If there is one venue the U.S. Men’s National Team could call home outside United States, it would undoubtedly be Fulham’s Craven Cottage. Plenty of current and former players can find the stadium on the river Thames without a GPS.
The list of U.S. internationals that pulled on the Fulham jersey is long and distinguished, including goalkeepers, goal scorers, FIFA World Cup veterans and aspiring leaders.
Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann (1999-2002) was the first to don the Cottager’s kit in the modern era and former U.S. MNT midfielder and defender Eddie Lewis arrived a year later (2000-2002). Despite not playing a game the whole season, his coach Jean Tigana insisted on keeping Lewis until season’s end, making him the last to arrive at the USA’s pre-World Cup training camp in 2002. Lewis went on to deliver one of the most famous crosses in U.S. history.
Later in the decade, three-time World Cup veteran Kasey Keller spent a season at Craven Cottage (2007), while striker Eddie Johnson had a three-year spell there (2008-11) spent mostly on loan.
The most accomplished and celebrated U.S. players at Craven Cottage are strikers Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey. McBride (2004-08) scored 33 goals during his tenure and became such a fan favorite that the stadium pub now bears his name. He was a two-time Fulham Player of the Year, and was named captain for the 2007-08 season. Most recently, McBride was named to a special committee to help select the club’s next manager.
“I think it’s the perfect fit. The Fulham supporters are incredibly loyal and have a great appreciation for what the American players bring to the table,” McBride said of Craven Cottage. “For the U.S. players and fans who will be there for the first time, they will experience a very special place. There is a heart and soul to Craven Cottage that goes beyond just a stadium; it’s like playing in front of your family.”
Not to be outdone, Dempsey picked up McBride’s scoring reins at Fulham. In addition to famous goals – the game-winner against Liverpool that saved Fulham from relegation in 2007 and the wonder strike against Juventus in the Europa League Round of 16, among others – the Texan set the team record for the most career tallies in the Premier League (50) by an American, surpassing his 2006 World Cup teammate, McBride.
Former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra also made a big impression with the Fulham faithful (2004-08), becoming one of the few MNT players in history playing outside the United States to wear the captain’s armband for both club and country. He was the second leading scorer in the 2006-07 campaign with five goals – behind McBride – and finished his career there with eight total in 116 appearances.
“I’m thrilled that the U.S. Men’s National Team will play at a stadium that has meant so much to the American players who got their chance at Fulham,” Bocanegra said. “The fans there were incredibly supportive of us, and we have so many great memories there. Craven Cottage has one of the most intimate atmospheres I’ve ever played in. Sitting in the Cottage is like having a rooftop seat it Wrigley Field – it’s an experience every fan should have in their lifetime.”
The American line of succession at Fulham has now been passed to 18-year-old Emerson Hyndman, who played extensively in Fulham’s Youth Academy and scored a goal in the U-18 FA Cup Final. Now earning regular minutes for the first time, Hyndman debuted for the senior MNT in the 1-0 win against the Czech Republic in Prague this past September.
MAFRA, Portugal (June 8, 2014) – The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team allowed two goals in the final 20 minutes against Portugal in dropping its second match of the 20th Lisbon International Tournament.
The U.S. (0-1-1; 1pt) will play its third and final tournament match this Tuesday against Sweden (1-0-1; 4pts), which tied Norway (0-0-2; 2pts) in the day’s other game 0-0.
Through the first 45 minutes, neither team could take advantage of the chances they created in a tight overall match. U.S. head coach for the tournament Eddie Lewis made two changes at the half, but it was Portugal slew of subs in the 63rd minute that changed the game as Hildeberto twice created both goals for fellow sub Goncalo Guedes.
The game-winner came in the 71st minute when Hilderberto’s initial shot was saved by U.S. goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, but the rebound fell right to Guedes, who tapped home from close range. Hildeberto then fed Guedes for an insurance goal in second-half stoppage time, cutting the ball back from the end line for Guedes to slot into the back of the net.
A four-goal win for the U-18 MNT against Sweden on Tuesday coupled with a 0-0 tie between Portugal and Norway would capture the tournament title for the U.S.
- U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. U-18 MNT vs. Portugal U-18
Date: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Competition: 20th Lisbon Tournament
Venue: Eng. Ministro Santos Sports Complex; Mafra, Portugal
Kickoff: 6 p.m. (1 p.m. ET)
Weather: 68 degrees; Sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
POR 0 2 2
POR Goncalo Guedes 71st minute
POR Goncalo Guedes (Hildeberto) 90+1
USA: 12-JT Marcinkowski; 3-Malcolm Jones (10-Sebastian Elney, 77), 5-Tommy Redding (capt.)(15-Quentin Pearson, 45), 6-Mauricio Pineda, 8-Chase Gasper; 7-Ben Swanson, 14-Cameron Lindley (17-Maduabuchi Obinwa, 77), 20-Sebastian Saucedo, 4-Demakwi Yomba (13-Brooks Lennon, 59), 9-Coy Craft (2-Mukwelle Akale, 45) (11-Collin Fernandez, 63), 16-Rubio Rubin
Subs not used: 1-Jonathan Klinsmann
Head Coach: Eddie Lewis
POR: 12-Stojkovic; 3-Bruno Wilson, 13-Diogo Verdasca, 5-Joao Serrano, 2-Jorge Silva; 19-Joao Lima (6-Gilson Costa, 77), 14-Filipe Ferreira, 18-Clever Franca (8-Goncalo Guedes, 63); 17-Sergio Ribeiro (capt.)(20-Hildeberto, 63), 11-Macedo (7-Romario, 45), 9-Postiga (10-Gil Dias, 63)
Subs not used: 1-Joel Pereira; 4-Ricardo Carvalho; 15-Jose Gomes; 16-Andre Horta
Head Coach: Edgar Borges
Stats Summary: USA / POR
Shots: 8 / 14
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 7
Fouls: 14 / 13
Offside: 5 / 2
USA – Sebastian Saucedo Caution 67th minute
USA – Chase Gasper Caution 79
POR – Hildeberto Caution 84
Referee – Patrick Ariksson
1st Assistant Referee – Pedro Garcia
2nd Assistant Referee – Pedro Felisberto
4th Official – Martin Lundby
LISBON, Portugal (June 3, 2014) – The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team earned a 1-1 draw with Primeira Liga powerhouse Benfica’s U-19 team on the strength of a Collin Fernandez strike midway through the second half of the USA’s lone warm-up match ahead of the upcoming Lisbon International Tournament.
Benfica striker Oliveira tucked home the game’s opening goal just before the stroke of halftime, prompting Eddie Lewis, the USA’s head coach for the trip, to make five substitutions at the break, including bringing on Ben Swanson, who supplied the final ball on Fernandez’s equalizer.
A long-time member of the U.S. Youth National Team Program, Swanson measured a long through-ball beyond the Benfica backline for Fernandez, who’s shot from the top of the penalty area found the back of the net to give the U.S. a positive result ahead of its first game at the Lisbon International Tournament.
The U.S. U-18s open tournament play on Friday when they face Norway’s U-18s in the first of three matches at the competition. The U.S. will also play Portugal on Sunday and Sweden next Tuesday.
- U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-18 MNT vs. Benfica U-19
Date: Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Benfica – Caixa Futeball Campus; Lisbon, Portugal
Kickoff: 4:30pm (11:30am ET)
Weather: 71 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
BEN 1 0 1
BEN-Kevin Oliveira 43rd minute
USA-Collin Fernandez 65
USA: 12-JT Marcinkowski (1-Jonathan Klinsmann, 66); 3-Malcolm Jones, 6-Mauricio Pineda, 15-Quentin Pearson (5-Tommy Redding, 45), 8-Chase Gasper; Maduabuchi Obinwa (7-Ben Swanson, 45), 13-Brooks Lennon (9-Coy Craft, 45), 14-Cameron Lindley (11-Collin Fernandez, 45), 2-Mukwelle Akale; 4-Dembakwi Yomba (20-Sebastian Saucedo, 45), 16-Rubio Rubin (capt.) (10-Sebastian Elney, 66)
Subs not used: N/A
Head Coach: Eddie Lewis
BEN: 12-Andre Ferreira (2-Romario, 45 (1-Thieri, 76)); 2-Rafael Ramos (17-Fonseca, 63), 13-Ronk (6-Loao Gamboa, 63), 17-Kike (2-Ever Peralta, 63), 4-Alexandrea Faiate (3-Roniualdo, 45); 5-Valdomiro (16-Joao Gamboa, 45), 7-Jusuc, 8-Filipe Naseimento (capt.) (11-Robert, 54), 9-Kevin Oliveira (10-Pedro Alves, 45 (17-Fonseca, 76)); 11-Gonealo Maria (8-Diogo David, 54), 1-Rafael Perreira (15-Bongo Nathanael, 60)
Subs not used: N/A
Head Coach: Joao Tralhao
Stats Summary: USA / BEN
Shots: 11 / 8
Shots on Goal: 6 / 3
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 18 / 11
Offside: 9 / 3
USA – Mauricio Pineda Caution 29th minute
BEN – Joao Gamboa Caution 91
Former U.S. Soccer MNT Player Eddie Lewis Transitions from Player to Coach: “I think players assume becoming a coach is easy … it’s anything but that.”
You had a long and successful professional playing career in the MLS, overseas, and for the U.S. MNT. What are a few of your most memorable moments
Eddie Lewis: “As a player, I think the moments that always stand out are historic moments, moments that impacted your career. I was fortunate enough to play in the first ever MLS game, which was a major milestone in U.S. Soccer history in terms of finally establishing itself as a soccer nation. Certainly the first games I played abroad were very special, my time with the National Team, the World Cup in Korea. Being a part of such a special group that not only was a wonderful team, but also made history in U.S. standards was something I’ll never forget.”
Is there any particular moment that is the proudest of your career?
EL: “I’d say my proudest accomplishment as a player without question was representing my country in the World Cup. There are a lot of feats you want to achieve as a professional player but playing in the World Cup is about more than just soccer. It is about representing your country, it’s about being surrounded by the best players in the world. It’s the apex of any soccer player’s career. I will never underappreciate that accomplishment.”
What motivated you to first get involved in coaching?
EL: “I think for any former player coaching is a natural extension to stay connected to the game. It is a big undertaking. I think often players assume that becoming a coach is an easy transition. Although the experience helps, it’s anything but that. I have been quietly addressing some of the requirements that are involved in being a good coach. If I decide to fully take that route, I want to commit to it in that way.”
Are there any coaches that you looked up to as a player throughout your career?
EL: “I’ve been fortunate to play for some very good coaches and under some wonderful managers. You take bits and pieces from different managers and coaches and try to apply those things as you move into that position. One particular coach that stands out was a first team coach when I was at Fulham. His name is Christian Damiano. He changed my whole mindset about how the game should be played from my position specifically, and what the requirements were. That was a pivotal moment in my career.”
How do you think your background as a professional player can help as a coach?
EL: “As a former professional player, it certainly lends a great deal of credibility to the next step in coaching, but it stops very quickly after that. The benefit of being a player is that it allows you to see things within the game, but the requirements of a coach are very different. The fact that you played at a high level doesn’t really mean a whole lot in terms of how you do as a manager or coach. I’m certainly cognizant of that and beginning to understand the requirements to be a good coach. It’s not easy.”
During your professional years, you spent nine years overseas in England. How will that experience affect your style as a coach today?
EL: “As a player, I was fortunate to play abroad for a number of years. I played under European managers that had a different style than American managers. The players I played with and the culture that surrounds the game there offered benefits. My time abroad will certainly be of great value as a coach, but it is one small part of a very big puzzle as a manager.”
You earned your U.S. Soccer “B” license after you retired in 2010. Do you feel that coaching education is important even for those that have played at
the professional level?
EL: “I am very strongly in favor of Coaching Education for anyone interested in coaching, and certainly former players are no different. In the U.S., we must continue to strengthen the coaching requirements in terms of the academic and professional licenses that are required to hold high-level positions within the game. These requirements exist in many other countries, and as the sport becomes more competitive in the U.S., I think they will become crucial.”
: In September you spent time in camp with Javier Perez and the U-18 Men’s National Team.
Tell us about how that opportunity came about.
EL: “Javier Perez reached out to me and presented the opportunity to spend the week with the current U-18 team. Although I wasn’t in an active coaching role at the time, he knows me well enough to know that I’m interested in the future of our country from a soccer standpoint and that I’m actively involved through my business. I was very intrigued by the opportunity and excited to be there. I think very highly of Javier as well as Carson Porter and Brian Johnson. The time spent not only on the field, but off the field as well, has been a valuable experience.”
Given that you have been in their shoes, what advice did you try to give players at the U-18 age group?
EL: “Part of the role in camp was to provide some experience to some of the younger players. They are extremely talented. I reminded them many times that they are technically much further ahead than my generation was. At the same time, they are young men and they are on the verge of entering a professional environment. Certainly, I think I can lend some experience and help in that department while still having a good time along the way.”
Describe how soccer has evolved since you were their age.
EL: “The game has evolved enormously since I was a child. When I was a young player it was a very fragmented system in terms of how U.S. Soccer tried to identify players and develop them properly to be successful not only in our nation, but to compete internationally. We still have a ways to go, but this week has been wonderful evidence of how far things have come in terms of preparation and professionalism, not just from the coaching staff, but also from the players in their mentality. They are already very professional at a young age. It has been a very positive experience.”
What are your goals as a coach and where would you like to go after working with the U-18 Men’s National Team?
EL: “Truthfully, I do not have any specific goals as a coach at this point. This week has been a good opportunity for me to get a taste of the coaching experience. In some ways, I think it is an inevitable path because I have an incredible love for the game. Coaching is a great way to stay connected to the new generations as they are moving into the game and moving forward. There is something to be said about being able to put on a pair of soccer shoes and get out and move the ball around and watch the players and enjoy some of that soccer culture that was a part of my life for so long but is not at the forefront anymore.”