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