USMNT Newbies: Justin Che, Matthew Hoppe and David Ochoa Earn First Chance With Senior Team

By: Michael Lewis

“In every camp we like to integrate young players into it. We feel like the program will benefit from giving these young players experiences early on. These are three players that fit the mold.”

Three players with promising futures and who seeking their first full international caps have been called into U.S. Men's National Team camp, as Justin Che, David Ochoa and Matthew Hoppe will train with the squad for the Switzerland international friendly in St. Gallen, Switzerland on May 30 (ESPN, UniMás, TUDN; 2 p.m. ET)


Justin Che, defender

“With Justin, he's a kid who is on loan at Bayern Munich has done a great job in their youth team and in their second team, and he has earned the opportunity to get called into camp. It’s going to be fun observing him and integrating him into what we do.”

One of several FC Dallas Academy graduates performing overseas, Justin Che, 17, recently competed his first season on loan with Bayern Munich II. The 6-1, 165-lb. Che started five of the seven games in which he played since making his debut in a 2-2 draw at Ingolstadt on April 10, 2021 in the third tier of German soccer.

Born in Richardson, Texas on Nov. 18, 2003, Che joined the FC Dallas Academy in 2009 and scored 18 goals in 84 matches in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy since 2016. At 16 years and 319 days old, he was the seventh youngest player to sign with FC Dallas as the organization's 30th Homegrown player on Oct. 2, 2020.

Che made his professional debut with the North Texas Soccer Club on July 25, 2020. Che performed so well that he was named to the 2020 USL League One Team of the Year. He started all 16 games, playing in 1,427 minutes and recording one assist.

Che, who can play center or right back, was the second FC Dallas Homegrown player to join Bayern on loan, following in the footsteps of Chris Richards. Richards finished the Bundesliga season on loan to Hoffenheim.

He has a Cameroonian father, Chris, and Russian mother, Angela. His maternal grandfather was born in Germany, making him eligible to play for the national teams of the United States, Cameroon, Russia and Germany.


David Ochoa, goalkeeper

“We felt that David had a strong Olympic Qualifying. Obviously the last game didn't go as planned, but overall he performed well. We realized that our goalkeeper pool lacks youth, and it will be good to get him integrated as soon as possible.”

David Ochoa was forced to drop out of the USMNT team training camp in December due to a right quadriceps injury. The 20-year-old keeper recovered and joined the Under-23 team and started three games at the Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament before the USA was eliminated in the semifinals by Honduras, 2-1, on March 28, 2021.

Considered one of the top U.S.  goalkeeping prospects, Ochoa has gotten off to an encouraging start with Real Salt Lake this season. He has allowed four goals in as many games (2-1-1 record) for a 1.00 goals-against average and one shutout through May 19. His most recent result was a scoreless home draw with Nashville SC on May 15 in which he recorded three saves.

After sitting the bench for 20 games last year, Ochoa made his Real Salt Lake debut, recording four saves in a 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Nov. 8.  The 6-2, 174-lb. Ochoa backstopped the Real Monarchs to the 2019 USL Championship crown. He started and played in 20 matches, securing four shutouts over 1,830 minutes.

Ochoa is no stranger to U.S. national sides, having played for the Under-16, U-18 and U-20 teams. He backstopped the U-20’s in two games at the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland. The Oxnard, Calif. native recorded a clean sheet in a 1-0 group-stage win over Qatar. Ochoa signed with RSL as a Homegrown player on Nov. 28, 2018.

He played four seasons for the RSL Academy team in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Ochoa is eligible to play for the USA or Mexico.


Matthew Hoppe, forward

“It’s been really great to watch his rise at Schalke.  To come on to score three goals in a Bundesliga game was amazing. He’s a young attacking talent, really good work great, really good energy. We’re really excited to see what he can do with our group.”

Matthew Hoppe made international headlines when he became the first American to register a hat-trick in the Bundesliga on Jan. 9, 2021, accomplishing the feat in Schalke 04's 3-0 win over Hoffenheim. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native pulled off his scoring heroics during an impressive 21-minute span. Then 19, Hoppe tallied his first Bundesliga goal in the 42nd minute, adding scores in the 57th and 63rd minutes.

He became the third U.S. player to score three goals in a game in a top European League, joining Clint Dempsey (Fulham) and Christian Pulisic (Chelsea).

An alumnus of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, Hoppe secured his hat-trick in his fifth league match as Schalke snapped a 30-game winless streak with its first league victory in almost a year. Hoppe was named the Bundesliga rookie of the month for January for his achievement.

On Feb. 1, 2021, he signed his first professional contract with Schalke, which runs through the 2022-23 season. Schalke, which will finish and in 18th place and last in the Bundesliga, recently was relegated to 2. Bundesliga for the 2021-22 campaign.

Hoppe, who turned 20 on March 13, finished the season with six goals over 21 games, 14 starts and 1,220 minutes.

While growing up in Orange County, Calif., the 6-3, 176-lb. Hoppe became of the most productive U.S. Soccer Development Academy goalscorers. After tallying 23 times in 56 appearances for several Strikers FC sides in 2015-17, he struck for 26 goals in 31 matches for Grand Sports Academy in 2017-18 and added 32 goals in 29 contests for the Barcelona Academy from 2017-19.