DAY OFF: After four days of training and going through multifarious medical evaluations and other administrative issues, the U.S. Men’s National Team was given a well-earned day off on Monday by manager Bruce Arena. The team arrived into camp May 10 and didn’t waste any time getting into the swing of things with one-a-day sessions last week, which included some grueling fitness work in preparation for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Training in Cary, N.C., resumes Tuesday morning.
IT’S OFFICIAL: The U.S. sent in their official 23-player roster for the 2006 World Cup to FIFA on Monday, May 15, the deadline for all 32 teams to submit their squads. A number of teams, including the U.S., have already announced their definitive 23-man lists prior to the deadline. (Watch highlights of the USA’s roster announcement on ESPN’s SportsCenter.)
THE NAME GAME: When the U.S. provided the 23-man roster to FIFA, it was required that they put in each players’ first and last name. Not much of a surprise there, however, it wasn’t just the players’ popular name that was included, but also the actual name given to them by their mom and dad and written for all eternity on the birth certificate. Think you know you’re senior MNT squad as good as their parents do? Take this quick name quiz and find out (answers at the bottom).
- This midfielder’s full first name is the same as the last name of the President of the United States that was in power while he was in high school. What’s the players’ name?
- You thought Onyewu’s first name was interesting already, but there are actually three more letters after Oguchi. What are they?
- While Edward is the actual first name for Eddie Lewis and Eddie Johnson, Eddie Pope’s is something entirely different. What is it?
KELLER AND CHERUNDOLO CHECK IN: Kasey Keller and Steve Cherundolo were the last players to check into camp, arriving in Cary on Sunday evening after completing their Bundesliga seasons this past weekend with Borussia Moenchengladbach and Hannover 96, respectively. Keller helped Borussia secure 10th place in the final standings, delivering his seventh shutout of the season in the 2-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt, while Cherundolo went the full 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen.
LEWIS CHECKS OUT: While Keller and Cherundolo have arrived, the 23-man puzzle is still not 100 percent complete as Eddie Lewis left camp Sunday to gear up for the League Championship Promotion Final. 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 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. 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 this exclusive audio podcast (listen).
(MASS) MEDIA ARRIVES: Throngs of media have already begun to arrive and will be out in force when the U.S. returns to the training field on Tuesday. More than 40 media outlets will drop in on SAS Park during the next week, including a number of international media outlets from Italy, Czech Republic, Germany and Japan. The total amount of journalists is expected to be more than double the number who covered training four years ago.
ALL_ACCESS CONTINUES A CLOSER LOOK AT TRAINING CAMP: ussoccer.com's all_access video continues to be the best source for an inside look into the U.S. MNT's pre-World Cup training camp. On Saturday, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Cory Gibbs were among the goal scorers during 6 v 6 scrimmages that were eventually won by the green team. On Sunday, things got hot for the team with some tough fitness drills before cooling off in an ice bath. Catch all of the highlights at ussoccer.com.
CZECH NAME VETERAN SQUAD FOR GERMANY: Czech Republic manager Karel Bruckner has pulled together a veteran squad to head to Germany in announcing his 23 players this afternoon. Borussia Dortmund striker Jan Koller has sufficiently recovered to make a squad list that includes a few injury concerns, most notably Bordeaux midfielder Vladimir Smicer. Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved and Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Cech headline a group loaded with international experience. "This squad was created for EURO 2004 in Portugal with the 2006 World Cup in mind," Bruckner told a news conference. The 2004 European Championship semifinalists will start training together on May 20 at Seefeld in Austria.
Czech Republic 2006 FIFA World Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS: Jaromir Blazek (Sparta Prague), Petr Cech (Chelsea), Antonin Kinsky (Saturn Ramenskoye)
DEFENDERS: Zdenek Grygera (Ajax Amsterdam), Marek Jankulovski (AC Milan), Martin Jiranek (Spartak Moscow), Radoslav Kovac (Spartak Moscow), Pavel Mares (Zenit St Petersburg), David Rozehnal (Paris St Germain), Tomas Ujfalusi (Fiorentina)
MIDFIELDERS: Tomas Galasek (Ajax Amsterdam), David Jarolim (Hamburg SV), Pavel Nedved (Juventus), Jaroslav Plasil (Monaco), Karel Poborsky (Ceske Budejovice), Jan Polak (Nuremberg), Tomas Rosicky (Borussia Dortmund), Vladimir Smicer (Girondins Bordeaux)
FORWARDS: Milan Baros (Aston Villa), Marek Heinz (Galatasaray), Jan Koller (Borussia Dortmund), Vratislav Lokvenc (Red Bull Salzburg), Jiri Stajner (Hannover 96).
LIPPI NAMES ITALY SQUAD: Italian National Team head coach Marcello Lippi named his 23-man roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Included in the Azzuri squad are Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Roma captain Francesco Totti, AC Milan's Fillipo Inzaghi and Juventus forward Alessandro Del Piero. The Italian squad will be based in Duisburg and train at Bundesliga club MSV Duisburg. Italy kicks off their World Cup campaign against Ghana on June 12, before facing the United States on June 17 and finishing group play against the Czech Republic on June 22.
Italy 2006 FIFA World Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Angelo Peruzzi (Lazio), Marco Amelia (Livorno)
DEFENDERS: Massimo Oddo (Lazio), Cristian Zaccardo (Palermo), Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Palermo), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus), Fabio Grosso (Palermo)
MIDFIELDERS: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan), Simone Perrotta (Roma), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Simone Barone (Palermo), Francesco Totti (Roma)
FORWARDS: Luca Toni (Fiorentina), Alberto Gilardino (AC Milan), Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan), Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Udinese)
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)
SEVEN YEAR REUNION: The U.S. and Ghana both have players on their 23-man World Cup roster that also starred in the 1999 FIFA Under-17 World Championship. While most U.S. fans know that Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Oguchi Onyewu and Bobby Convey were all members of the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team that finished a best-ever fourth place in the ’99 tournament, a lesser known fact is that two Ghana players – Michael Essien and Pimpong Razak – also represented for their country as teenagers. The two countries met in the third place match, which Ghana won 2-0. Donovan, Beasley and Onyewu all started for the U.S. in the match, while Convey came on in reserve in the 75th minute. Essien, now one of the most famous soccer players in the world as a midfielder with EPL champions Chelsea, was a central defender during his time with Ghana’s U-17 squad, but he did not play in the match against the U.S. due to a suspension from card accumulation. Razak not only started the match, but scored the game-winner in the 35th minute.
McBRIDE HONORED AS FULHAM’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR: U.S. MNT forward Brian McBride was named the Fulham FC Player of the Season last week at the club’s end of the season dinner. Voted on by Fulham supporters, McBride was running neck and neck in the poll with teammate Steed Malbranque, but was able to squeak by in the end to win the award. McBride scored 10 goals and three assists in 39 games to help Fulham finish in 12th in the English Premier League.
GETTING OLDER: U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu celebrated his 24th birthday on May 13 and was greeted with a piece of cake at lunch time and a rendition of “Happy Birthday to you…” by his teammates and staff. While he’s the first to celebrate his birthday since coming into camp, he certainly will not be the last as seven more players will turn a year older before the end of the World Cup. Next up is Eddie Lewis on May 17 (no cake or song though as he’ll be back in England) before we get a barrage with four in four days when DaMarcus Beasley and Brian Ching celebrate on May 24, Carlos Bocanegra a day later and Bobby Convey on May 27. There’s a bit of a layoff until the middle of June when Marcus Hahnemann turns 34 on June 15 and Brian McBride catches up to the U.S. goalkeeper four days later on June 19.
HELPING HUGHES: Heerenveen midfielder Michael Bradley isn’t the only youngster getting his first taste of what it’s like training with the full MNT (listen). Former U.S. Under-20 and current UNC goalkeeper Justin Hughes was invited to help out in during the week. Hughes was the third-string goalkeeper for the Under-20s at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland last summer. Described by former U-20 and current Columbus Crew head coach Sigi Schmid as an ‘octopus’ with his long arms and legs, Hughes will be a senior this fall at UNC and will graduate in December.
TRAINING CAMP PHOTOS: ussoccer.com continues in the tradition of bringing you the U.S. Men’s National Team photos from training camp in Cary. Join the MNT players as they prepare for medical testing and as they take to the field in training prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
THE NAME GAME II: If you haven’t figured out the answers to the Name Game, don’t fret, they are:
- Clinton Dempsey
- alu – Oguchialu Onyewu
- George Pope
THEY SAID IT: “I know the qualities of the American team and their coach very well. It's a team that's very well put together, with players from America and Europe. They're athletes, in very good condition. Their techniques and tactics are advanced. Their results show that they're rightly ranked fourth in the FIFA table.”
-- Czech Republic head coach Karel Bruckner on the U.S. Men’s National Team.