U.S. MNT Training Camp Update
June 29, 2005
ALMOST ALL IN: The U.S. National Team continues to receive new members to the group, with 22 of 23 players now in camp in Portland. DaMarcus Beasley, Steve Cherundolo and Landon Donovan are the latest arrivals, having joined the squad Wednesday morning. Kasey Keller is the remaining absentee. The Seattle native is expected to join the team Friday. Meantime, the rest of Bruce Arena's contingent went through day three of training at Nike World Headquarters, the pace and intensity gradually increasing as Arena allows the group time to recover from busy MLS schedules and the effects of down time for the European-based players. It's now seven days away from the USA's opening match of the 2005 Gold Cup against Cuba at Qwest Field in Seattle. The match will be shown live on Telefutura at 7:30 p.m. PT. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
LOCAL TIES: In addition to Keller, several players have history in the Pacific Northwest. Marcus Hahnemann hails from Seattle, and made the three-hour drive south to Portland in time for camp. He played three seasons for the Seattle Sounders of the A-League from 1994-97, and helped the Seattle Pacific Falcons to the 1993 NCAA Division II Championship. Both Steve Cherundolo and Conor Casey hit the books at the University of Portland as undergrads. Steve was named West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year following his first year at UP, and Casey was named West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year in 2000 after leading the nation in scoring with 23 goals and seven assists for 53 points. U.S. Manager Bruce Arena spent time in the region as both player and coach in his younger years, playing for the Tacoma Tides of the American Soccer League and coaching the University of Puget Sound in 1976.
ALL_ACCESS VIDEO - ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE: Despite the time apart, training for the national team in Portland looked remarkably routine. There's the usual dreaded fitness work, the highly competitive possesion games, and of course, there has to be some kind of contest. The speed, skill, and intensity are often taken for granted when it looks like business as usual for the national team, but we're sure you will appreciate it with today's exclusive All_Access Video.
PODCASTING WITH THE BIG CAT: It's his first real shot with the national team in 2005, and Tony Sanneh is happy to be here. Still in the process of gaining full fitness and form with the Chicago Fire, the 34-year old defender still thinks he has what it takes to be the presence in the U.S. defense that fans fell in love with during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Listen to the "Big Cat" gear up for the Gold Cup in this exclusive podcast on ussoccer.com.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH CHRIS ARMAS: Another Chicago Fire veteran is getting his first sniff of the year, as midfielder Chris Armas returns to the national team fold. In 2001 and 2002, you didn’t need a pencil to write his name on the starter’s sheet; you could use a pen. Then an ACL injury ten days before the team left for Korea ended his World Cup hopes, and sent him on a road to recovery that would last several years. Always the fierce competitor, he hopes to use his first national team camp of 2005 to return to the form that made him a mainstay in the U.S. midfield. "I’m a competitor. I love to win," says Armas. "I certainly still feel like I belong. The day I think I’m losing it as a player, or I can’t do what I’ve been capable of, I won’t play anymore." To read the full transcript, click here.
FRESH FACES: Of the 23-man roster, nine players will have an opportunity to play a game for the national team for the first time this year. Six players (Chris Armas, Brad Davis, Ben Olsen, Santino Quaranta, Matt Reis, Tony Sanneh) are appearing in their first camp of 2005, while Davis and Quaranta are getting their-first ever sniff with the senior national team. Reis and Jimmy Conrad join BD and 'Tino as the only players without a cap.
AT HOME AT HEADQUARTERS: Nike has certainly made the national team feel welcome on their sprawling campus in Beaverton, about 20 minutes outside of downtown Portland. The two training fields are in excellent condition, and are presided over by a life-size statue of Ronaldo. Even more satisyfing for the players is a trip to the famous NES (Nike Employee Store), where the athletes have looked in marvel like Charlie in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Today, Nike has set a side a big screen TV in the Lance Armstrong building for the players and staff to watch the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup between Argentina and Brazil.
- ussoccer.com -