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U.S. MNT Opens Pre-World Cup Training Camp in Cary, N.C.


U.S. Men's National Team
Training Camp Update
Cary, N.C.
May 12, 2006

GETTING STARTED:
The USA's 2006 World Cup team got their first work in on the field on Thursday morning, Bruce Arena putting his charges through a 75-minute session during a warm and muggy morning in Cary, N.C. Eddie Lewis and Oguchi Onyewu were given the morning off as the team went through fitness exercises and possession games. One-a-day sessions are planned through the remainder of the week while the team goes through a series of medical evaluations and other administrative issues. Almost half the roster is feeling right at home in Cary, having spent almost two weeks here four years ago as part of the 2002 World Cup training camp.

ALBRIGHT AND DONOVAN CHECK-IN: The Los Angeles Galaxy duo of Chris Albright and Landon Donovan made their way to Cary on Thursday morning following their team's 1-0 loss to FC Dallas on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas. Steve Cherundolo and Kasey Keller are the remaining pieces to the puzzle, the duo completing their Bundesliga seasons this weekend with Hannover 96 and Borussia Moenchengladbach, respectively. Both are scheduled to arrive into camp on May 14.

GHANA NAMES WORLD CUP ROSTER: Ghana became the first African nation to name their 2006 FIFA World Cup roster on Friday (May 12) when head coach Ratomir Dujkovic revealed his list of 23 men who will travel to Germany. Dujkovic made drastic changes to the team which competed at the 2006 African Cup of Nations, including calling in an uncapped defender and several players who had been absent from the national team for several years. Less than half the players who competed in the continental tournament, in which Ghana failed to advance out of the first round, will be making the trip to Germany. Stephen Appiah will lead the team as captain at the World Cup and Chelsea’s Michael Essien returns to the squad after sitting out the African Cup of Nations due to injury. The U.S. MNT will face Ghana in the World Cup on Thursday, June 22, in their third and final Group E match.

Ghana 2006 FIFA World Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS: Sammy Adjei (Moadan Sport Ashdod, Israel), Richard Kingston (Ankaraspor, Turkey), George Owu (AsantiGold).
DEFENDERS: Eric Addo (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Issah Ahmed (Randers, Denmark), Shilla Alhassan Illiasu (Asante Kotoko), Samuel Osei Kuffour (AS Roma, Italy), John Mensah (Stade Rennes, France), Habib Mohammed (King Faisal Babes, Ghana), John Painstil (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Emmanuel Pappoe (Hapoel Kfar Saba, Israel), Daniel Quaye (Hearts of Oak), Hans Sarpei (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany)
MIDFIELDERS: Otto Addo (FSV Mainz, Germany), Stephen Appiah (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Derek Boateng (AIK Stockholm, Sweden), Haminu Dramani (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro), Michael Essien (Chelsea, England), Sulley Ali Muntari (Udinese, Italy)
FORWARDS: Matthew Amoah (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Asamoah Gyan (Modena, Italy), Razak Pimpong (FC Copenhagen, Denmark), Alex Tachie-Mensah (St. Gallen, Switzerland)

all_access video - CAMP GREETINGS: For the U.S. MNT players coming from overseas, the opening meeting of camp served as a time to reconnect with teammates, while Manager Bruce Arena brimmed with confidence as he outlined the team's goals for the next three weeks in Cary. On day two, the players got down to business with their first fitness test and a round of questions from the media. The stretch run to the 2006 FIFA World Cup is here, and all_access video has it covered.

BUSIN' IT: The U.S. players were welcomed by a "busload" of fans on Friday morning when they pulled into SAS Park. Okay, actually, the practices are closed, so it was just a bus. A converted school bus, in fact, with five U.S. Soccer fanatics who have transformed the vehicle into a "traveling tailgate" for U.S. Soccer games. Nicknamed "World Cup Express," the bus was featured in the beginning of U.S. Soccer's "Journey to Germany" DVD (still available for purchase at ussoccerstore.com), and is decked out in red, white and blue. The ride is the creation of brothers Joe and Bill Gannon, who spent six months gutting an old, yellow school bus and creating a comfortable ride that piles in fans for a road trip anywhere in the United States. Look for an all_access video on the bus sometime next week.

ABC/ESPN's TRIANGLE: A number of U.S. players participated in ABC/ESPN's "triangle" on Friday afternoon. ABC/ESPN set up three areas - two in the team hotel and one at a exercise facility a short van ride away - to conduct interviews, obtain video imagery and take still photos of the players. The two-day process (more players will partake on Saturday) will provide the networks with a ton of content that will be used in some capacity during broadcasts of the USA's games in the 2006 World Cup. The still photos were taken by Rick Chapman, who has taken photos of some of the most well-known athletes in the world, including Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O'Neal, Mia Hamm, Lance Armstrong and Brett Favre.

LEWIS IN AND OUT:
Eddie Lewis will earn some serious frequent flier miles this week as his first stint in Cary will last only four days before he heads back to England for the League Championship Promotion Final. Lewis helped Leeds United advance to the final by scoring the lone goal in their 1-1 first leg draw against his old club Preston North End, then going the distance in the 2-0 victory on May 8 that secured their place in the final match. Leeds will take on Watford at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on May 21, with the winner gaining promotion to the English Premier League for the 2006-07 season. Lewis will re-join the national team in Nashville in advance of the first match of the Send-Off Series against Morocco (May 23, live in ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET) at the Coliseum (tickets). Lewis talks about his side's promotion playoff run and joining up with his old mates on the national team in the latest podcast.

PODCAST FROM THE PRESS ROOM: Hear U.S. Manager Bruce Arena and North Carolina native Eddie Pope address the media after the first day of training (listen). Tune in daily as ussoccer.com will bring you interviews, features and all the sounds from the Cary camp.

PHOTO GALLERY: We mentioned sounds, but of course the sights will be just as important and ussoccer.com kicks it off with a complete photo gallery from the team's first two training sessions. You'll also get a peek at the guys trying on the new fresh duds they will be sporting in Hamburg. Check back every day as ussoccer.com delivers photos you can't see anywhere else.

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