A supremely athletic defender with towering aerial capabilities, Onyewu has been a mainstay in central defense for several years and fought his way back from injury to resume his already accomplished career. A torn patellar tendon in his knee suffered in the final match of World Cup qualifying in 2009 set him on a race to recovery that he completed in time to start two matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. At the club level, Onyewu made one of the biggest moves in U.S. Soccer history when he signed for AC Milan as a free agent in the summer of 2009, though the rehab process made it difficult to crack what was already a star-studded lineup. Onyewu continues to advance his impressive European career, having joined Sporting Lisbon after a loan spell at Eredivisie’s FC Twente at the beginning of 2011.
- A member of the U.S. team that reached the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final
- Gamely battled back from a torn patellar tendon in his left knee to start in the first two matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup against England and Slovenia
- Scored the second goal in the USA’s 2-2 draw on Oct. 9, 2010, against Poland, increasing his career tally to six goals
- Ever-present on the backline for the USA, he featured in all five Confederations Cup games in 2009 and eight final round World Cup qualifiers before going off injured in the final qualifier against Costa Rica at RFK Stadium on Oct. 14
- A two-time winner of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, he was part of the championship squads in 2005 and 2007
- An alumnus of the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program, he helped the U.S. to their best-ever fourth place finish at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship along with Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley
- Helped Standard Liege of Belgium to two consecutive titles following a 25-year drought.