Arena Names Strongest Squad Yet as National Team Prepares for Seventh Annual Nike U.S. Cup
CHICAGO (Thursday, May 18, 2000) - U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bruce Arena has selected 22 players to represent the United States for the USA's upcoming matches against South Africa, Ireland and Mexico in the 2000 edition of U.S. Soccer's most prestigious annual event, the Nike U.S. Cup.
With a full complement of players available after the close of the European league seasons, Arena was able to assemble his strongest roster since taking over as national team head coach in October 1998. Eleven of the 22 players currently play professionally in Europe, with the balance of the squad made up of Major League Soccer stars.
The four-team international tournament will be played over six dates in five U.S. cities, and will culminate with a classic doubleheader that will feature the Republic of South Africa taking on the Republic of Ireland, and the United States going head-to-head with arch-rival Mexico at the Meadowlands on June 11.
The United States will open the Nike U.S. Cup on Saturday, June 3, at 4 p.m. ET with a nationally televised match on ABC against South Africa at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. before moving to Foxboro Stadium in New England for the showdown with Ireland on Tuesday, June 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
"This is the most complete team we've had since I've been coach, and this is a great field. These games will give us the opportunity to test ourselves against some very challenging opponents, and we need to prepare ourselves as World Cup qualifying approaches," said head coach Bruce Arena. "The Nike U.S. Cup is our last chance to assess the quality of the team before qualifying begins, so this is a very important tournament for us."
The 11 European-based players named to the roster represent the most foreign-playing squad members yet for a U.S. team under Arena's control. Veteran captain Claudio Reyna, who recently captured the Scottish League title with Rangers, leads a group that includes goalkeepers Kasey Keller (Rayo Vallecano, Spain) and Brad Friedel (Liverpool, England), and defenders David Regis (FC Metz, France), Frankie Hejduk (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), and Gregg Berhalter (Cambuur, Holland). The midfield includes John O'Brien (Ajax, Holland), Eddie Lewis (Fulham, England), Tony Sanneh (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Earnie Stewart (NAC Breda, Holland), and Jovan Kirovski (Borussia Dortmund, Germany).
Also in the squad for the USA is D.C. United defender Jeff Agoos, who will earn his 100th cap with the national team the next time he plays for the U.S. Only four other players have represented the United States more than 100 times, including Cobi Jones (L.A. Galaxy, MLS), who will become the United States' all-time appearance leader should he appear in all three games of the tournament. Jones currently has 126 caps, two behind leader Marcelo Balboa's 128.
After winning the inaugural event in 1992 and capturing the 1995 tournament against a tough field of Colombia, Mexico and Nigeria, the U.S. is looking to reclaim the Nike U.S. Cup crown, which has been won by Mexico in each of the last three tournaments. In 1999, the Tri-Colores took the crown with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the USA in San Diego on March 13, handing Arena his first loss as U.S. head coach.
In addition to the doubleheader finale at Giants Stadium, two other tournament dates will feature doubleheaders with Major League Soccer, beginning with the Chicago Fire and Kansas City Wizards squaring off before Ireland and Mexico do battle at Soldier Field on Sunday, June 4. The second MLS doubleheader will see the Dallas Burn host the Columbus Crew before Mexico meets South Africa on June 7.
In the past six tournaments the U.S. has a 7-7-3 all-time record in 17 games against Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, England, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, and Portugal.
For Ireland, the trip to the United States marks the country's third Nike U.S. Cup appearance, having previously finished third in the 1992 event and second in 1996. Ireland has compiled a 2-3-1 record in six previous games, including an 0-2 mark against the U.S. Back on May 30, 1992, at RFK Stadium, the USA downed Ireland, 3-1, in the first-ever U.S. Cup match.
South Africa will not only be making their Nike U.S. Cup debut, but will also be taking on the USA for the first time in the history of the two nations. Tickets for all the matches are on sale now at each venue's box office and via Ticketmaster. Prices range from $20 to $75.
Complete coverage of the Nike U.S. Cup can be found on U.S. Soccer's website, www.us-soccer.com.
|U.S. CUP 2000 LINE-UP|
|Team||U.S. Cup Record||Best Finish||Memorable Moment|
|Ireland||2-3-1 (9 GF, 9 GA)||Second place ('96)||Lost 3-1 thriller to U.S. in inaugural game|
|Mexico||6-1-4 (16 GF, 12 GA)||Champion ('96, '97, '99)||2-2 draw w/ US in front of 92,216 seals '96 title|
|United States||7-7-3 (26 GF, 25 GA)||Champion ('92, '95)||Trounced Mexico 4-0 on way to '95 crown|
|United States Men's National Team|
Nike U.S. Cup 2000 Roster
June 3-11, 2000
(vs. South Africa, Ireland, Mexico)
|Agoos, Jeff||D||5'10"||175||5/2/68||99/3||Dallas||D.C. United (MLS)|
|Armas, Chris||M||5'7"||150||8/27/72||15/2||Brentwood, N.Y.||Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|Berhalter, Gregg||D||6'1"||175||8/1/73||10/0||Tenafly, N.J.||Cambuur Leeuwarden (Holland)|
|Fraser, Robin||D||6'1"||175||12/17/66||25/0||Denver, Co.||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)|
|Friedel, Brad||GK||6'4"||202||5/18/71||64/0||Bay Village, Ohio||Liverpool (England)|
|Hejduk, Frankie||M||5'8"||155||8/5/74||25/4||Cardiff, Calif.||Bayer Leverkusen (Germ.)|
|Jones, Cobi||M||5'7"||145||6/16/70||126/11||Westlake Village, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)|
|Keller, Kasey||GK||6'2"||190||11/29/69||40/0||Lacey, Wash.||Rayo Vallecano (Spain)|
|Kirovski, Jovan||F||6'1"||175||3/18/76||41/7||Escondido, Calif.||Borussia Dort. (Germ.)|
|Kreis, Jason||M||5'10"||155||12/29/72||11/1||Omaha, Neb.||Dallas Burn (MLS)|
|Lewis, Eddie||M||5'10"||155||5/17/74||21/2||Cerritos, Calif.||Fulham FC (England)|
|Llamosa, Carlos||D||5'11"||166||6/30/69||8/0||Maspeth, N.Y.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|McBride, Brian||F||6'1"||170||6/19/72||40/10||Arlington Heights, Ill.||Columbus Crew (MLS)|
|O'Brien, John||M||5'8"||145||8/29/77||2/0||Playa del Rey, Calif.||Ajax Amsterdam (Holland)|
|Olsen, Ben||M||5'8"||140||5/3/77||14/3||Middletown, Penn.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|Ralston, Steve||M||5'9"||150||6/14/74||5/0||St. Louis, Mo.||Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS)|
|Razov, Ante||F||6'1"||175||3/2/74||6/0||Whittier, Calif.||Chicago Fire (MLS)|
|Regis, David||D||5'11"||160||12/2/68||9/0||Valenciennes, France||F.C. Metz (France)|
|Reyna, Claudio||M||5'9"||160||7/20/73||71/7||Springfield, N.J.||Glasgow Rangers (Scot.)|
|Sanneh, Tony||M||6'2"||160||6/1/71||7/1||St. Paul, Minn.||Hertha Berlin (Germany)|
|Stewart, Earnie||M||5'9"||145||3/28/69||56/6||Point Arena, Calif.||NAC Breda (Holland)|
|Vanney, Greg||D||5'11"||170||6/11/74||6/0||Tempe, Ariz.||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)|
|Head Coach||Bruce Arena||Fairfax, Va.|
|Assistant Coach||Dave Sarachan||Herndon, Va.|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Milutin Soskic||Aliso Viejo, Calif.|
|General Manager||Pam Perkins||Evanston, Ill.|
|Team Administrator||Maria Hernandez||Chicago|
|Athletic Trainer||Jim Hashimoto||Wilmington, Del.|
|Press Officer||Rich Schneider||Chicago|