Armas Cleared to Play for United States
PALO ALTO, Calif. (Thursday, November 5, 1998) - U.S. Soccer received word earlier today that midfielder Chris Armas has been officially cleared by CONCACAF to play for the United States. Armas, 26, played five matches with the Puerto Rican National Team in 1993 and 1994. In the statement from CONCACAF officials to U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher, it was noted that none of the appearances had compromised Armas' U.S. eligibility.
"I'm very excited that this has been settled and that I can now play for the United States," said the 5-foot-7 Armas. "It's been my dream to play for my country, and I'm grateful that U.S. Soccer took the time and made the effort to allow me to play."
Armas was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was a collegiate All-American at Adelphi University before turning professional. He played the 1995 USISL season with the Long Island Rough Riders and was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy for the inaugural season of Major League Soccer in 1996. After two years in Los Angeles, Armas was traded to Chicago shortly after the expansion draft.
Selected by the media as a member of the 1998 MLS Best Eleven, Armas played an integral role in the expansion Chicago Fire's rise to glory, capped by winning MLS Cup ?98 and the 1998 U.S. Open Cup to complete the American "double."
Armas, who has been training with the USA all week in Palo Alto, Calif., and could be a starter in Friday's international friendly against Australia, has been one of the league's most unheralded players over the past three seasons. From his defensive midfield position, Armas has continually stymied the opposing team's playmaking midfielder, including DC United's Marco Etcheverry and Los Angeles' Mauricio Cienfuegos during the Fire's spectacular playoff run.
The U.S. will take on Australia tomorrow in the team's first match under new head coach Bruce Arena. Kickoff will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium in San Jose and will be televised by ESPN on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 9:00 p.m. PT.