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Arena Tests National Team Depth; Names Youthful Team for Sept. 8 Match in Jamaica


CHICAGO (Monday, August 30, 1999) - With a full-international match versus CONCACAF foe Jamaica set for Sept. 8, U.S. National Team Head Coach Bruce Arena today named the 18-player roster that will travel to Kingston for the match. The roster features several of the top young MLS players, and includes four members of the U.S. U-23 National Team, which in April will compete in CONCACAF Qualifying for the right to play in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

The USA-Jamaica match in Kingston will actually be part of a unique doubleheader, featuring the two nations' Under-17 National Teams in the preliminary match. The USA and Jamaican U-17s are scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p.m. ET, with the senior teams playing at 7:30 p.m. ET.

"Rebuilding the national team is a long-term process," said U.S. Head Coach Bruce Arena. "And in order to ensure success down the road, our younger, talented players need to be exposed to the international game. The Jamaica game will give me the opportunity to look at some new faces, as well as bring back some players with previous national team experience."

With 34 and 28 appearances, respectively, for the United States, 27-year-old forward Brian McBride and 25-year old defender Eddie Pope are easily the most experienced members of the squad. After Eddie Lewis, who has earned 12 of his 13 appearances in the last 10 months, the remaining 15 players all have less than eight appearances total. Eight players will be searching for their first appearance for the U.S.

Joining the National Team for the first time since Bruce Arena took over as head coach are defenders Greg Vanney, Steve Cherundolo, Jay Heaps and Chad McCarty, midfielders Henry Gutierrez, Billy Walsh and Steve Ralston, and forward Jason Kreis. Cherundolo, who is a starting defender for Hannover 96 in the German second division, is the only member of the squad who is not affiliated with an MLS club.

The U.S. U-23 National Team contingent includes Cherundolo and McCarty, as well as midfielder Chris Albright and forward Josh Wolff. Albright, 20, who recently signed a Project-40 contract with MLS and U.S. Soccer, has already appeared for both the U-20 and U-23 National Teams this year.

The roster also includes several of MLS' statistical leaders. The most notable is Dallas Burn forward Jason Kreis, who with 14 goals and 12 assists is currently tied for the league scoring lead. Following closely behind Kreis are Chicago's Ante Razov (12 goals, six assists) and Wolff (10 goals, two assists), Miami's Henry Gutierrez (four goals, 13 assists), and Tampa Bay midfielder Steve Ralston (four goals, 13 assists).

The U.S. goal will be guarded by Zach Thornton and Kevin Hartman. Thornton's consistent play has helped Chicago challenge Colorado for the lead in MLS' Western Conference, while Hartman is the MLS leader with a 15-9 record and a 0.84 goals against average for the L.A. Galaxy.

"Playing Jamaica in Kingston will be a tremendous challenge," added Arena. This experience will only help to build our team towards qualification next year."

United States National Team vs. Jamaica National Team
September 8, 1999 * Kingston, Jamaica
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. D.O.B. Caps/Goals Hometown Last Club
Albright, Chris F 6'1" 185 1/14/79 0/0 Philadelphia, Penn. D.C. United (MLS)
Cherundolo, Steve D 5'6" 145 2/19/79 0/0 San Diego, Calif. Hannover 96 (Germany)
Cullen, Leo D 5'8" 160 2/28/76 1/0 Burnsville, Minn. Miami Fusion (MLS)
Gutierrez, Henry M 5'7" 150 8/28/68 0/0 Miami, Fla. Miami Fusion (MLS)
Hartman, Kevin GK 6'1" 174 5/24/74 0/0 Palos Verdes, Calif. Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Heaps, Jay M 5'9" 150 8/2/76 0/0 Longmeadow, Mass. Miami Fusion (MLS)
Kreis, Jason M 5'10" 155 12/29/72 7/0 Omaha, Neb. Dallas Burn (MLS)
Lewis, Eddie M 5'10" 155 5/17/74 13/1 Cerritos, Calif. San Jose Clash (MLS)
McBride, Brian F 6'1" 170 6/19/72 34/9 Arlington Heights, Ill. Columbus Crew (MLS)
McCarty, Chad D 5'11" 175 10/5/77 0/0 Clovis, Calif. Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS)
Pope, Eddie D 6'0" 175 12/24/73 28/3 High Point, N.C. D.C. United (MLS)
Ralston, Steve M 5'9" 150 6/14/74 4/0 St. Louis, Mo. Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS)
Razov, Ante F 6'1" 175 3/2/74 3/0 Whittier, Calif. Chicago Fire (MLS)
Thornton, Zach GK 6'3" 215 10/10/73 5/0 Edgewood, Md. Chicago Fire (MLS)
Vanney, Greg D 5'11" 169 6/11/74 3/0 Tempe, Ariz. Los Angeles Galaxy  (MLS)
Walsh, Billy M 6'2" 185 10/7/75 0/0 Chatham, N.J. NY/NJ Metrostars (MLS)
Williams, Richie M 5'5" 145 6/3/70 7/0 Middletown N.J. D.C. United (MLS)
Wolff, Josh F 5'8" 160 2/25/77 0/0 Stone Mountain, Ga. Chicago Fire (MLS)
 
Team Staff
General Manager Pam Perkins Evanston, Ill.
Head Coach Bruce Arena Fairfax, Va.
Goalkeeper Coach Milutin Soskic Bakersfield, Calif.
Doctor Bill Garrett Durham, N.C.
Trainer Rudy Rudawsky Wilmington, Del.
Trainer Ivan Pierra Fullerton, Calif.
Team Coordinator Maria Hernandez Chicago, Ill.
Press Officer Brian Remedi Chicago, Ill.
Security Officer Gene Williams Sunnyside, N.Y.

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