CHICAGO (January 24, 2005) —U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena has called 28 players into camp to train for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago on Feb. 9 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Kickoff at the Queen’s Park Oval is set for 2:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. local), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
The team will train in at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and will depart for Trinidad on Feb. 7 after relocating to South Florida. Several European-based players are expected to join the squad in Florida either Feb. 6 or 7 after competing in their league matches that weekend.
“We certainly have a lot of hard work ahead of us,” said Arena. “Trinidad is a very talented opponent with a lot of experience on their roster. We’re happy to be able to focus on the task of getting a result in our first qualifier in the final round.”
The experience in the squad starts in the back, led by MetroStars captain Eddie Pope, the top capwinner in the team with 66 international appearances. He is joined by fellow 2002 World Cup backliners and Columbus Crew teammates Frankie Hejduk and Tony Sanneh. Combined, the trio made 14 starts in Korea/Japan, including Sanneh’s standout performance against Germany in the 1-0 quarterfinal loss.
FC Dallas striker Ed Johnson is coming off a remarkable first year with the full team, netting five goals in three games, including a hat trick in the 6-0 win against Panama on Oct. 13. With that performance, the 20-year-old forward entered his name several places in the record books. With goals against El Salvador, Panama and Jamaica, he became the first player in MNT history to score goals in his first three qualifying appearances. He also joined Alexander Rae as one of only two players in MNT history with goals in each of his first three caps. (Rae’s feat was accomplished in 1937 in a trio of games against Mexico.) He also became one of only two players (joining Aldo “Buff” Donelli, two career caps) with five goals in as many as three career games.
Real Salt Lake striker Clint Mathis returns to the fold for the first time since returning to the United States, having recorded 11 goals in 44 appearances for the USA. He is joined by fellow Georgia native and Wizards forward Josh Wolff, whose eight appearances for the senior team in 2004 marked the second most in his international career. D.C. United forward Alecko Eskandarian is coming off a stellar league campaign, highlighted by a two-goal performance in United’s 3-2 MLS Cup championship victory against Kansas City that earned him MVP honors.
Arena has called four goalkeepers into camp, led by MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Joe Cannon. The Rapids netminder led the league in saves (150) and save percentage (.80), earning a nomination as a finalist for the league MVP award. Jon Busch, Kevin Hartman and Nick Rimando round out the goalkeeping corps.
Along with Kansas City and New England, the Crew contribute four players to the camp, including first-timer and MLS Rookie of the Year finalist Chad Marshall. Also making his debut appearance for the senior team is Chicago Fire midfielder Justin Mapp, who shined at the youth international level. He started all five matches with the U.S. U-20's at the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates in 2003, scoring the game-winning goal against the Ivory Coast to help the squad advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad and midfielder Clyde Simms from the Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer Leagues are also in their first camp with the team.
After Trinidad, the U.S. faces a double-dose of qualifiers at the end of March. Following a trip to Mexico on March 27, the USA will open its home schedule of final round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, March 30 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Kickoff against Guatemala is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Tickets ranging in price from $18 to $55 are available online at ussoccer.com, all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix and Coconuts), and by phone at 1-800-277-1700. Groups of 15 or more can order through the Alabama Sports Foundation at 205-967-4745 ext. 119.
The U.S. will play 10 games in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup from Feb. 9 – Oct. 13, 2005. The USA, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago are competing for three automatic berths to the World Cup finals in Germany. The fourth-place finisher will face the fifth-place team from the Asian Football Confederation in a home-and-home series to determine the last entrant into the tournament.
U.S. Men’s National Team Training Camp Roster
Jan. 24-Feb. 7, 2005 – Carson, California
ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (4) – Jon Busch (Columbus Crew), Joe Cannon (Colorado Rapids), Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nick Rimando (D.C. United)
Defenders (8) – Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Nick Garcia (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Ritchie Kotschau (Colorado Rapids), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Eddie Pope (MetroStars), Tony Sanneh (Columbus Crew)
Midfielders (9) – Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Diego Gutierrez (Kansas City Wizards), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Clint Mathis (Real Salt Lake), Brian Mullan (San Jose Earthquakes), Ben Olsen (D.C. United), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Clyde Simms (Richmond Kickers)
Forwards (7) – Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes), Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United), Ed Johnson (FC Dallas), Mike Magee (MetroStars), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)
U.S. Men’s National Team Staff
Head Coach: Bruce Arena (Fairfax, Va.)
Assistant Coach: Glenn Myernick (Denver)
Assistant Coach: Curt Onalfo (Fairfax, Va.)
Goalkeeper Coach: Phil Wheddon (Monroe, Conn.)
Fitness Coach: Pierre Barrieu (Charlottesville, Va.)
General Manager: Pam Perkins (Los Angeles)
Trainers: Rick Guter (Fairfax, Va.), Jim Hashimoto (Wilmington, Del.), Ivan Pierra (Los Angeles)
Doctor: Bert Mandlebaum (Los Angeles)
Chiropractor: George Billauer (Los Angeles)
Equipment Manager: Ryan Maxfield (Los Angeles)
Press Officer: Michael Kammarman (Chicago)