverberated through the generations in U.S. Soccer history. It’s not a stretch to say it is one of the most important goals in U.S. history as it started a run of seven consecutive World Cup appearances and counting. A run, perhaps unthinkable 30 years ago, that has spurred the exponential growth of the game in the United States.

“It was a stunning goal,” said long-time soccer broadcast J.P. Dellacamera, who called the game from Port-of-Spain for ESPN. “To me, it’s the goal that defined soccer in this country. If he doesn’t score there, if they don’t win there, I don’t think everything else that’s happened would have happened quite the same way.”

Photo Gallery: MNT Training & Travel to Dublin

Photos from the U.S. MNT's final training session in London before departing for Dublin to face Ireland on Nov. 18.

Rubio Rubin Savors MNT Debut, Looks Forward to Ireland

The U.S. Men’s National Team will play its last game of 2014 on Tuesday when they face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin at Aviva Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:45 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcasted live on ESPN2 and UniMas.

After a year of much success, including a World Cup performance that saw the USA advance out of the “Group of Death” alongside eventual tournament-winner Germany, MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has used these last few months to test new players and bring a crop of youngsters into the mix as he and the team focus on this new cycle that culminates at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Forward Rubio Rubin is one of the new faces starting to make an impact for the MNT. The Utrecht forward made his National Team debut last Friday, Nov. 14 at Craven Cottage during the 2-1 loss to Colombia. He started up top beside veteran forward Jozy Altidore in front of an almost sold-out crowd that welcomed the 18-year-old into the national spotlight –a moment he had always dreamed of.

“I couldn’t believe how many Colombians were there, it was crazy,” Rubin said of the atmosphere at Craven Cottage. “But you want to play in games like that where it’s tough and playing against fans that are not on your side. It was definitely like a dream come true to me. Getting my first cap and making my debut as a starter is something I dreamed about this past summer and in my past 18 years, so I’m really excited for me and my family. I wasn’t really nervous; just more anxious, doing my thing and working hard for the team.”

Rubin will perhaps have another opportunity to work hard for the team on Nov. 18 when the USA and Ireland face each other in the MNT’s final game of 2014. Klinsmann is excited to have the team face a strong European squad to cap off what has been a memorable last twelve months.

“Having the last game in Dublin against Ireland, I think is awesome,” Klinsmann said. “It’s awesome because it’s a huge football nation. They just missed out on the World Cup but right now they are in a good run for the European Qualifying campaign; they’re doing extremely well. Having that game in Dublin is fantastic and hopefully we’ll underscore our year in a positive way with the right result there.” 

A Look at the Six Nominees for 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

On Sunday, six nominees were selected for 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. The unveiling was announced on ESPN FC, and the winner will be named on Thursday, Nov. 20, live on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Here is a closer look at the players and their defining moments as they hope to earn this esteemed honor:


U.S. MNT Midfielder KYLE BECKERMAN:

  • 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 8 caps; 7 starts; 637 minutes
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (first World Cup): 3 caps; 3 starts; 270 minutes
  • Defining Moments: Beckerman started in the midfield for all three group matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He has been named Budweiser Man of the Match on two occasions this year – the USA’s group match against eventual FIFA World Cup champion Germany on June 26 and the USA’s international friendly against No. 3-ranked Colombia on Nov. 14. In the seven years he has represented the MNT, Beckerman’s current minutes total of 637 is second only to his career-high of 680 in 2013.


U.S. MNT Midfielder ALEJANDRO BEDOYA:

  • 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 11 caps; 10 starts; 772 minutes; 1 goal
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (first World Cup): 4 caps; 3 starts; 283 minutes
  • Defining Moments: Bedoya is the USA’s leader with 11 appearances in 2014, and he is tied for the team lead with three other players with 10 starts (a career-high for Bedoya). He was one of nine players to see action in all four games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Bedoya scored the lone goal during the USA’s 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3, earning Budweiser Man of the Match for his efforts.


U.S. MNT Forward CLINT DEMPSEY:

  • 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 9 caps; 9 starts; 805 minutes; 3 goals
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (third World Cup): 4 caps; 4 starts; 386 minutes; 2 goals
  • Defining Moments: Dempsey scored the fifth-fastest goal in FIFA World Cup history – 29 seconds – during the USA’s group-opening win against Ghana. He also became the first American to score in three World Cups. Dempsey added a goal during the USA’s 2-2 draw against Portugal, giving him four-career World Cup goals.
  • Previous Honors: Dempsey was the 2007, 2011 and 2012 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year.


U.S. MNT Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD:

  • 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 8 caps; 8 starts; 705 minutes; 1 shutout; 1.15 GAA; 3-3-1 record
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (third World Cup): 4 caps; 4 starts; 390 minutes; 1.38 GAA; 1-2-1 record
  • Defining Moments: This year, Howard has set a new U.S. MNT standard by becoming the all-time leader in wins with 55 (breaking Kasey Keller’s record of 53) and goalkeeper appearances with 104 (breaking Keller’s record of 102). Howard also recorded a FIFA World Cup-record 15 saves during the USA’s 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium on July 1. He is now the USA’s all-time leader in World Cup goalkeeper appearances (8) and starts (8) and is tied with Brad Friedel for first with two wins. Howard’s 100th cap came against Nigeria on June 7 as he became the 15th MNT player to reach that century milestone.
  • Previous Honors: Howard was the 2008 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year.


U.S. MNT Defender FABIAN JOHNSON:

  • 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 10 caps; 10 starts; 785 minutes; 1 goal, 1 assist
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (first World Cup): 4 caps; 4 starts; 301 minutes
  • Defining Moments: Johnson scored the opening goal during the USA’s 2-1 win against Turkey in the Send-Off Series on June 1. That was Johnson’s first international goal. He was one of seven players to start in all four FIFA World Cup games. Johnson has set career highs in caps (10), starts (10) and minutes (785) as he wraps up his fourth international year with the MNT.


U.S. MNT Midfielder JERMAINE JONES:

  • 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 10 caps; 10 starts; 874 minutes; 1 goal; 1 assist
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup stats: 4 caps; 4 starts; 390 minutes; 1 goal; 1 assist
  • Defining Moments: For a fourth-consecutive year, Jones has logged double-digit games for the MNT as he nears 50 caps in his international career. Playing in his first World Cup, Jones stepped up in the big stage. He assisted Clint Dempsey’s opening goal during the USA’s group victory against Ghana and then followed that up with a blistering goal against Portugal as the U.S. advanced out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup’s Group of Death. Following the FIFA World Cup, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has transitioned Jones into a center back role for this new World Cup cycle.

Defending Champion U.S. MNT Placed Atop Group A for 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

CHICAGO (Dec. 16, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team has been placed atop Group A for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup as it seeks to defend its Gold Cup title and qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. 

The U.S. will play the tournament’s opening match on July 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, followed by a July 10 game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Three days later, the USA will complete the group phase at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Complete groups and schedule, including selection of dates and assignment of matches for the knockout round and the awarding of the final, will be announced in early 2015. Fans interested in learning about a special, holiday season gift package and exclusive presale ticket offer can find more information at www.concacaf.com

CONCACAF's top-ranked teams – the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico – will headline the 12-nation tournament from July 7-26, along with Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Canada, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Haiti and Cuba. Honduras and French Guiana will meet in March with the playoff winner securing the final berth in the 2015 Gold Cup. 

A total of 13 North American cities will host matches throughout the event – Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Toronto. 

As defending champion from the 2013 competition, a Gold Cup championship this summer would guarantee the United States as the CONCACAF representative in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. If the USA is unable to defend its title, it would then face the 2015 champion in a playoff. 

The team’s opening match will be the USA’s first Gold Cup match in Frisco. Overall, the U.S. has a 1-0-1 record at the home of FC Dallas, last appearing in the venue in 2007. 

Foxborough has a storied history hosting the USA in the confederation championship, with the United States boasting an unbeaten 6-0-2 record dating back to 2003. Ten different U.S. goal scorers are on the books in games from Gillette Stadium, which has welcomed the MNT for five group games and three quarterfinal matchups. 

The MNT holds a perfect 3-0-0 record at Sporting Park, with all three matches coming in official competition against CONCACAF opponents. The U.S. made its debut appearance there in 2011 with a Jozy Altidore goal securing a 1-0 win against Guadeloupe and a first-place finish in Group C of the 2011 Gold Cup.

Four-Time FIFA World Cup Defender DaMarcus Beasley Retires from International Soccer

CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2014) – U.S. Men’s National Team defender DaMarcus Beasley has announced his retirement from international soccer. Beasley caps off a stellar career that spanned 14 years and included 121 appearances.

This past summer, Beasley became the first U.S. player to make an appearance in four FIFA World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). He joined Kasey Keller (1990, 1998, 2002, 2006) and Claudio Reyna (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) as the only USA players to be a part of four World Cup teams.

Beasley’s 11 caps in the World Cup tie for second-most in U.S. MNT history, and his 121 appearances rank fifth on the all-time list since debuting in 2001.

In 2014, Beasley started in six of seven games while logging 530 minutes. He was one of seven MNT players to start in all four games during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and Beasley was one of only four players to play in every minute during the tournament.

Beasley tallied 17 international goals, which ties for ninth on the all-time list with Earnie Stewart. Beasley’s 13-career assists tie for eighth on the all-time list with Clint Dempsey.

During his tenure, Beasley won four CONCACAF Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005, 2007 and 2013), the latter serving as the team captain. His 2013 campaign included a career-high 17 appearances and 1,469 minutes.

Beasley first made his name known among the U.S. Under-17 and U-20 Men’s National Teams, playing in FIFA World Cups at both age levels. He won the Silver Ball at the 1999 FIFA U-17 Youth World Championship as the tournament’s second-best player as the USA advanced to the semifinal stage of that event. Beasley also played in every minute of the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He was named the U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year in 2001.

Professionally, Beasley became the first American to score in the Champions League for two teams – Rangers and PSV Eindhoven – and holds the MNT record with 22 Champions League appearances overall. Beasley won two Dutch league championships with PSV and two Scottish titles with Rangers.

Beasley has had two stints in Major League Soccer, first with the Chicago Fire and then most recently with the Houston Dynamo. Beasley won the 2000 and 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with the Fire.

U.S. Soccer Announces Ambitious Schedule for MNT in First Half of 2015

CHICAGO (Dec. 9, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will embark on arguably its most challenging schedule of friendly matches in team history with seven top quality friendlies in the first half of 2015, highlighted by a string of three matches against regional rival Mexico, 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany and fifth-ranked Netherlands. 

The United States will face five teams ranked in the top 20 in the world and compete on three continents in advance of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup that will take place from July 7-26 in the United States. Additional friendlies will be announced in the near future. 

The U.S. will open at Chile on Jan. 28 before facing Panama in its first home match a little more than a week later on Feb. 8 at StubHub Center in Carson, California (TICKETS). After two away matches during the international window in March against Denmark and Switzerland, the concentration will turn to one of the biggest rivalries in international soccer when the U.S. faces Mexico, Presented by AT&T, on April 15 at a location still to be announced. 

In final preparations for the Gold Cup, the U.S. will face two of the top three finishers of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On June 5, the U.S. will travel to face third-place finisher Netherlands before heading to Cologne, Germany, to face the world champion at Rhein Energie Stadion. 

U.S. Soccer’s new partnership agreements with ESPN, FOX and Univision begin in 2015, providing unprecedented coverage of the National Teams. Every match will be broadcast by either ESPN or FOX Sports, as well as simulcast on UniMas and Univision Deportes Network. 

“We want to consistently benchmark ourselves against the top teams in the world, and to give new and different challenges to our players. Competition gives your team an opportunity to grow, and this schedule allows us to do that,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “At the same time, our most important goal for the senior National Team in 2015 is to win the Gold Cup and qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017, and these games will be excellent preparation.” 

Date

Opponent

Venue

Television

Jan. 28

Chile

Away (TBD)

FOX Sports 2, UniMas, UDN

Feb. 8

Panama

StubHub Center; Carson, California

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

March 25

Denmark

Away (TBD)

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

March 31

Switzerland

Stadion Letzigrund; Zurich, Switzerland

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

April 15

Mexico

Home (TBD)

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

June 5

Netherlands

Away (TBD)

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

June 10

Germany

Rhein Energie Stadion; Cologne, Germany

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

Tickets for USA-Panama on Feb. 8 go on sale to the general public Monday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. PT through ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12-6 p.m.).

Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.

As a sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Visa is pleased to offer all Visa cardholders access to an advance ticket sale for this match before the sale to the general public. This advance sale starts Friday, Dec. 12, and runs from 10 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. PT at ussoccer.com. Visa will be the only payment method accepted through the Visa presale and is the preferred card of U.S. Soccer. Terms and conditions apply. 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Netherlands earned a third-place finish in the 2014 FIFA World Cup after a comprehensive 3-0 shutout against Brazil.
  • Chile advanced out of one of the most difficult groups in Brazil, defeating Spain and Australia before losing to Brazil in penalties in the Round of 16. This will be the USA’s first friendly on South American soil since its last visit to Chile in 2000.
  • Switzerland was one of seven seeded teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup
  • The USA-Mexico match, presented by AT&T, comes off two historic results for the U.S. against El Tri during the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying in 2013, including earning its first road point from Mexico since 1997.
  • Denmark is currently in first place of Group I ahead of Portugal in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship.
  • Goals from Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson in second-half stoppage time snatched a spot in the World Cup away from Panama and gave the U.S. a first-place finish in CONCACAF qualifying for Brazil.

DeAndre Yedlin, Morgan Brian and Gavin Sibayan Earn 2014 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Honors

CHICAGO (Dec. 4, 2014) – DeAndre Yedlin has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year, Morgan Brian has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year and Gavin Sibayan has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Disabled Athlete of the Year.

U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard earned Male Athlete of the Year honors last month and awards season wraps up when FOX Sports 1 announces the Female Athlete of the Year live on Dec. 6 during its coverage of the FIFA Women's World Cup Draw from 12-1 p.m. ET. Post-draw coverage continues for an additional 30 minutes on FOX Sports 2, and viewers will have access to the full 90-minute Draw Show via the FOX Sports GO app.

Yedlin’s star has risen for the past two years, punctuated by a breakout performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he made three appearances that led to a transfer to English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. The 21-year-old was one of seven players to make at least 10 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team this year. A Seattle Sounders FC Academy product, Yedlin become a regular in MLS and helped the Sounders capture the league’s Supporters Shield as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.

“It’s an absolute honor to win this award,” said Yedlin. “I would like to thank my teammates, my family, and most of all the fans for the amazing support for our team. It was a tremendous year for a lot of young players, and we all share the dream of continuing to have the opportunity to represent our country.”

Brian has earned 13 caps so far in 2014 as the youngest member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, scoring two goals and helping the team qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She also led Virginia to the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup being played tomorrow and tied the NCAA Tournament single-game record with five assists in a first-round victory.

“The group of players who have won this award have gone on to do some great things and to be listed among them is a true honor and very humbling,” said Brian. “The last two years playing with the National Team have been amazing. I’ve been fortunate to have so many talented people around me and I’ve learned so much from all of my teammates and coaches.”

Sibayan, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant who served in Iraq, played in every game of the 2014 Americas Cup in Canada this past September to help the U.S. Paralympic National Team earn the bronze medal. The Colorado Springs native also helped the U.S. PNT claim second at the 9th International Trophy of 7-a-Side Football in Barcelona, Spain, with an unbeaten run – the first time the team went unbeaten at an international tournament for 10 years.

“I’m honored,” said Sibayan. “I have a lot of pride for the U.S. and it’s a big honor to just play on the team. The group we have assembled is a great bunch of guys. We’re getting better and making some great progress on our team right now.”

The U.S. Soccer Young Male and Young Female Athlete of the Year honors have been awarded since 1998, when forwards Josh Wolf and Cindy Parlow won the respective awards, while the Disabled Athlete of the Year honor was first awarded to Felicia Schroeder in 2012.

Tim Howard Voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

CHICAGO (Nov. 20, 2014) – Goalkeeper Tim Howard has been voted the 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, with the announcement taking place earlier today live on ESPN’s SportsCenter. This is Howard’s second time winning AOTY, previously earning the honor in 2008.

The three-time FIFA World Cup veteran becomes the fifth player to win Male Athlete of the Year on multiple occasions, joining defender Marcelo Balboa (1992, 1994), goalkeeper Kasey Keller (1997, 1999 and 2005), forward Landon Donovan (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010) and forward Clint Dempsey (2007, 2011 and 2012).

“It’s an honor. I know the winners on the list who have come before me, so it’s special to have my name up there,” Howard said on SportsCenter. “The whole ride with the team for about a month and a half, when we got together for training camp and we flew down to Brazil, we had a really good time and that made 2014 so special to me.”

A new voting process took place this year, with votes collected from Men’s National Team players earned a cap in 2014, Men’s National Team and Youth Men’s National Team coaches, Major League Soccer and North American Soccer League head coaches and select former players, administrators and media members.

Howard received 64 percent of the tabulated votes, followed by Jermaine Jones (19 percent) and Kyle Beckerman (11 percent).

This year, Howard became the USA’s all-time leader in career wins with 55 (breaking Keller’s record of 53) and goalkeeper appearances with 104 (breaking Keller’s record of 102). Howard also had a memorable 2014 FIFA World Cup that included a tournament-record 15 saves during the USA’s 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium in the first knockout round on July 1.

The U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year has been awarded since 1984, when midfielder Rick Davis earned the first Athlete of the Year honor.

Also on Thursday, U.S. Soccer unveiled its nominees for 2014 Young Male Athlete of the Year, Young Female Athlete of the Year and Disabled Athlete of the Year. The nominees in each category are:

  • Young Male Athlete of the Year Nominees: Mukwelle Akale, midfielder; Emerson Hyndman, midfielder; Christian Pulisic, midfielder; Haji Wright, forward; DeAndre Yedlin, defender (A Look at the Nominees)
  • Young Female Athlete of the Year Nominees: Morgan Brian, midfielder; Rose Lavelle, midfielder; Samantha Mewis, midfielder; Mallory Pugh, midfielder; Katelyn Rowland, goalkeeper (A Look at the Nominees)
  • Disabled Athlete of the Year Nominees: Meghan Maiwald, Deaf Soccer; Natalie Russo, Power Soccer; Gavin Sibayan, Paralympic Soccer (A Look at the Nominees)

The nominees for U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year will be unveiled in the coming days.

U.S. MNT Falls 4-1 to Republic of Ireland to Close out 2014 Campaign

DUBLIN, Republic of Ireland (Nov. 18, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 4-1 to the Republic of Ireland in front of 33,332 spectators at Aviva Stadium to finish its 2014 campaign. Mix Diskerud’s fifth-career goal was the high point of the match for the USA, which conceded three unanswered goals in the second half. 

Anthony Pilkington opened the scoring for Ireland early in the first half before Robbie Brady scored two second-half goals, and James McClean capped the scoring with a second-half tally. 

The USA finishes the year with a 6-5-4 record, and Ireland continued its stronghold in Dublin with a 5-0-0 all-time record against the U.S. at its home site. 

The U.S. hit the woodwork twice, with Fabian Johnson’s 21st-minute attempt grazing the right post and Jozy Altidore’s 43rd-minute shot from the middle of the box ricocheting off of the crossbar. 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
IRL – Anthony Pilkington (David McGoldrick), 7th minute: After the USA lost the ball in the midfield, Ireland countered with McGoldrick playing a through ball toward Pilkington, in between the USA’s center back pairing of Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron. Pilkington had a couple steps on Besler on the right side, and Bill Hamid left his line to try to beat Pilkington to the ball. However, Pilkington won that battle and chipped over Hamid and into the right side of the frame for an early lead. USA 0, IRL 1 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Mix Diskerud (Chris Wondolowski), 39th minute: Ireland captain David Meyler coughed up the ball in the midfield, and Alfredo Morales started the attack for the USA. After trying to find Wondolowski initially in the box, Morales’ pass deflected toward the left side of the box to Jozy Altidore. Altidore crossed back in, connecting with Wondolowski who headed the ball to Diskerud. With the sole of his boot, Diskerud’s karate-like shot slotted into the right side of the frame. It was Diskerud’s third goal of the year and fifth of his career. USA 1, IRL 1 (SEE GOAL) 

IRL – Robbie Brady (David McGoldrick), 55th minute: The USA defense lost the ball near the corner flag and Ireland capitalized, crossing the ball in from the left side to McGoldrick at the top of the box. McGoldrick’s slick, back-heel pass opened the field for Brady on the left side of the six-yard box and he shot in between Bill Hamid’s legs to regain the lead. USA 1, IRL 2 (SEE GOAL) 

IRL – James McClean, 82nd minute: Ireland put the match out of reach with McClean’s long-distance, left-footed shot from about 25 yards out. His shot took a deflection off of U.S. defender Geoff Cameron. Bill Hamid was diving to his left and tried to react in time to make a save with his leg, but the ball found its way into the back of the net. USA 1, IRL 3 (SEE GOAL) 

IRL – Robbie Brady, 86th minute: Brady’s left-footed free kick from 25 yards out sailed over the USA’s five-man wall and was placed perfectly into the upper left corner, well out of reach for a diving Bill Hamid. USA 1, IRL 4 (SEE GOAL) (FINAL) 

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
IRL – Alex Pearce, 20th minute: USA midfielder Alejandro Bedoya fought off Ireland’s defense to put in a cross from the right end line, eying Jozy Altidore at the far left post. Pearce intercepted with the header to surrender a U.S. corner kick.

USA – Bill Hamid, 27th minute: Ireland’s midfield lofted the ball toward the edge of the box, where the USA appeared to have control of the situation with numbers near the ball. However, the U.S. lost the ball to Ireland midfielder Daryl Murphy who shot from 10 yards out with a clear look at the goal. Hamid made himself big and stopped Murphy’s shot. 

IRL – Shay Given, 50th minute: Jozy Altidore had ample space when he shot from just outside 20 yards. Given anticipated the shot going the opposite direction, but he reacted in time to make the foot save and stave off the USA’s early attack in the second half. 

USA – Fabian Johnson, 78th minute: Ireland second-half sub Shane Long was all by himself to cross from the right side, but Johnson tracked back to clear the ball away from the far left side. The ball deflected off of USA defender Matt Besler for an Ireland corner kick. 

IRL – Shay Given, 81st minute: Forward Jordan Morris, making his U.S. MNT debut, had an immediate impact with a the dribble down the left side and cross to Greg Garza in the box. Garza shot from about nine yards out and Given kicked out a foot to make the save. It turned out to be an important moment for Ireland, which was hanging onto a one-goal lead and ended up scoring an insurance goal just one minute later. 

Additional Notes:

  • The U.S. is 2-5-2 all-time against the Republic of Ireland.
  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup featured Bill Hamid in goal. Hamid earned his second cap and start. His only previous appearance was during the USA’s 1-0 victory against Venezuela on Jan. 21, 2012, when he became the last U.S. goalkeeper to post a shutout in his first appearance.
  • The starting back line featured Timmy Chandler on the left, Fabian Johnson on the right and Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron at center back. Johnson was a starting midfielder against Colombia and switched to right back to open the second half of that match.
  • The USA’s starting midfield in a 4-1-3-2 formation included Kyle Beckerman in a holding role, Alfredo Morales and Alejandro Bedoya on the outside and Mix Diskerud in the middle. Bedoya earned his team-leading 12rth cap of 2014, and Morales earned his first start in his fifth overall appearance.
  • The starting front line featured team captain Jozy Altidore and Chris Wondolowski.
  • The USA is now 2-1-0 when Altidore wears the captain’s armband.
  • Among the USA substitutions against Ireland, Bobby Wood replaced Wondolowski to open the second half.
  • Greg Garza entered for Morales in the 65th minute to earn his fifth cap.
  • In the 76th minute, former Seattle Sounders FC Academy Player of the Year Jordan Morris made his MNT debut, replacing Timmy Chandler. Morris became the 50th player to earn a cap for Klinsmann this year. In the 77th minute, Rubio Rubin played in his second consecutive match, replacing Diskerud.
  • In the 87th minute, Tim Ream replaced Beckerman. Ream was brought in to replace John Brooks, who was kept out for precautionary reasons with a minor ankle issue.
  • Following the Colombia match, DeAndre Yedlin, Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones and DaMarcus Beasley returned to their respective Major League Soccer teams. Yedlin and Seattle Sounders FC are preparing to face the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference Championship on Nov. 23, while the New England Revolution’s Jones and Nguyen are set to face the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Championship earlier that day.
  • The U.S. is 33-15-11 all-time under Klinsmann.

MNT Seeks Positive Result against Ireland to Close 2014

U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Republic of Ireland
International Friendly
ESPN2, UniMas
Nov. 18, 2014
Aviva Stadium; Dublin, Ireland

U.S. MNT CAPS OFF 2014 CAMPAIGN AGAINST IRELAND: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face the Republic of Ireland for its final match of 2014 on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The game kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2 and UniMas. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp.

The USA is coming off a 2-1 loss to No. 3 FIFA-ranked Colombia on Nov. 14. The U.S. held an early lead thanks to Jozy Altidore’s 25th-career goal in the 10th minute, but Colombia responded with two second-half tallies before a largely pro-Colombia crowd of 24,235 at Craven Cottage in London.

Four Players Return to MLS Clubs: Following Friday’s match against Colombia, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann released DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, Lee Nguyen and DeAndre Yedlin back to their respective clubs. The New England Revolution’s Jones and Nguyen are preparing to face the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Championship, which kicks off Sunday, Nov. 23, while Yedlin and Seattle Sounders FC face the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference Championship later that day. No additional players will be added for the MNT’s Ireland match.

U.S. Men’s National Team By Position – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Hamburg), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

2014 U.S. MNT SCHEDULE:

Date

Opponent

Result/Time (ET)

U.S. Goal Scorers/TV

Venue

Feb. 1

Korea Rep.

2-0 W

Wondolowski (2)

StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.

March 5

Ukraine

0-2 L

--

Papadopoulos Stadium; Larnaca, Cyprus

April 2

Mexico

2-2 T

Bradley, Wondolowski

Univ. of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, Ariz.

May 27

Azerbaijan

2-0 W

Diskerud, Johannsson

Candlestick Park; San Francisco, Calif.

June 1

Turkey

2-1 W

F. Johnson, Dempsey

Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.

June 7

Nigeria

2-1 W

Altidore (2)

EverBank Field; Jacksonville, Fla.

June 16

Ghana **

2-1 W

Dempsey, Brooks

Estadio das Dunas; Natal, Brazil

June 22

Portugal **

2-2 T

Jones, Dempsey

Arena Amazonia; Manaus, Brazil

June 26

Germany **

0-1 L

--

Arena Pernambuco; Recife, Brazil

July 1

Belgium **

0-0 (1-2 OT L)

Green

Arena Fonte Nova; Salvador, Brazil

Sept. 3

Czech Rep.

1-0 W

Bedoya

Generali Arena; Prague, Czech Republic

Oct. 10

Ecuador

1-1 T

Diskerud

Rentschler Field; East Hartford, Conn.

Oct. 14

Honduras

1-1 T

Altidore

FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, Fla.

Nov. 14

Colombia

1-2 L

Altidore

Craven Cottage; London, England

Nov. 18

Ireland

2:45 p.m.

ESPN2, UniMas

Aviva Stadium; Dublin, Rep. of Ireland

** 2014 FIFA World Cup

USA VS. IRELAND:

  • The United States is 2-4-2 all-time against the Republic of Ireland in a series that dates back to the USA’s 3-1 loss on June 16, 1924, in Dublin. That match included a goal by Jimmy Rhody in his only appearance with the MNT.
  • The two sides did not meet again until Ireland posted a 3-2 win against the USA on Oct. 29, 1979, in Dublin.
  • The USA and Ireland drew 1-1 on June 1, 1991, in Foxborough, Massachusetts, with Eric Wynalda scoring for the U.S. Ireland then earned its most lopsided win against the U.S. on April 29, 1992, a 4-1 decision. Wynalda again scored the USA’s only goal.
  • The U.S. earned its first win against Ireland on May 30, 1992. After conceding a goal early in the second half, the USA responded with tallies from Marcelo Balboa, Tab Ramos and John Harkes en route to a 3-1 victory in the U.S. Cup at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
  • Four years later in the U.S. Cup, the USA again rallied for a victory against Ireland. The U.S. gave up a 57th-minute goal but rallied one minute later with a Ramos strike, followed by a Claudio Reyna game-winner in the 75th minute for a 2-1 win on June 9, 1996, at Foxborough.
  • Ante Razov scored a 68th-minute equalizer during the USA’s 1-1 draw against Ireland on June 6, 2000.
  • The U.S. and Ireland most recently met on April 17, 2002, with Ireland earning a 2-1 victory at Landsdowne Road in Dublin. Eddie Pope scored the USA’s only goal in the 34th minute off of a John O’Brien assist to tie the score at 1-1 at the time.

U.S. ROSTER NOTES:

  • Jozy Altidore leads the USA roster with 75-career appearances.
  • Colombian-American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya has played in 11 of 14 matches for the MNT in 2014 and could potentially tie a career-best in a single year (12). Both his father and grandfather played professionally in Colombia. His 11 caps this year leads the squad.
  • Jermaine Jones, who scored a mesmerizing goal against Portugal in the World Cup in June, is again listed as a defender after having made a debut appearance at center back for the MNT in the 1-1 draw against Honduras on Oct. 14.
  • Ingolstadt midfielder Alfredo Morales has helped his side to the top of the 2. Bundesliga table, appearing in all 13 matches and scoring the opening goal of the campaign. Born in Germany to Peruvian parents, Morales has been deployed as a holding midfielder and also in defense by his club.
  • Greg Garza earned his first start against Ecuador in his second of three consecutive appearances for the MNT, having made his debut in the 1-0 win against the Czech Republic. The Club Tijuana left back has now competed for the United States at every age level, beginning with the U.S. Under-14 Boys’ National Team.
  • Chris Wondolowski spent a week training at Fulham prior to this U.S. MNT camp.
  • Sean Johnson earned both the MVP award and the Defender of the Year award for the Chicago Fire this season. He is coming off a training spell at Hull City.
  • Bill Hamid backstopped D.C. United to a historic turnaround as the club was the first in the Eastern Conference to clinch an MLS playoff berth this season. A year ago, United finished the campaign with the worst record in MLS.
  • Minnesota United FC forward Miguel Ibarra and Stanford University striker Jordan Morris both return to the fold after debut appearances on an MNT roster this year. Ibarra became the first player from the modern NASL to be called into the National Team. The 24-year-old NASL Player of the Month for September got his first cap when he entered as a 90th-minute sub in the 1-1 draw against Honduras. On Nov. 13, Ibarra was named to the NASL’s 2014 Best XI.
  • Morris, who scored the game-winner for the U.S. U-23 MNT against the Bahamas in August, was named the 2012-13 Development Academy Player of the Year for the U-18 age group while playing for the Seattle Sounders FC Academy. He is the first active college player to be included on a roster under Jurgen Klinsmann.
  • Rubio Rubin, taking part in his second MNT camp this year, made his debut with the start against Colombia on Nov. 14. Rubin, who signed with Utrecht in July, is a U.S. U-17 Residency alum and the 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year. 

IN THE RECORD BOOKS:

  • Jozy Altidore’s penalty kick goal against Colombia boosted his career total to 25, good for sole possession of fifth place on the U.S. MNT’s all-time goal scoring list. Altidore passed Joe-Max Moore, who scored 24 goals in 100 games from 1992-2002. Altidore has 25 goals in 75 games.
  • World Cup goalkeeper Nick Rimando ranks sixth on the all-time wins list with 10. He has never lost a game for the National Team (10-0-1).
  • World Cup goalkeeper Brad Guzan has earned nine shutouts in 28 games. That ranks sixth on the USA’s all-time list, one behind fifth-place Arnie Mausser (10 shutouts from 1975-1983).
  • Goalkeeper Bill Hamid holds the distinction of being one of eight goalkeepers to post a shutout in his first appearance with the National Team. Hamid is the most recent goalkeeper to accomplish this feat during a 1-0 victory against Venezuela on Jan. 21, 2012.
  • Chris Wondolowski is tied for 21st on the all-time list with nine goals in 24 games, sharing that place with Dominic Kinnear, Jovan Kirovski, Alexi Lalas, Peter Millar, Willy Roy and Josh Wolff. Wondolowski is one goal behind 20th-place Eddie Lewis (10 goals from 1996-2008).
  • USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (33-14-11) ranks third on the all-time wins list. Ahead of Klinsmann is Bruce Arena (71) and 2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Bob Bradley (43).

USA IN IRELAND:

  • The USA is 0-4-0 all-time in Ireland, with all previous matches taking place in Dublin.
  • Ireland has outscored the U.S. MNT 12-5 in its four home victories.

BY THE NUMBERS:
4                Team-leading goals from Jozy Altidore in 2014
11              Games unbeaten during Nick Rimando’s MNT tenure (10-0-1)
11              Caps by Alejandro Bedoya to lead the USA in 2014
23              USA’s current FIFA ranking
25              Career goals by Altidore, who moved into sole possession of fifth on the USA’s all-time list
33              Victories under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann
61              Ireland’s current FIFA ranking

JURGEN KLINSMANN FACT FILE: Jurgen Klinsmann became the 35th coach in the history of the U.S. Men’s National Team on July 29, 2011. Here is a look at the program’s achievements since that time:

  • Overall, Klinsmann has a 33-14-11 record. He is third on the U.S. MNT’s all-time coaching wins list. The top five include Bruce Arena (71), Bob Bradley (43), Klinsmann (33), Bora Milutinovic (30) and Steve Sampson (26).
  • He won a record-setting 13 straight games at home from June 2, 2013, to Feb. 1, 2014, and has guided the team to an unbeaten record of 16-0-1 in its past 17 matches on home soil.
  • He led the MNT to a 12-game winning streak in 2013, the longest in program history.
  • The U.S. finished 2013 with a 16-4-3 record. The 16 victories and .761 winning percentage are all-time U.S. MNT records for a calendar year.
  • The U.S. finished the final round of 2013 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying atop the Hexagonal with a 7-1-2 overall record, including an unblemished 5-0-0 home record that was achieved by pitching clean sheets in all five matches.
  • The team won six straight games en route to capturing the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, during which the squad scored a tournament record 20 goals.
  • Committed to challenging the group against the best, under Klinsmann, the United States has a 2-3-2 record against teams ranked in the top 10 in the world. With Klinsmann at the helm, the U.S. has also collected four historic victories:
    • Beating four-time World Cup champion Italy for the first time ever
    • Earning the first win against Mexico on Mexican soil
    • Defeating Jamaica on the road for the first time in World Cup Qualifying
    • Topping second-ranked Germany in U.S. Soccer’s Centennial Celebration Match
  • Klinsmann’s U.S. coaching debut was a 1-1 draw against Mexico on Aug. 10, 2011, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. During Klinsmann’s abbreviated 2011 tenure, the USA’s two victories included a 1-0 win against Honduras (Oct. 8) and a 3-2 victory against Slovenia (Nov. 15).
  • Klinsmann was named the Germany National Team manager in 2004 and guided Germany to a 20-6-8 record and a third-place finish in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He earned Coach of the Year honors in Germany, and two years later, he took over the head coaching position at Germany’s most high-profile club Bayern Munich.
  • As a player, Klinsmann played 17 club seasons from 1981 to 1998 with the following teams: Stuttgarter Kickers (1981-84), VfB Stuttgart (1984-89), Internazionale (1989-92), Monaco (1992-94), Tottenham Hotspur (1994-95, 97-98), Bayern Munich (1995-97) and Sampdoria (1997-98). During that time, he scored 226 goals in 506 appearances. He was named German Player of the Year in 1988 and 1994 and FWA Footballer of the Year in 1995.
  • Klinsmann earned 108 caps with the German National Team, scoring 47 goals. He participated in three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 1998) and won the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
  • Klinsmann was born on July 30, 1964, in Goppingen, Germany.

IN FOCUS: IRELAND
Football Association of Ireland
Founded: 1921
FIFA affiliation: 1923
Head Coach: Martin O’Neill
FIFA World Ranking: 61
Best World Cup Finish: 1990 (quarterfinals)

IRELAND ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Rob Elliot (Newcastle United), David Forde (Millwall), Shay Given (Aston Villa), Darren Randolph (Birmingham City)
DEFENDERS (7): Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Cyrus Christie (Derby County), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Richard Keogh (Derby County), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Reading), Stephen Ward (Burnley)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Robbie Brady (Hull City), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), James McClean (Wigan Athletic), Aiden McGeady (Everton), David Meyler (Hull City), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City), Stephen Quinn (Hull City)
FORWARDS (5): Shane Long (Southampton), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town), Anthony Stokes (Celtic), Jon Walters (Stoke City)

IRELAND ROSTER NOTES:

  • Goalkeeper Shay Given, who had retired from international play for approximately two years, earned his 126th cap during Ireland’s 2-0 victory against Oman on Sept. 3 in Dublin.
  • Given is a backup goalkeeper to Brad Guzan at Aston Villa, and Ireland defender Ciaran Clark has also been a member of the Villans since 2008-09.
  • Ireland is captained by defender John O’Shea, who won five Premier League titles with Manchester United and has played for Sunderland since 2011-12.
  • Midfielder Aiden McGeady scored both Ireland goals during its 2-1 victory against Georgia on Sept. 7 in Group D of Euro 2016 qualifying. The Everton winger had the opening tally in the 23rd minute and the game-winner in the 90th minute.
  • Jeff Hendrick’s first start (and fourth cap) came during Ireland’s 2-0 loss to Spain on June 12, 2013, in front of 39,368 spectators at Yankee Stadium.
  • Cyrus Christie, a 22-year-old defender, is the only member of Ireland’s roster still in search of his first cap.
  • Goalkeeper Darren Randolph has also represented Ireland’s U-21 basketball team on an international level.

LAST TIME:
On the field for the USA:
Nov. 14, 2014 – Craven Cottage; London, England – International Friendly 

USA                1          Jozy Altidore 10
COL               2          Carlos Bacca 60, Teofilo Gutierrez 87

Lineups:
USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 2-DeAndre Yedlin (16-Julian Green, 86), 13-Jermaine Jones, 6-John Brooks, 3-Greg Garza (7-DaMarcus Beasley, 70); 15-Kyle Beckerman; 11-Alejandro Bedoya (4-Alfredo Morales, 67), 10-Mix Diskerud (8-Lee Nguyen, 78), 23-Fabian Johnson; 17-Jozy Altidore (capt.), 9-Rubio Rubin (19-Bobby Wood, 67)
Subs Not Used: 5-Matt Besler, 12-Nick Rimando, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 20-Geoff Cameron, 21-Timmy Chandler
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

COL: 12-Camilo Vargas; 3 -Pedro Franco, 4-Santiago Arias, 7-Pablo Armero, 23-Jeison Murillo; 6-Carlos Sanchez, 8-Abel Aguilar (27-Edwin Cardona, 74), 11-Juan Cuadrado (15-Juan Quintero, 89), 10-James Rodriguez (capt.); 17- Carlos Bacca (20-Adrian Ramos, 79), 19-Teofilo Gutierrez (21-Jackson Martinez, 89)
Subs Not Used: 1-Leandro Castellanos, 2-Cristian Zapata, 14-Yimmi Chara, 16-Eder Balanta, 22-Jose Cuadrado, 24-Daniel Bocanegra, 25-Alexander Mejia, 26-Carlos Carbonero, 28-Brayan Angulo
Head Coach: José Pékerman

On the field against Ireland:
April 17, 2002 – Landsdowne Road; Dublin, Ireland – International Friendly 

USA                1          Eddie Pope 34
IRL                 2          Mark Kinsella 7, Gary Doherty 83 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Brad Friedel (18-Kasey Keller, 46); 12-Jeff Agoos, 23-Eddie Pope, 3-Gregg Berhalter (4-Greg Vanney, 46), 22-Tony Sanneh; 14-Chris Armas, 5-John O’Brien (7-Eddie Lewis, 46), 8-Earnie Stewart (21-Landon Donovan, 46), 10-Claudio Reyna (2-Frankie Hejduk, 72); 20-Brian McBride (9-Joe-Max Moore, 46), 11-Clint Mathis (15-Josh Wolff, 64)
Subs Not Used: None

IRL: 1-Shay Given; 2-Steve Finnan (14-Gary Kelly, 46), 3-Ian Harte (17-Steve Staunton, 46), 4-Andy O’Brien (12-Kenny Cunningham, 46), 5-Gary Breen (18-Gary Dougherty, 72); 6-Colin Healy, 7-Rory Delap, 8-Mark Kinsella (15-Matt Holland, 46), 11-Kevin Kilbane (20-Steven Reid, 46); 9-Damien Duff (13-David Connolly, 46), 10-Robbie Keane (19-Clinton Morrison, 83)
Subs Not Used: 16-Dean Kiely, 22-Nick Colgan

Nominees Set for 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

CHICAGO (Nov. 16, 2014) – Six nominees have been selected for 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. The field features members of the USA’s 2014 FIFA World Cup squad: goalkeeper Tim Howard, midfielders Kyle Beckerman, Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones and forward Clint Dempsey. The Athlete of the Year nominees were announced on ESPN FC earlier today.

The winner will be named at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 20, live on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

A new voting process is in place starting this year. Votes will be collected from National Team and Youth National Team coaches and staff, MNT players who have earned a cap in 2014, Major League Soccer and North American Soccer League head coaches, select media members, former players and administrators.

The 2014 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year nominees and voting process will take place in early December. The Young Male and Young Female Athlete of the Year nominees will also be announced at a later date.

Dempsey is a three-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year winner, earning the honor in 2007, 2011 and 2012. Howard was named Athlete of the Year in 2008.

The U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year has been awarded since 1984, when midfielder Rick Davis earned the first Athlete of the Year honor.

MNT Drops 2-1 Decision to No. 3 FIFA-Ranked Colombia

LONDON (Nov. 14, 2014) – U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore scored an early goal, but No. 3 FIFA-ranked Colombia scored two unanswered goals in the second half en route to a 2-1 victory in front of 24,235 spectators, a record attendance for an international match at Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham. Carlos Bacca scored the game-tying goal in the 60th minute and Teofilo Gutierrez the game-winner in the 87th minute. 

Altidore’s 10th-minute tally from the penalty spot was the 25th of his international career and team-leading fourth of 2014. 

The USA is now 16-35-9 all-time against top-10 FIFA-ranked opponents and 3-10-4 all-time against Colombia. 

The U.S. MNT wraps up its 2014 schedule against the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and Univision. 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Jozy Altidore (penalty), 10th minute: The USA drew a penalty kick when Jermaine Jones headed the ball into the right side of the box toward Rubio Rubin. Rubin was fighting off Pablo Armero for the 50-50, when Armero’s left arm made contact with the ball. That led to Altidore’s penalty kick and the USA striker hesitated on his approach against Colombia goalkeeper Camilo Vargas, who dove to his left as Altidore’s shot was driven just behind him toward the middle of the frame. The tally was the U.S. MNT’s first in a London-based game; the team had been outscored 13-0 in three previous London matches. USA 1, COL 0 (SEE GOAL) 

COL – Carlos Bacca (James Rodriguez), 60th minute: Rodriguez played a through ball in the direction of Teofilo Gutierrez, who was in an offside position. Gutierrez refrained from touching the ball, and referee Szymon Marciniak decided that he did not impact the play and let play continue while the USA back line screamed for a whistle. Meanwhile, Bacca made a dash to the ball, took a touch to his right, and from the corner of the six-yard box slotted the ball into the net for the equalizer. USA 1, COL 1 (SEE GOAL) 

COL – Teofilo Gutierrez (Edwin Cardona), 87th minute: From the right side of the box, Cardona lofted the ball to the left side over second-half sub Julian Green and connected with Gutierrez, who headed the ball top shelf in the center of the goal past diving USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan. USA 1, COL 2 (SEE GOAL) (FINAL) 

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Brad Guzan, 27th minute: Following a corner kick from the left side, Colombia’s Jeison Murillo lofted his header toward the upper left corner of the frame. Guzan instinctively reached up to bat the ball over the crossbar. 

USA – Jermaine Jones, 41st minute: James Rodriguez built up the attack with a creative back heel toward Carlos Bacca and the Colombia forward shot from the right side. Jones tracked back in time to deflect the ball out of bounds to keep Colombia off the score sheet. 

COL – Camilo Vargas, 59th minute: Colombia’s goalkeeper was challenged nearly 15 minutes into the second half when Jermaine Jones headed the ball off of a corner kick. Jones tried for the inside right of the frame, but Vargas cut down the angle to make the save. 

USA – Brad Guzan, 64th, 65th and 68th minutes: Colombia dictated the play for much of the second half and created three great scoring chances in a four-minute span. Carlos Sanchez’s right-footed shot deflected off of DeAndre Yedlin, and Guzan dove to his left for the save. Guzan then stopped a rolling shot from Teofilo Gutierrez and also turned away a Pablo Armero attempt from outside the box. 

Milestone Watch:

  • Jozy Altidore moved into sole possession of fifth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list with his 25th-career goal. Altidore moved past Joe-Max Moore (24 goals in 100 games from 1992-2002).
  • DaMarcus Beasley entered Friday’s match in the second half to earn his 121st cap, which ranks fifth on the U.S. MNT’s all-time list. 

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT travels to Dublin to face the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Aviva Stadium. The USA’s final match of 2014 kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Broadcast information: ESPN2, Univision
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram 

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is now 6-4-4 in 2014.
  • The U.S. is 0-4-0 all-time in games played in the London area.
  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup featured Brad Guzan in goal, making his fourth start of the year and 28th cap overall.
  • The starting back line included Greg Garza on the left, DeAndre Yedlin on the right and a center back pairing of John Brooks and Jermaine Jones. For Jones, it was his second straight match on defense after featuring primarily in the midfield throughout the year. Yedlin earned his 10th cap and second start of the year.
  • The USA’s starting midfield in a 4-1-3-2 formation included Kyle Beckerman in a holding role, Fabian Johnson and Alejandro Bedoya on the outside and Mix Diskerud in the middle. Bedoya now leads the U.S. MNT with 11 caps in 2014.
  • The starting front line featured team captain Jozy Altidore and the MNT debut for Rubio Rubin, the 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year.
  • To open the second half, Johnson dropped into the defense and Yedlin pushed up to midfield.
  • In the 67th minute, Klinsmann made a pair of subs with Bobby Wood replacing Rubin and Alfredo Morales entering for Bedoya.
  • DaMarcus Beasley replaced Garza in the 70th minute.
  • USA midfielder Lee Nguyen made his first appearance since 2007 and his fourth cap overall when he replaced Diskerud in the 78th minute.
  • Julian Green was brought into the match for Yedlin in the 86th minute.
  • Rubin had a couple of dangerous scoring chances in each half during his MNT debut. Rubin’s closest came in the 47th minute when Bedoya set him up beautifully with a right-footed cross from the left side. Rubin got behind the Colombia defense, but his header went just wide right of the frame.
  • The USA dodged a couple scares from Colombia’s attack in the first half. In the 33rd minute, Colombia nearly capitalized on a USA giveaway in the midfield that lead to Carlos Bacca’s right-footed shot, which deflected off of the right post and went out of bounds for a U.S. goal kick. Then, just before halftime, Bacca’s shot from outside the box deflected off of Jones. Colombian players screamed for a hand ball, which replays showed deflected off of Jones’ left arm.
  • The USA is now 2-1-0 when Altidore wears the captain’s armband.
  • The U.S. is 33-14-11 all-time under Klinsmann.

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

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Colombia
Date: Nov. 14, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Craven Cottage; London, England
Kickoff: 2:45 p.m. ET (7:45 p.m. local)
Attendance: 24,235
Weather: 52 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                         1 0 1
COL                         0 2 2

USA – Jozy Altidore (penalty)                      10th minute
COL – Carlos Bacca (James Rodriguez)       60
COL – Teofilo Gutierrez (Edwin Cardona)   87

Lineups:
USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 2-DeAndre Yedlin (16-Julian Green, 86), 13-Jermaine Jones, 6-John Brooks, 3-Greg Garza (7-DaMarcus Beasley, 70); 15-Kyle Beckerman; 11-Alejandro Bedoya (4-Alfredo Morales, 67), 10-Mix Diskerud (8-Lee Nguyen, 78), 23-Fabian Johnson; 17-Jozy Altidore (capt.), 9-Rubio Rubin (19-Bobby Wood, 67)
Subs Not Used: 5-Matt Besler, 12-Nick Rimando, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 20-Geoff Cameron, 21-Timmy Chandler
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

COL: 12-Camilo Vargas; 3 -Pedro Franco, 4-Santiago Arias, 7-Pablo Armero, 23-Jeison Murillo; 6-Carlos Sanchez, 8-Abel Aguilar (27-Edwin Cardona, 74), 11-Juan Cuadrado (15-Juan Quintero, 89), 10-James Rodriguez (capt.); 17- Carlos Bacca (20-Adrian Ramos, 79), 19-Teofilo Gutierrez (21-Jackson Martinez, 89)
Subs Not Used: 1-Leandro Castellanos, 2-Cristian Zapata, 16-Eder Balanta, 22-Jose Cuadrado, 24-Daniel Bocanegra, 25-Alexander Mejia, 26-Carlos Carbonero, 28-Brayan Angulo, 14-Yimmi Chara 
Head Coach: José Pékerman

Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots: 7 / 16
Shots on Goal: 4 / 9
Saves: 7 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 8
Fouls: 12 / 13
Offside: 0 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
COL – Abel Aguilar (caution)    29th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution )  35

Officials:
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Darren England (ENG)
4th Official: Lee Probert (ENG)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Kyle Beckerman

No. 3 Colombia Roster Touts 16 Players from World Cup Squad

The U.S. Men's National Team faces a talented No. 3 Colombia side that has brought 16 players from its 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. The USA and Colombia square off on Friday at Craven Cottage in London (2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN and UniMas).

IN FOCUS: COLOMBIA
Federación Colombiana de Fútbol
Founded: 1924
FIFA affiliation: 1936
Head Coach: José Pékerman
FIFA World Ranking: 3
Best World Cup Finish: 2014 (quarterfinals)

COLOMBIA ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Andres Castellanos (Independiente Medellin), Jose Cuadrado (Once Caldas), Camilo Vargas (Santa Fe)
DEFENDERS (8): Brayan Angulo (Ludogorets), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Pablo Armero (Milan), Eder Balanta (River Plate), Daniel Bocanegra (Atletico Nacional), Pedro Franco (Besiktas), Jeison Murillo (Granada), Cristian Zapata (Milan)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Carlos Carbonero (Cesena), Edwin Cardona (Atletico Nacional), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional), Juan Quintero (Porto), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Carlos Sanchez (Aston Villa)
FORWARDS (5): Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Yimmi Chara (Deportes Tolima), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Adrian Ramos (Borussia Dortmund)

COLOMBIA ROSTER NOTES:

  • Colombia advanced to quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and brings a large part of that roster to London with 16 players from that squad.
  • The following were members of the 2014 World Cup team: goalkeeper Camilo Vargas; defenders Santiago Arias, Pablo Armero, Eder Balanta and Cristian Zapata; midfielders Abel Aguilar, Carlos Carbonero, Juan Cuadrado, Alexander Mejia, Juan Quintero, James Rodriguez and Carlos Sanchez; and forwards Carlos Bacca, Teofilo Gutierrez, Jackson Martinez and Adrian Ramos.
  • Colombia went 3-0-0 during the Group C stage of the tournament with a 3-0 victory against Greece, a 2-1 victory against Ivory Coast and a 4-1 decision over Japan. In the Round of 16, Colombia blanked Uruguay 2-0 but then bowed out of the tournament in the quarterfinals with a 2-1 loss to Brazil.
  • Real Madrid’s Rodriguez was an offensive force for Colombia throughout the World Cup with six goals, scoring in all five games and winning the tournament’s Golden Boot. He is the first Colombian player to earn that award.
  • Rodriguez had one goal in each of Colombia’s group-stage wins. He then scored both goals during Colombia’s victory against Uruguay on June 28 and had the team’s lone penalty kick goal against Brazil on July 4.
  • Teofilo Gutierrez is the top goal scorer among this roster with 13 goals, followed by Rodriguez (12) and Jackson Martinez (9).
  • Brayan Angulo, Daniel Bocanegra and goalkeepers Leandro Castellanos and Jose Cuadrado have yet to earn a cap for Colombia’s national team.
Colombia national team

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