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Klinsmann Calls in 24 Players for Training Camp in Preparation for March 5 Match Against Ukraine in Cyprus

CHICAGO (Feb. 27, 2014) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 24 players to training camp in Frankfurt, Germany, to begin preparations for its match against Ukraine on March 5 in Larnaca, Cyprus.

The match was previously set to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine, but the location was changed due to current conditions in the country. Kickoff at Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca is set for 2 p.m. ET (9 p.m. local), and the match will be broadcast on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.

“In conjunction with the Football Federation of Ukraine, we have moved the match on March 5 to Larnaca, Cyprus,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We appreciate the efforts of Ukraine and the Cyprus Football Association as we worked through this situation.”

The last time the U.S. Men’s National Team played an international friendly on neutral ground was against Poland on March 1, 2006, in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where a goal from current U.S. captain Clint Dempsey sealed a 1-0 USA victory.

“Finding a solution and moving the game outside the country and playing in Cyprus is helpful for both of us,” said Klinsmann. “It’s definitely a very good ‘Plan B,’ and we very much appreciate it and say thank you to the Ukraine Federation and the Cyprus Federation.

The match falls on the only FIFA international fixture date before May, making this the one opportunity for European-based players to play for the National Team prior to the start of the World Cup preparation camp. The team will begin gathering in Frankfurt on Sunday, March 2, for two days of training before traveling to play for the first time in Cyprus.

“This game is a huge opportunity, mainly for our European-based players, for those guys to prove to us that they are eager and hungry to jump on the train to the FIFA World Cup,” said Klinsmann. “With this game being the only chance for these players before our World Cup preparation camp begins, it’s even more important they have a good showing.”

A total of 21 players on the roster ply their trade in Europe. Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley, Seattle Sounders FC forward Dempsey and Club Tijuana defender Edgar Castillo are the only representatives on the squad from North American teams. In addition, 18-year-old Bayern Munich forward Julian Green will participate in training camp, but is not yet eligible to play in a match for the United States.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION – DETAILED ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Oguchi Onyewu (Sheffield Wednesday), Will Packwood (Birmingham City), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Barnsley), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (Utrecht), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar)

ROSTER NOTES

  • Clint Dempsey finished with six goals in 2013, which equals a career high that he set last year. He is concluding a two-month loan spell with Fulham and will return to Seattle following the match against Ukraine.
  • Tim Howard has earned 96 caps and is four shy of becoming the third goalkeeper in U.S. history to reach 100 appearances. He also has 34 career shutouts for the United States, holding second place all-time ahead of National Soccer Hall of Famer Tony Meola.
  • Jozy Altidore had eight goals in 2013 and has 21 all-time, including four in World Cup Qualifiers. He set a team record by scoring in five consecutive games, and with his three-goal performance against Bosnia became the third player to score two career hat tricks for the U.S. National Team, joining Landon Donovan and Peter Millar. Altidore’s Sunderland side faces Manchester City in the League Cup final on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
  • AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson has posted 22 goals in all competitions this season, including nine in league play. Johannsson scored the game-winning goal against Panama in the USA’s last World Cup Qualifier in the 2014 cycle, a 3-2 win on Oct. 15, 2013, in Panama City. Born in Mobile, Ala., he completed his change of association from Iceland in time to enter as a substitute in the 63rd minute of the USA’s 4-3 win against Bosnia.
  • Terrence Boyd has 13 goals in all competitions for Rapid Vienna in this campaign, including eight in the Austrian Bundesliga and five in the Europa League.
  • Mix Diskerud is the only player on the roster to participate in the USA’s opening match of 2014, a 2-0 win against Korea Republic. He has appeared in 14 of the USA’s last 15 matches dating back to July 5, 2013, against Guatemala. Remarkably, the United States holds a record of 13-1-3 all-time in games in which Diskerud has appeared.
  • Geoff Cameron has snatched the regular role as right back at Stoke City, starting in 26 of 27 games in the Premier League this season. Having played as a central and wide defender as well in central midfield for the USA, he started in a total of six matches in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
  • Brad Guzan backstopped three huge results in qualifying in 2013, collecting back-to-back clean sheets against Costa Rica in the Snow Clasico and the historic 0-0 draw against Mexico four days later, and then helping the U.S. to a 3-2 win against Panama in the final game of the Hexagonal. He has posted five shutouts in eight career World Cup qualifiers.
  • Jermaine Jones joins the squad for the first time since moving to Besiktas on loan in January, although a groin issue has prevented him from seeing action so far in Istanbul.
  • Midfielder Fabian Johnson has secured a move next season from Hoffenheim to Borussia Moenchengladbach – the former club of Michael Bradley.
  • Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks gets his third look with the Senior Team. The 20-year-old dual citizen of the United States and Germany has made two previous appearances, having started in the win against Bosnia and the game in Austria.
  • Alejandro Bedoya, who transferred to Nantes in Ligue 1 in France last summer, got on the scoresheet for the first time in his international career when he tallied in the USA’s 6-0 win against Guatemala on July 5 in San Diego.
  • Brek Shea is back in the squad for the first time since helping the U.S. to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Shea scored the lone goal in the USA’s 1-0 win against Panama in the championship final.
  • Oguchi Onyewu returns to the U.S. fold for the first time since being a part of the squad that won the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup last July.
  • Tim Ream, a regular starter at Bolton, gets his first call up since the 4-3 win against Bosnia-Herzegovina in August.
  • It has been more than a year since Reading midfielder Danny Williams saw action for the U.S., having last earned minutes in the 2-1 loss to Honduras on Feb. 6, 2013, in San Pedro Sula. He has started the last 15 league games for Reading and has scored twice this month.
  • Will Packwood has the chance to earn his first cap for the Senior National Team. The 20-year-old defender plays alongside Jonathan Spector at Birmingham City. A leg injury prevented Packwood from participating in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Jurgen Klinsmann Q & A: 'The Countdown is on'

The U.S. Men’s National Team continues its preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with a match against Ukraine – FIFA’s highest-ranked team not to qualify for this summer’s tournament. U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in a squad of primarily European-based players for a final personal evaluation before the provisional roster is announced in May and the final preparation camp ensues shortly thereafter.

Klinsmann sat down with ussoccer.com to address what he and the coaching staff are looking for from the players during and after the match against Ukraine, the core and potential players that make up the current squad, what he expects from a talented Ukraine team and the excitement of feeling the World Cup just around the corner.

ussoccer.com: You haven’t had a chance to call in the European-based players since November. How are you viewing the opportunity this camp presents?

Jurgen Klinsmann: “Having this Ukraine game is a huge opportunity, mainly for our European-based players. You want to give them a chance to show where they are at and what’s going on in their specific situation. It’s great to call in players like Oguchi Onyewu, Will Packwood – his first time to come in – Tim Ream, who is playing consistently well at Bolton, Danny Williams, who has now kind of made his way through at Reading and playing week-in, week-out, and Juan Agudelo, who is now in Holland.

“It’s a huge opportunity for all those guys to prove to us that they are eager and hungry to jump on the train to the World Cup. We will get a good picture of them over those couple of days, and therefore, we left almost all the MLS players back in the United States.”

ussoccer.com: There will be two MLS-based players on the roster, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. What was the thought process behind bringing them?
JK: “This is a huge game. We play Ukraine, which barley missed out on going to Brazil. They had a playoff against France, one of the best teams in the world. So you want to have a very strong team against Ukraine, and as I often mention our team is defined in its spine. The core group of the team is Tim Howard and then Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones in midfield, Clint Dempsey in front of them and then Jozy Altidore up front. These five players build our spine.

“Having Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey in for Ukraine is very important to us. Clint has played these two months at Fulham and Michael is coming off preseason camp with Toronto, so for us it’s very important to see both back in the team and putting their stamp on the game.”

ussoccer.com: This is the only game in which you will get to see the European-based players before the provisional roster announcement in May. What messages will be delivering to these players?
JK: “It’s difficult for us coaches to prepare everything for this summer’s World Cup only having this game on March 5 before going into preparation camp. It’s very little time to work with the players. Therefore, for the European-based players, in these three or four days we are together and the game against Ukraine, t’s even more important they have a good showing.”

“The coaching staff is doing a lot of scouting at their club teams. Whether it’s going to visit guys in the Premiership and Championship in England, the Bundesliga, going to France to see Alejandro Bedoya … these opportunities are very crucial to us.

ussoccer.com: You have invited eighteen-year-old Julian Green, who plays at Bayern Munich, to train with the team for two days in Frankfurt. What are you hoping to accomplish with him in his first introduction to the Senior National Team?
JK: “We are thrilled Julian accepted our invitation and comes into these two days in Frankfurt. We want to show him how things work with the United States team and with our environment. We want him to meet the players, to meet the staff, obviously to meet us coaches, and we want him to feel comfortable in our environment. With a lot of players who come through the ranks with dual citizenship, it’s going to be very difficult for those kids to choose which country they want to play for if they have this enormous talent to play at the highest level possible.

“Julian has this talent. Julian is an exceptional talent not only because he’s playing for Bayern Munich, but he’s shown that already over the past two years in the senior team environment there against the “older guys.” We are happy to welcome him for those two days. It’s a big step for him as we try to emotionally connect him to our program, because it’s not only a World Cup coming up this summer. Next year there’s a Gold Cup, then you have an Olympics, then you have Confederations Cup hopefully and soon comes the next World Cup around the corner in Russia. At the same time we have our eyes on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we also have our eyes on developing the next generation of players, and Julian is a very important part of that.”

ussoccer.com: Ukraine narrowly missed out on going to this summer’s World Cup after losing a UEFA playoff to France. What do you expect from FIFA’s highest-ranked team not to make it to the World Cup?
JK: “I expect a very difficult game. If you look at their team, it’s a very high-quality team that they have. Obviously, they are highly disappointed in not going to Brazil, so when they get the opportunity to play against teams that are going to Brazil they want to beat them, so they want to beat us badly. We need to be prepared for that, and to prove again away from home that we can play with the good teams of the world. It’s going to be a great benchmark for us and a difficult game, but those are the environments that we need to go to in order to mature and improve.”

ussoccer.com: This is a chance for players to make their case for a spot on the World Cup roster. What answers can you get from this game as the World Cup approaches?
JK: “We want to see them preform on the field, but also over four days, we have time to sit down with them for a cup of coffee and discuss their individual situations. We just want the players to understand that every week really counts, every week matters. We want them to pick it up with their club teams. Some players like John Brooks – he sits on the bench right now. Because of injuries he lost his starting spot, and has to fight his way back into the team.

“So, the message to all the players is get a starting spot with your club team, to play week-in, week-out. Add to your schedule, on top of your club’s training, maybe one or two sessions a week on your own in order to get yourself a jump start when we go into World Cup preparation camp because it’s going to be very demanding. The message also is that we are on top of them in terms of scouting them, watching them, knowing exactly what’s going on. We talk to their club coaches. It’s a lot of monitoring work that goes on now over the next two-and-a-half months until we start preparation camp for the World Cup.”

ussoccer.com: You haven’t seen a lot of these players since November and a lot of key guys will be at this camp. Does that make you feel like the World Cup is right around the corner?
JK: “It feels already a little bit like that. We had the January camp where we went down for two weeks to Sao Paulo to try out the infrastructure there. I went myself last week again. Now having the European-based players coming in for the Ukraine game, it gives you the feeling that the countdown is on. We really count every day now to our first game against Ghana in Natalon June 16. It’s a long stretch of four years between World Cups, and once we get close to the tournament, it gets more exciting every day.”

MNT Weekend TV Schedule: Race for the World Cup Roster

The countdown clock continues to tick as the May deadline for FIFA World Cup-bound nations to submit their preliminary 30-man tournament rosters draws ever closer. U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stating that, “The door remains open till the very last day,” for U.S. players in leagues all over the world, so the pressure to put in eye-catching performances increases with each match.

While, MLS-based players are gearing up for the domestic season, players abroad find themselves beginning their club campaigns in Mexico or cutting through the meat of seasons across Europe. With games taking place all over the globe from Friday night to Monday afternoon, Klinsmann and his staff will fan out across Europe to take in a couple games in person.

On Saturday, some of the coaches will pay a visit to Nurnberg to watch defender Timmy Chandler lace up his boots for a go-round with visiting Bayern Munich. GolTV will air the match live at 9:30 a.m. ET in the United States.

A second group will set up shop at St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, England, to check out Geoff Cameron and visiting Stoke City battle the Saints. The match will be available live on NBC Sports Live Extra at 10 a.m. ET.

Fans who wish to do some scouting of their own can check out the following list of games that will be broadcast in the United States this weekend, featuring up to 13 U.S. MNT players who will be looking to impress as the competition for a World Cup roster spot continues to heat up:

U.S. Men’s National Team on TV (all times ET) :

FRIDAY
ESPN Deportes
TIJUANA-MONTERREY (live) 10:30 p.m. (Liga MX)
Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, Herculez Gomez

SATURDAY
GolTV
NÜRNBERG-BAYERN MUNICH (live) 9:30 a.m. (Bundesliga)
Timmy Chandler

NBC Sports Live Extra
SOUTHAMPTON-STOKE CITY (live) 10 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
Geoff Cameron

ASTON VILLA-WEST HAM (live) 10 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
Brad Guzan

SUNDERLAND-HULL CITY (live) 10 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
Jozy Altidore

SUNDAY
USA Network
TOTTENHAM-EVERTON (live) 8:30 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
Tim Howard

USA NETWORK, mun2
MANCHESTER UNITED-FULHAM (live) 11 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
Clint Dempsey

ESPN Deportes
PUEBLA-CHIVAS (live) 1 p.m. (Liga MX)
DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco

GolTV
SCHALKE-HANNOVER (live) 11:30 p.m. (Bundesliga)
Steve Cherundolo

MONDAY
beIN SPORTS

NANTES-LYON (delay) 12:30 p.m. (League1)
Alejandro Bedoya

Heed the Word: U.S. Men’s National Team Players Produce Game Changing Performances

In an interview with ussoccer.com last week, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann expressed his delight at seeing both Alejandro Bedoya and Aron Johannsson translating their international form into production for their respective clubs. The German manager went on to reiterate that he and his coaching staff continue to look for players who are not just playing with their clubs, but making a positive impact on the pitch.

With that call to arms sounding out across the U.S. MNT player pool, a large group of National Team regulars delivered game changing performances over the weekend in both leagues abroad and MLS.

Perhaps the best example of an American player translating good international form into production at club level this past weekend is none other than Jozy Altidore. After being handed the captaincy for the U.S. MNT’s final World Cup qualifier against Panama a fortnight ago, Altidore returned to England and in last weekend’s Tyne-Wear Derby, provided the game-winning assist in the dying minutes that gave Sunderland (England) its first win of the season.

Altidore wasn’t the only American striker to make the difference at a crucial moment in a European derby either. Terrence Boyd’s 88th-minute game-winner handed Rapid Vienna a 1-0 win over Austria Vienna (Austria) in the Wiener Derby.

American midfielders Michael Bradley and Sacha Kljestan also scored important goals for their clubs during the weekend albeit in different dramatic time frames. Bradley, coming on as a second-half sub for AS Roma (Italy), helped the Giallorossi continue their perfect start to the season by slotting home the match-winning strike in the 82nd minute against Udinese.

While his compatriots were delivering late-game heroics, Kljestan provided fireworks right from the opening whistle, scoring only 41 seconds into RSC Anderlecht’s 1-1 draw with Standard Liege (Belgium).

At the opposite end of the pitch, two of America’s best goalkeepers also displayed game changing ability as Tim Howard’s Everton and Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa (England) sides faced one another at Villa Park. Although Everton kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win thanks in large part to Howard saving a penalty kick, Guzan also showed his shot-stopping ability by making a couple key saves to keep the Villans’ hopes alive late into the match.

Across the Atlantic, a second shutout performance came from Club Tijuana (Mexico) defender Edgar Castillo who helped Xolos keep Jose Torres and UANL Tigres off the board in a 0-0 draw in Tijuana.

In last week’s interview, Klinsmann once again expressed his desire to see MLS-based players make loan moves to European clubs over the MLS offseason.

It should therefore please him to see Graham Zusi continue his good international form with Sporting Kansas City. The midfielder scored the opening goal in SKC’s 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union that secured second spot in the Eastern Conference for the Kansas City club.

The boss will also be happy to see Clint Dempsey among the goals again. The former Fulham and Tottenham (England) attacker scored his first MLS goal since returning to the league in the Seattle Sounders’ 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy.

And to cap it all off, Brad Davis – the man whose cross supplied Zusi for the goal that turned the Hexagonal on its head – served up a game-winning assist that secured the Houston Dynamo a berth in the MLS Cup playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.

The Choice: Another Player’s Perspective on Choosing Which Country to Represent

With AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson having chosen to represent the country of his birth instead of Iceland, the topic of “the choice” has returned to the forefront amongst U.S. fans. Indeed, this current U.S. roster is populated with players who chose to represent the United States – Edgar Castillo, Mix Diskerud, Fabian Johnson, and Jermaine Jones.

But the United States is certainly not the only team that has been impacted by these decisions. Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was born in Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and later moved to Germany and then Canada. He represented Canada in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup and had actually been called into the senior team for both the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers, but never saw action.

At the age of 21, he decided to commit to the country of his birth. He admits it was a very difficult decision.

“It’s not an easy choice by any means. It was a difficult thing that I thought about a lot,” Bergovic said. “It was a family decision in the end as well. I was born in Bosnia, my whole family is Bosnian and I had a lot of family ties here which I didn’t have in Canada. The passion for football and the standard of football here has been important, and that’s something what I wanted to be a part of. In Canada, soccer doesn’t play as big a part as it does here. Getting the chance to play in quality, competitive games in front of my home people is why I made the decision in the end.” 

As with any player who has already represented one country, the topic of changing associations brings out a lot of debate on both sides. Bergovic felt the most important thing was to make the right choice for him and his family.

“When you make the decision, both sides are pulling you towards their side. That’s why you have to step away from everything and discuss it with your family and overlook the big picture.”

He can certainly empathize will players like Johannsson and others who face this circumstance, and his advice is simple.

“Do what you feel is right at the time. We went through all the facts: family, football, personal feelings. Know that you are going to upset some people, but hopefully as time goes by people realize you try to make the best decision for you and your family.”

The Stoke City ‘keeper is now the first choice for club and country, and hopefully will backstop Bosnia to its first ever appearance in the FIFA World Cup. Looking back, he feels fortunate to have followed this path.

“I knew that going forward that – coming to play for Bosnia – was going to be better for my future... The exposure to international football and playing against top players all the time has made me a better player. I’m lucky it’s worked out.”


The Three Amigos

A Liga MX championship. A quarterfinal finish in Copa Libertadores. A spot in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League. This would be a fantastic feat for the most storied clubs in Mexico, and even more remarkable for the fledgling club just south of the border called Club Tijuana, or more commonly Xolos. It’s that achievement that brought Herculez Gomez to the club he now calls home.

It was a novelty idea with Tijuana when they got to the First Division. But then they just starting get after it in every sense,” said Gomez. “In two years, they’ve won a Liga MX title, made a deep run into the Copa Libertadores, and now they are in the CONCACAF Champions League. Their brief history at this level has been nothing short of remarkable. I have friends in this area and they tell me Xolos is absolutely running this region. They put their stamp on this area and to see what they’ve become is something special and even more so now that I am part of it.”

Gomez now makes one part of “The Three Amigos”, along with fellow U.S. internationals Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona. They are a part of a growing number of Mexican-Americans having an influence on this unique club, highlighting the special place Xolos holds for fans on both sides of the border.

“People love soccer in Tijuana very much, and they have a lot of pride in Xolos,” said Castillo. “In less than a year we won a Liga MX championship and we did good in the Copa Libertadores, so now our club has a good name in Mexico and it feels like we’re a big team.”

For Corona, who scored in the promotion playoff finals two years ago and played in the championship games against Toluca a year later, having the U.S. National Team players on the squad sends an important message.

“It’s cool that we have three players from the U.S. National Team now on one team. A lot of kids in the younger teams in the club can look up to us,” said Corona.  “Herc would ask me how it was in Tijuana and asked if he would fit into it. He already lived in San Diego when he was younger, and now having him over also gives Tijuana an identity. Now Mexican-Americans know this is a good place to get an opportunity.”

As Gomez sees it, Castillo and Corona are great role models for the Mexican-American kids to follow.

“When you talk about Edgar and Joe, they embody everything you’d want in a pro,” said Gomez. “They’re two very young and promising players and I love what they stand for. As a Chicano growing up, I didn’t have many players to look up to but know with players like Joe and Edgar there are players kids can look up to.”

The first of the trio to arrive at Club Tijuana, Corona still lives in San Diego and crosses the border for training and games. It made the transition for Castillo that much easier when he joined the team.

“I get along with Joe really well,” Castillo said.  “He’s my roommate at Xolos and I go to his house every week.  His mom makes great pupusas, and it’s always good to have a home-cooked meal.”

The bond between the two has been strong, and Corona believes the addition of Gomez to the squad will help their performance for both club and country.

“Edgar and Herculez are great players,” Corona said. “It’s been a great experience playing side-by-side with Edgar, and we know each other really well on and off the field. I am just looking forward to next season, and having Herc with us will allow us to get to know each other better so when we’re called into the National Team we already have that familiarity, chemistry and commitment.”

That chemistry and commitment was another huge factor in the decision for Gomez to make his way to the border.

“In Mexico, soccer is a business and many of the locker rooms down there are not tight knit or feel like a family,” Gomez said.  “The one thing Edgar and Joe told me was how awesome the locker room was and that was very important to me. I have only been there about a week but you can already tell how they get along, they’re friends and genuinely like one another. Everything has come together for them and it’s been awesome. To be honest, they were influential in me coming to Xolos.

Clearly it’s going to be a special for the trio Friday night when they get to represent the United States in front of both sets of their hometown fans.  Gomez began his career in San Diego, and he proud to see what his teammates have accomplished.

“If you look at Joe, he’s local boy doing good. He’s a hometown hero and he’s wearing it very well,” said Gomez. “To see what him and Edgar are doing in Liga MX and now breaking into the National Team, they are about to explode onto the scene, and for the people in this region it’s very exciting to see them up close and personal.”

Fleet of foot and quick with the ball at his feet, the diminutive Edgar Castillo has the ability to disrupt defenses. After appearances with both the Mexican National Team in friendlies and the U-23 team in Olympic qualifying, Castillo applied to change associations and was declared eligible to play for the United States, the country of his birth. Deployed as both a left-sided defender and a midfielder for his clubs, he has spent his entire professional career in the Primera División in Mexico and is now a two-time league champion.

  • Started at left back in teh USA's historic 1-0 victory against Mexico at Estadio Azteca
  • Made his debut for the U.S. National Team when he came on as a second-half substitute for the last 30 minutes of the 3-1 loss to Denmark on Nov. 18, 2009, in Aarhus
  • He is one of two players to appear for both the USA and Mexico, the other being Martín Vázquez
  • Before playing for the USA, he made four appearances for Mexico and three appearances for their U-23 team, which failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics
  • Earned his second league title when Tijuana collected the 2012 Liga MX Torneo Apertura championship 
2012: Made four appearances, including two starts ... After entering as a sub against Scotland and Brazil, he joined the first XI for the 0-0 draw against Canada on June 3 in Toronto ... Went the distance in the 1-0 victory on Aug. 15 in Mexico City, the USA's first win against El Tri on its home soil ... 2011: Earned his second and third caps … Started and played the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 tie against Mexico on Aug. 10 and the 1-0 loss against Costa Rica on Sept. 2 … 2009: Received his first call-up after changing associations when he was invited to the USA’s final game of 2009 … Played the final 30 minutes in the 3-1 loss to Denmark … First Appearance: Nov. 18, 2009, vs. Denmark … First goal: None.

Mexico National Team – 2008:
Played in Mexico’s final match of the year, entering as a substitute in the 2-1 friendly win against Ecuador on Nov. 12 in Phoenix … 2007: Made his debut for the full team on Aug. 22, a 1-0 loss to Colombia in Commerce City, Colo. … Came in as a sub in the 3-2 defeat to Guatemala on Oct. 17 in the Los Angeles Coliseum … Under-23s: Played in all three matches in Olympic qualifying as Mexico failed to earn a berth to Beijing.
2012: A regular first choice for Xolos, he started 14 matches in the Torneo Apetura regular season and all six matches in their run in the Liguilla to the championship ... 2011: Joined Club Tijuana on loan in November … Back with Club America, played only seven games in the Apertura, starting five of those, because of injuries … 2010: Played 11 games for San Luis in the Apertura, including two starts … Scored one goal and added one assist … Started 10 of his 11 appearances for Tigres in the Clausura … 2009: Started 15 games for Tigres in the Torneo Apertura, scoring two goals, including a rocket in the 4-0 win on Nov. 7 against Atlante … Spent the first six months with Club America, where he made 13 appearances … 2008: Made 36 appearances for Santos during the Clausura and Apertura seasons, with 33 coming as a starter … 2006: Began his professional career at Santos Laguna in a scoreless draw against Morelia on April 2, 2006.
Born in Las Cruces, N.M. … Joined Santos Laguna after an open tryout at the age of 18.
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