- U.S. Opens Four-Team Tournament on May 26 in Manchester, England
CHICAGO (May 17, 2010) – The U.S. Paralympic Soccer National Team will depart on May 21 for the BT Paralympic World Cup, a four-team international tournament in Manchester, England. Head coach Jay Hoffman has selected 12 players to his roster.
The U.S. kicks off tournament play against England on Wednesday, May 26, followed by a match against Ireland on Thursday, May 27, with the final game of pool play against Netherlands on Friday, May 28. The grueling schedule concludes with the bronze and silver/gold medal matches on Saturday, May 29, marking four international matches in four days for the Americans.
"This trip is a great opportunity for our players to get some additional and needed international experience," said Hoffman. "Playing England, Ireland and the Netherlands are very good tests for us.These teams are our direct competitors in the CP-IRSA 2011 World Championship"
The CP-IRSA serves as a qualification tournament for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. This month's competition will also serve as preparation for the America's Championship being held in October.
The BT Paralympic World Cup was created to provide an annual world class multi-sport disability event for elite international athletes, bridging the gap between the quadrennial Paralympic Games. The tournament includes competitions for four sports: athletics, swimming, wheelchair basketball, and 7-a-side soccer and 2010 marks the sixth consecutive year that the competition is being held in Manchester.
"I'm looking forward to playing all three opponents," said midfielder Josh McKinney, who has earned 81 caps and netted 55 goals since joining the U.S. team in 1995. "The Dutch are always fun to play, but they've beaten us the last few times and I would like to see it the other way around."
Due to scheduling conflicts with their full-time employment, veteran players Chris Ahrens and Jason Slemons will not be making this trip.
"While we will be missing some experienced players it is always interesting to see the progress of some of our new players," said Hoffman. "For both Tyler Bennett and KaCee Hildreth this will be their first opportunity to earn a cap."
"It will be great for new players to gain experience, and to see the level of competition, so when it comes to the bigger tournaments they know what to expect," said McKinney. "All of these games are important for us since we get so few of them in a year. We need to play well and to take advantage of the team being together."
On May 2, Hoffman's team concluded a seven-day training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., with 16 players in attendance. The U.S. played three scrimmages on consecutive days during camp to prepare for the rigorous tournament schedule.
"For us to succeed in Manchester everyone must be ready to play the full 60 minute," said midfielder Nick Creasey. "To close the gap between the U.S. and the top three teams in the world, and ultimately surpass them, being fit is a necessity. If we show up fit and we are in the game mentally, we should have a great outcome."
U.S. Paralympic Soccer National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPER (1): Keith Johnson (Houston, Texas)
DEFENDERS (2): Bryce Boarman (Colorado Springs, Colo.), KaCee Hildreth (Iowa Falls, Iowa)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Adam Ballou (Virginia Beach, Va.), Tyler Bennett (Wadsworth, Ohio), Nick Creasey (Richmond, Va.), Tommy Latsch (Euclid, Ohio), Josh McKinney (Cary, N.C.), Moises Morales (Chula Vista, Calif.),
FORWARD (3): Charlie Howard (Washington, D.C.), Tyler Penn (Manchester, N.H.), Marthell Vazquez (Long Beach, Calif.)
Head Coach: Jay Hoffman (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Assistant Coach: Dave Dengerink (Virginia Beach, Va.)