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USA vs. Colombia - International Friendly - Nov. 14, 2014

PLAYER POS. HT. WT. BIRTHDATE HOMETOWN CLUB/COLLEGE
Brad Guzan GK 6-4 210 9/9/84 Homer Glen, Ill. Aston Villa (England)
Bill Hamid GK 6-3 225 11/25/90 Annandale, Va. D.C. United
Sean Johnson GK 6-3 215 5/31/89 Lilburn, Ga. Chicago Fire
Nick Rimando GK 5-11 180 6/17/79 Montclair, Calif. Real Salt Lake
DaMarcus Beasley D 5-8 145 5/24/82 Ft. Wayne, Ind. Houston Dynamo
Matt Besler D 6-0 170 2/11/87 Overland Park, Kan. Sporting Kansas City
John Brooks D 6-4 170 1/28/93 Berlin, Germany Hertha Berlin (Germany)
Geoff Cameron D 6-3 185 7/11/85 Attleboro, Mass. Stoke City (England)
Timmy Chandler D 6-1 180 3/29/90 Frankfurt, Germany Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
Greg Garza D 5-8 155 8/16/91 Grapevine, Texas Club Tijuana (Mexico)
Fabian Johnson D 6-0 155 12/11/87 Munich, Germany Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)
Jermaine Jones M 6-0 170 11/3/81 Chicago, Ill. New England Revolution
DeAndre Yedlin D 5-8 150 7/9/93 Seattle, Wash. Seattle Sounders FC
Kyle Beckerman M 5-10 165 4/23/82 Crofton, Md. Real Salt Lake
Alejandro Bedoya M 5-10 160 4/29/87 Weston, Fla. Nantes (France)
Mix Diskerud M 6-0 150 10/2/90 Oslo, Norway Rosenborg (Norway)
Julian Green M 5-7 140 6/6/95 Tampa, Fla. Hamburg (Germany)
Alfredo Morales M 6-0 163 5/12/90 Berlin, Germany Ingolstadt (Germany)
Lee Nguyen M 5-8 149 10/7/86 Richardson, Texas New England Revolution
Jozy Altidore F 6-1 175 11/6/89 Boca Raton, Fla. Sunderland (England)
Miguel Ibarra F 5-7 135 3/15/90 Lancaster, Calif. Minnesota United FC
Jordan Morris F 5-11 185 10/26/94 Mercer Island, Wash.
Rubio Rubin F 5-9 160 3/1/96 Beaverton, Ore. Utrecht (Netherlands)
Bobby Wood F 5-10 165 11/15/92 Irvine, Calif. 1860 Munich (Germany)
Chris Wondolowski F 6-0 165 1/28/83 Danville, Calif. San Jose Earthquakes

Defending Champion U.S. MNT Placed Atop Group A for 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

CHICAGO (Dec. 16, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team has been placed atop Group A for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup as it seeks to defend its Gold Cup title and qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. 

The U.S. will play the tournament’s opening match on July 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, followed by a July 10 game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Three days later, the USA will complete the group phase at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Complete groups and schedule, including selection of dates and assignment of matches for the knockout round and the awarding of the final, will be announced in early 2015. Fans interested in learning about a special, holiday season gift package and exclusive presale ticket offer can find more information at www.concacaf.com

CONCACAF's top-ranked teams – the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico – will headline the 12-nation tournament from July 7-26, along with Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Canada, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Haiti and Cuba. Honduras and French Guiana will meet in March with the playoff winner securing the final berth in the 2015 Gold Cup. 

A total of 13 North American cities will host matches throughout the event – Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Toronto. 

As defending champion from the 2013 competition, a Gold Cup championship this summer would guarantee the United States as the CONCACAF representative in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. If the USA is unable to defend its title, it would then face the 2015 champion in a playoff. 

The team’s opening match will be the USA’s first Gold Cup match in Frisco. Overall, the U.S. has a 1-0-1 record at the home of FC Dallas, last appearing in the venue in 2007. 

Foxborough has a storied history hosting the USA in the confederation championship, with the United States boasting an unbeaten 6-0-2 record dating back to 2003. Ten different U.S. goal scorers are on the books in games from Gillette Stadium, which has welcomed the MNT for five group games and three quarterfinal matchups. 

The MNT holds a perfect 3-0-0 record at Sporting Park, with all three matches coming in official competition against CONCACAF opponents. The U.S. made its debut appearance there in 2011 with a Jozy Altidore goal securing a 1-0 win against Guadeloupe and a first-place finish in Group C of the 2011 Gold Cup.

Four-Time FIFA World Cup Defender DaMarcus Beasley Retires from International Soccer

CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2014) – U.S. Men’s National Team defender DaMarcus Beasley has announced his retirement from international soccer. Beasley caps off a stellar career that spanned 14 years and included 121 appearances.

This past summer, Beasley became the first U.S. player to make an appearance in four FIFA World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). He joined Kasey Keller (1990, 1998, 2002, 2006) and Claudio Reyna (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) as the only USA players to be a part of four World Cup teams.

Beasley’s 11 caps in the World Cup tie for second-most in U.S. MNT history, and his 121 appearances rank fifth on the all-time list since debuting in 2001.

In 2014, Beasley started in six of seven games while logging 530 minutes. He was one of seven MNT players to start in all four games during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and Beasley was one of only four players to play in every minute during the tournament.

Beasley tallied 17 international goals, which ties for ninth on the all-time list with Earnie Stewart. Beasley’s 13-career assists tie for eighth on the all-time list with Clint Dempsey.

During his tenure, Beasley won four CONCACAF Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005, 2007 and 2013), the latter serving as the team captain. His 2013 campaign included a career-high 17 appearances and 1,469 minutes.

Beasley first made his name known among the U.S. Under-17 and U-20 Men’s National Teams, playing in FIFA World Cups at both age levels. He won the Silver Ball at the 1999 FIFA U-17 Youth World Championship as the tournament’s second-best player as the USA advanced to the semifinal stage of that event. Beasley also played in every minute of the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He was named the U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year in 2001.

Professionally, Beasley became the first American to score in the Champions League for two teams – Rangers and PSV Eindhoven – and holds the MNT record with 22 Champions League appearances overall. Beasley won two Dutch league championships with PSV and two Scottish titles with Rangers.

Beasley has had two stints in Major League Soccer, first with the Chicago Fire and then most recently with the Houston Dynamo. Beasley won the 2000 and 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with the Fire.

DaMarcus Beasley's U.S. Men's National Team Moments

ussoccer.com remembers some of former Men's National Team player DaMarcus Beasley's best moments with the USA!

Sneak a Peek Inside Tim Howard's New Book "The Keeper"

I will never forget our bus ride to the Loftus Versfeld, the Pretoria stadium where we’d play our win-or-go-home match against Algeria. All along the route, American fans stood on the road, waving and cheering. By the time Loftus came into view, the bus had to roll to a stop. A sea of supporters stretched out in all directions. Some wrapped themselves in American flags, others had painted stars and stripes on their faces, and everyone rocked the national colors—red, white, and blue. They held up scarves like one might see at a Premier League match except these said LAND OF THE FREE. They held up signs proclaiming ONE NATION. ONE TEAM, and DIVERSE. HUNGRY. UNITED. AMERICA. Fans were rapping on the windows screaming “USA!” They also held up our bus—not that anyone minded. We were so far from home, and yet all these fans made us feel like were home. “Holy crap,” said Carlos. “This is awesome.” 

The game was scoreless for 90 minutes. A draw wouldn’t be good enough for us; to advance we had to win. At a certain point, tactics went out the window. Defensive principles? Gone. The notion that a soccer game might be a chess match? Forget about it. With the clock ticking down and the prospect of our World Cup ending, there was no time for rhyme or reason. If we had a strategy, it was this: throw everything we have at them and hope they break. 

We attacked with three strikers and a midfield that marauded forward with only one thing on its mind: putting the ball in the back of their net. Algeria massed as many as nine players in front of their goal. Still we had chance after chance. We hit the post. We had a goal called back for offsides. We did everything but score. I watched on full alert, thinking, All we need is one play, one moment of inspiration where we catch them on their heels. And then, a minute into stoppage time, it arrived.

Algeria’s Rafik Saïfi had a clear header at goal but it was weak and straight at me. The ball bounced and I caught it. I had to move fast. There was no time to survey the field and pick out a safe outlet. There wasn’t time to even look up. I had to operate on instinct. My instincts were formed on the fields of New Jersey with my goalkeeping coach Tim “Mulch” Mulqueen hammering certain lessons into my brain. When the ball comes in from the left, look to the right. A split second after catching that ball, I knew—I just knew—that Landon would be tearing down the right flank. And because the game had been stretched wide open in those final frantic minutes, all those players abandoning their positions in their desperation to score, I also knew there’d be acres of green grass in front of him. So I hurled that ball as far as I could to where Landon would be by the time it landed. It came to rest at his feet, like Mulch always insisted it would.

Landon set off toward the Algeria goal, 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards, chewing up the space as he searched for an open teammate. He pushed the ball ahead to Jozy, who picked out Clint across the box. I thought Clint would finish it but at the exact moment that he reached Jozy’s pass, the Algerian goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi threw himself bravely at Dempsey’s feet. The ball ricocheted off their keeper and away from goal. For a moment, it looked to most of the world like we were going home.

But my eyes were on Landon. He was still running, accelerating as he moved closer to the ball. I’m not even sure the Algerian defenders knew he was there. That’s the thing about Landon. He doesn’t broadcast his presence like some of the flashier players. He glides in, cool-as-you-like, and no matter how high the stakes, no matter how pressurized the situation is, he does what Landon always does—executes the finish with flawless precision.

There were 92 minutes on the clock. The ball had traveled from goal line to goal line in a few historic seconds before Landon buried it in the back of their net.

Landon raced toward the corner flag. He stretched out his arms and dove, bodysurfing along the grass. Benny Feilhaber slid behind him. Then everyone got in on it. All the guys on the field. All the guys on the bench. The coaches. The staff. Everyone. They ran toward Landon and threw themselves on top of him, one after another. Jozy flew onto the pileup like he was Superman. Jay DeMerit finished it off with a rolling somersault over the whole delirious gang. I watched the jubilation from the far end of the field. I kneeled down and touched the grass, five precise touches. I stood. I kissed my goalkeeper’s gloves, and raised my arms toward the sky.

“Thank you,” I said, looking up. “Thank you.”

U.S. Soccer Announces Ambitious Schedule for MNT in First Half of 2015

CHICAGO (Dec. 9, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will embark on arguably its most challenging schedule of friendly matches in team history with seven top quality friendlies in the first half of 2015, highlighted by a string of three matches against regional rival Mexico, 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany and fifth-ranked Netherlands. 

The United States will face five teams ranked in the top 20 in the world and compete on three continents in advance of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup that will take place from July 7-26 in the United States. Additional friendlies will be announced in the near future. 

The U.S. will open at Chile on Jan. 28 before facing Panama in its first home match a little more than a week later on Feb. 8 at StubHub Center in Carson, California (TICKETS). After two away matches during the international window in March against Denmark and Switzerland, the concentration will turn to one of the biggest rivalries in international soccer when the U.S. faces Mexico, Presented by AT&T, on April 15 at a location still to be announced. 

In final preparations for the Gold Cup, the U.S. will face two of the top three finishers of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On June 5, the U.S. will travel to face third-place finisher Netherlands before heading to Cologne, Germany, to face the world champion at Rhein Energie Stadion. 

U.S. Soccer’s new partnership agreements with ESPN, FOX and Univision begin in 2015, providing unprecedented coverage of the National Teams. Every match will be broadcast by either ESPN or FOX Sports, as well as simulcast on UniMas and Univision Deportes Network. 

“We want to consistently benchmark ourselves against the top teams in the world, and to give new and different challenges to our players. Competition gives your team an opportunity to grow, and this schedule allows us to do that,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “At the same time, our most important goal for the senior National Team in 2015 is to win the Gold Cup and qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017, and these games will be excellent preparation.” 

Date

Opponent

Venue

Television

Jan. 28

Chile

Away (TBD)

FOX Sports 2, UniMas, UDN

Feb. 8

Panama

StubHub Center; Carson, California

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

March 25

Denmark

Away (TBD)

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

March 31

Switzerland

Stadion Letzigrund; Zurich, Switzerland

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

April 15

Mexico

Home (TBD)

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

June 5

Netherlands

Away (TBD)

ESPN Network, UniMas, UDN

June 10

Germany

Rhein Energie Stadion; Cologne, Germany

FOX Sports 1, UniMas, UDN

Tickets for USA-Panama on Feb. 8 go on sale to the general public Monday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. PT through ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12-6 p.m.).

Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.

As a sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Visa is pleased to offer all Visa cardholders access to an advance ticket sale for this match before the sale to the general public. This advance sale starts Friday, Dec. 12, and runs from 10 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. PT at ussoccer.com. Visa will be the only payment method accepted through the Visa presale and is the preferred card of U.S. Soccer. Terms and conditions apply. 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Netherlands earned a third-place finish in the 2014 FIFA World Cup after a comprehensive 3-0 shutout against Brazil.
  • Chile advanced out of one of the most difficult groups in Brazil, defeating Spain and Australia before losing to Brazil in penalties in the Round of 16. This will be the USA’s first friendly on South American soil since its last visit to Chile in 2000.
  • Switzerland was one of seven seeded teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup
  • The USA-Mexico match, presented by AT&T, comes off two historic results for the U.S. against El Tri during the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying in 2013, including earning its first road point from Mexico since 1997.
  • Denmark is currently in first place of Group I ahead of Portugal in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship.
  • Goals from Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson in second-half stoppage time snatched a spot in the World Cup away from Panama and gave the U.S. a first-place finish in CONCACAF qualifying for Brazil.

DeAndre Yedlin, Morgan Brian and Gavin Sibayan Earn 2014 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Honors

CHICAGO (Dec. 4, 2014) – DeAndre Yedlin has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year, Morgan Brian has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year and Gavin Sibayan has been voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Disabled Athlete of the Year.

U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard earned Male Athlete of the Year honors last month and awards season wraps up when FOX Sports 1 announces the Female Athlete of the Year live on Dec. 6 during its coverage of the FIFA Women's World Cup Draw from 12-1 p.m. ET. Post-draw coverage continues for an additional 30 minutes on FOX Sports 2, and viewers will have access to the full 90-minute Draw Show via the FOX Sports GO app.

Yedlin’s star has risen for the past two years, punctuated by a breakout performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he made three appearances that led to a transfer to English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. The 21-year-old was one of seven players to make at least 10 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team this year. A Seattle Sounders FC Academy product, Yedlin become a regular in MLS and helped the Sounders capture the league’s Supporters Shield as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.

“It’s an absolute honor to win this award,” said Yedlin. “I would like to thank my teammates, my family, and most of all the fans for the amazing support for our team. It was a tremendous year for a lot of young players, and we all share the dream of continuing to have the opportunity to represent our country.”

Brian has earned 13 caps so far in 2014 as the youngest member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, scoring two goals and helping the team qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She also led Virginia to the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup being played tomorrow and tied the NCAA Tournament single-game record with five assists in a first-round victory.

“The group of players who have won this award have gone on to do some great things and to be listed among them is a true honor and very humbling,” said Brian. “The last two years playing with the National Team have been amazing. I’ve been fortunate to have so many talented people around me and I’ve learned so much from all of my teammates and coaches.”

Sibayan, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant who served in Iraq, played in every game of the 2014 Americas Cup in Canada this past September to help the U.S. Paralympic National Team earn the bronze medal. The Colorado Springs native also helped the U.S. PNT claim second at the 9th International Trophy of 7-a-Side Football in Barcelona, Spain, with an unbeaten run – the first time the team went unbeaten at an international tournament for 10 years.

“I’m honored,” said Sibayan. “I have a lot of pride for the U.S. and it’s a big honor to just play on the team. The group we have assembled is a great bunch of guys. We’re getting better and making some great progress on our team right now.”

The U.S. Soccer Young Male and Young Female Athlete of the Year honors have been awarded since 1998, when forwards Josh Wolf and Cindy Parlow won the respective awards, while the Disabled Athlete of the Year honor was first awarded to Felicia Schroeder in 2012.

JK Q&A: Klinsmann Closes the Book on 2014 and Previews 2015

After finishing off the 2014 slate with a pair of friendlies against Colombia and Ireland in the United Kingdom, U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss the state of the team as it sets sail on the new 2018 World Cup cycle.

ussoccer.com: Having thoroughly reviewed both games, what are the key points you take away? To what extent are the results important? 

Jurgen Klinsmann: “Results are always important because results over time bring you confidence and give you more respect towards opponents and other countries watching you. But, on the other hand, playing these games in another environment, especially far away from the United States is always a learning curve. It's an experiment where you can bring in players who never really experienced this type of atmosphere or circumstances. Therefore it was two very important games where I hope the players took a lot with them at the end of the day.” 

“Obviously for us coaches we saw a lot of things we want to see and also a lot of things we don’t want to see, especially in the 4-1 loss to Ireland. There were too many individual mistakes, especially on the second and third goal, that you can’t afford on the international level.”

“I still think it was definitely worth it. We were excited about a couple of players coming in being fresh. Bill Hamid made his start there against Ireland and experienced really the international level. Jordan Morris played his first cap, Rubio Rubin came in and we see some talent coming through. Will it take time for them? Absolutely, but you got to start that process and it’s better earlier than too late. So we start the process already and we're excited for them.”

ussoccer.com: One of the key goals of this last camp was establish a mentoring environment between the veterans and the youngsters. Were you pleased with how that went, and what are the next steps there?

JK: “It was the overall theme that we wanted to use the last couple of games: to build relationships between the older players and some of the younger players to be their mentors, to be their guides in a certain way, to help from their experience. We wanted guys like Brad Guzan, Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones and others to make the younger players understand what it takes to drive towards hopefully one day a World Cup because they already have a couple World Cups under their belts. This mentorship that we've started now will continue in the future because we want the younger players to grow and we want them to very fast understand that it takes a lot of inner drive and self-motivation and professionalism to get to that level where the established older guys have played already. So this theme will go with us into the future and it will be interesting to see how it develops.”

ussoccer.com: You said the goalkeeper position is an open competition. You've had a variety of them in camp and were able to spread around minutes. How would you assess that situation?

JK: “I think the goalkeeper situation is going well. Obviously Tim Howard is taking a year off, so Brad Guzan jumps in as the natural fit right away. He proves that he is ready to be the No. 1. Nick Rimando is knocking at the door and he would like to have that spot too. For us it's also important that we bring along Billy Hamid and Sean Johnson who were our Olympic team goalkeepers of the last cycle. So we have to bring them into those environments, train them on the highest level, but also here and there give them a game. That's why Bill Hamid started that game against Ireland and did well; I had no issues at all [with his performance]. Right now, it's not about defining No. 1, 2, and 3 and setting it in stone because we're in a transition year going into next summer's Gold Cup. Prior to the Gold Cup we will make it clear, so this year gives us the opportunity to have a closer look at all of them.”

ussoccer.com: Part of the goal of these friendlies is to get players experience. In what ways does making extensive substitutions impact a match?

JK: “Playing friendly games and having the substitution rule where you can bring in six players obviously changes the dynamic of games, especially towards the end of games. When you bring in subs in order to give them a chance, in order to give them experience, you sort of risk the result. Either way - it could go the good way or it could go the bad way. When you come in as a sub and you're down a goal, it's far more difficult to give an impact than if you're up a goal when everything is positive and you might hit another goal from your end. So it's not always easy for the subs to make an impression, but if we don't do it, we miss out on too big an opportunity for these players to gain experience. So, we compromised the substitutions in a friendly game for some results. Do we want the results at the same time? Absolutely, but here and there you’ve got do it for the big picture.”

ussoccer.com: Two of the surprise call-ups during the post-World Cup friendlies were Miguel Ibarra and Jordan Morris. How did they fare, and are you open to bringing in other players in similar circumstances as them?

JK:We believe Miguel Ibarra coming from the NASL and Jordan Morris coming from college that there are players in those areas that have tremendous talent. So we are looking at their talent and where it could be in two to four years from now if you give them time to grow and nurture them. Basically it's gone extremely well so far, so we are looking for players all over the place - if they come through the European channels, maybe through the youth system there, through Mexico or the NASL or the college route or the MLS ranks.

“The players themselves need to prove that they have this inner drive and they have an understanding of what it takes to grow into an established player on the international level. Our job is to identify their talent and then build it. Hopefully they make the right choices then down the road in terms of their own career and their own club environment, but it’s encouraging to see these two young players leading the way for hopefully many other players in the future to break through.”

ussoccer.com: Morris made his debut when he came on against Ireland. How did you rate his performance?

JK: “For us coaches it’s really important for us to see the talent growing one step at a time. With Jordan Morris you have a player that comes from the college system; he comes from Stanford. He has a specific rhythm there in the college environment, so we kind of had a closer look at him with the Olympic team first, then I brought him to the Czech Republic. We saw him grow now over the last half year to a year and he did better and better because he gets more and more confident and believes in himself. So when the moment came actually to add him in to the Ireland game, it was a tricky moment because we were down. But he settled in and he had good moments. He was good in one-on-one situations. If he's a bit lucky he gives an assist to Greg Garza to score a goal. So we were very happy and we continue to build him and bring him in like with the other younger players.”

ussoccer.com: How would you assess the Jermaine Jones transition to centerback? Is something you plan on continuing?

JK: “Jermaine Jones growing into this role as a right center back is encouraging for us to see that we have another option, another card if we need him to play. Is he more of a midfielder? Yes, that's where he played his whole life. Does he see himself as a midfielder? Probably, but we see that at his age he has tremendous experience and leadership to guide a back line, especially with young players coming through like John Anthony Brooks. They are the ones who need that leadership from him on the back line. It's good to have this drive from Jermaine. Going forward this will be important for us. It could be that he has to settle with this role; we'll see. We'll see with the development of all the other players in that role as well, but we're looking good in terms of center backs.”

ussoccer.com: Tim Howard was voted the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. What can you say about his performance in 2014?

JK:When you talk about Timmy, you talk about the Belgium game where I don’t know how many shots he saved, but he really was our backbone to stay in the game and to go all the way into extra time and almost actually beat Belgium. That was a remarkable performance from him that I think everybody would talk about right away. He's a tremendous personality, a very calm, quiet leader. Obviously he has all the experience that you need in his position but also in his career. He's played pretty much his entire career in Europe on a very high level, so he's a role model for many, many young players coming through the ranks and not only goal keepers, also field players. It's just great to have him.” 

ussoccer.com: You will be attending the Nike Friendlies and the Development Academy Showcase at the end of the month. What is on the agenda there? 

JK: “For us coaches it's important to see what the talent is doing on a younger level so going to the Nike Friendlies, seeing our U-17s competing with teams like Brazil, Australia and England is quite exciting. I was there last year and it was neat to see. It's also important for us to connect with the Academy program, with the coaches from the Academy clubs, with a lot of people who are down there and seeing things first hand. That's why I called in my coaching staff, assistant coaches and other people to have a closer look at the young players. It's important to always be up to speed with the development on the youth side.”

ussoccer.com: Many of the players are now heading into their offseason. What will your message be to them on how to bridge the gap between now and the start of their next season? 

JK: “For us it's a tricky situation. MLS players are pretty much done, NASL players are done, the college season gets to an end, Mexico plays its own agenda and the Europeans now are going full steam basically until the end of May. We're monitoring all of them, their club teams, we're keeping in touch with their coaches and with themselves as well. It's a lot of scouting. It's a lot of communication, a lot of tracking down the right people to get the right information. What we hope from them is absolutely to establish their starter position stronger and stronger. This is the biggest challenge for them. This is what quite a lot of them lost after the World Cup. For us this is a bad situation to develop a National Team program with players not starting in their club situations. Hopefully they get that done over the next couple weeks and we can look at it a little bit calmer.”  

ussoccer.com: You have considered different approaches to the January camp, including not having one at all. Why is this camp important and what will be the focus in terms of roster and schedule? 

JK: “With the tricky situation that we have in the United States that now we have the season for the MLS players going towards the end and a lot of them having a break of almost two or three months, we are forced to hold a January camp to try and get the players in early in order to build their foundation for the season. It probably will go with the theme we had the last couple of months, bringing experienced players, bringing a lot of younger players in and kind of meld them together and have that mentorship for the developmental aspect of it.

“We want to explain a lot more what it takes to get to the international level - that you have to be on top of your game on the field, but you also have to be on top of your life off the field. With that schedule that we carry in the United States that we only get a nine, nine-and-a-half month season, we can't compete with the nations that go 11 months through. We're missing two months basically, so we try to bridge that with camps. We keep working, we keep explaining, we keep educating, which is very important on the field and off the field. It's going to be an exciting January camp like all the other ones in the past.” 

ussoccer.com: Next year has been described as one of the most challenging schedules the National Team has ever put together in terms of the opponents as well as the competitions which would suggest a significant growth opportunity. How important is it to have the full team available?

JK: “Looking forward to 2015, obviously there's an exciting Gold Cup on the agenda in July, which we want to badly win because it takes us to the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia. Certainly there are challenges with the FIFA fixture dates. The calendar is not in sync with MLS, so hopefully we're getting closer with MLS to solve that situation so that we can always call the strongest team possible for senior National Team games, which is very important to us because we want to do well and we want to get the results. We can't always compromise our players on this side or the other side, so having that calendar together would help us tremendously.

“2015 will be a year of developing talent on and off the field. The theme will be education. Education wherever we can. We want to educate more on the coaching side, we want to educate on the players side, we want to educate on the parents side about what it really takes to become a professional. What's exciting for us is we're building our own counseling office with Nelson Rodriguez leading it. This is a huge step. It's something we copied a bit from the universities where we try to establish contact with the players and their parents early in order to help them understand what you need to know to become a pro. So there will be a lot of educational topics out there. We want to improve coaching education wherever we can because it's crucial, and we want to challenge our players and not let them settle, not even for a second, for whatever they have achieved up to that point. We want to grow our program and one day compete with the best in the world, so it means a lot of hard work in 2015.”

Tim Howard Voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

CHICAGO (Nov. 20, 2014) – Goalkeeper Tim Howard has been voted the 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, with the announcement taking place earlier today live on ESPN’s SportsCenter. This is Howard’s second time winning AOTY, previously earning the honor in 2008.

The three-time FIFA World Cup veteran becomes the fifth player to win Male Athlete of the Year on multiple occasions, joining defender Marcelo Balboa (1992, 1994), goalkeeper Kasey Keller (1997, 1999 and 2005), forward Landon Donovan (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010) and forward Clint Dempsey (2007, 2011 and 2012).

“It’s an honor. I know the winners on the list who have come before me, so it’s special to have my name up there,” Howard said on SportsCenter. “The whole ride with the team for about a month and a half, when we got together for training camp and we flew down to Brazil, we had a really good time and that made 2014 so special to me.”

A new voting process took place this year, with votes collected from Men’s National Team players earned a cap in 2014, Men’s National Team and Youth Men’s National Team coaches, Major League Soccer and North American Soccer League head coaches and select former players, administrators and media members.

Howard received 64 percent of the tabulated votes, followed by Jermaine Jones (19 percent) and Kyle Beckerman (11 percent).

This year, Howard became the USA’s all-time leader in career wins with 55 (breaking Keller’s record of 53) and goalkeeper appearances with 104 (breaking Keller’s record of 102). Howard also had a memorable 2014 FIFA World Cup that included a tournament-record 15 saves during the USA’s 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium in the first knockout round on July 1.

The U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year has been awarded since 1984, when midfielder Rick Davis earned the first Athlete of the Year honor.

Also on Thursday, U.S. Soccer unveiled its nominees for 2014 Young Male Athlete of the Year, Young Female Athlete of the Year and Disabled Athlete of the Year. The nominees in each category are:

  • Young Male Athlete of the Year Nominees: Mukwelle Akale, midfielder; Emerson Hyndman, midfielder; Christian Pulisic, midfielder; Haji Wright, forward; DeAndre Yedlin, defender (A Look at the Nominees)
  • Young Female Athlete of the Year Nominees: Morgan Brian, midfielder; Rose Lavelle, midfielder; Samantha Mewis, midfielder; Mallory Pugh, midfielder; Katelyn Rowland, goalkeeper (A Look at the Nominees)
  • Disabled Athlete of the Year Nominees: Meghan Maiwald, Deaf Soccer; Natalie Russo, Power Soccer; Gavin Sibayan, Paralympic Soccer (A Look at the Nominees)

The nominees for U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year will be unveiled in the coming days.

Photo Gallery: Tim Howard - U.S. Soccer 2014 Male Athlete of the Year

Photos from Tim Howard's 2014 season with the U.S. Men's National Team. Howard was voted U.S. Soccer's 2014 Male Athlete of the Year, the second time he has earned U.S. Soccer's most prestigious player award in his international career; he also earned the honor in 2008. 

Academy Product Morris Makes National Team Leap

The U.S. Men’s National Team dropped its final game of the year against the Republic of Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Yet, with every negative comes a positive, and in the case of Development Academy alum and current Stanford University striker Jordan Morris, the game versus Ireland represented a truly special night.

Morris came in the game during the second-half as a substitution in the 76th minute. The moment marked his debut with the MNT.

“Obviously it wasn't the result we wanted,” Morris said of the game. “But it's something I've been dreaming of since I was a little kid, so it was an unbelievable honor and a great experience.”

Morris, who scored a game-winner for the U.S. U-23 MNT against the Bahamas in August, was named the 2012-13 Development Academy Player of the Year for the U-18 age group while playing for the Seattle Sounders FC Academy. He is the first active college player to be included on a roster under Klinsmann.

“I was super excited,” Morris said of being called into the MNT roster. “Talking to Jurgen, he stresses patience, and I think that that's a thing you've got to learn, especially moving up in the ranks, that there are such good players all over the place, so it's going to be tough to get on the field. I was definitely itching to get on and was going to make the most of it when I did get on. I'm happy it happened. It was really exciting.”

Morris’ Academy ties and his incredible success at Stanford, the 2014 Pac-12 Champions, have allowed him to become one of the new youngsters that Klinsmann is excited to keep challenging on the path toward the next World Cup.  

“We’re happy for some that made kind of their starts today,” said Klinsmann of the fresh faces that played against Ireland. “Whether it’s Jordan Morris or Bill Hamid from the start in goal, those are the experiences they need, the younger ones, so we’ll take it.”

Also excited to see new faces get their first taste of what it means to play in the National Team is veteran forward Jozy Altidore, who despite only being 25 years old, is one of the players Klinsmann hopes can share some advice and help this new group be successful.

”I remember my first cap and how special it was for me, what I took with it, along in my career. I'm honored that I get to see now a lot of these guys come through and have that same experience.”

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