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September 30, 2010
Bradley picks 20 for upcoming friendlies

CHICAGO— U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named 20 players to the roster that will prepare for the upcoming friendlies, against Poland Oct. 9 at Chicago’s Soldier Field, and Colombia Oct. 12 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.

Thirteen players on the roster were part of the squad that led the U.S. to a first place finish in group play at the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 80 years, and six of those are 25 years old or younger.

With the fixture dates falling during the heart of the MLS playoff race, Bradley elected to choose a largely European-based roster. The FC Dallas duo of Heath Pearce and Brek Shea will join the U.S. team in Philadelphia on Oct. 10 following their weekend league match.

“We understand this is a critical point in the season for teams in MLS,” said Bradley. “Given the circumstances, we felt it was important that the MLS players be given as much opportunity as possible to remain with their clubs and continue to make important contributions as the playoffs approach.”

Clint Dempsey returns to the national team for the first time since the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He is one of seven players on the roster who ply their trade in the English Premier League. Others include goalkeeper Tim Howard (Everton) and midfielder Stuart Holden (Bolton).

Four players in the roster played every minute in South Africa this summer, including Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach) Steve Cherundolo (Hannover).

Three players on the roster are playing on teams who currently lead their respective leagues: Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Étienne, French Ligue 1), Maurice Edu (Rangers, Scottish Premier League) and Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus, Danish 1st Divisionen).

Villarreal striker Jozy Altidore has seen action in each of the club’s matches in the UEFA Europa League, starting three of four games.

FC Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones is making his first appearance on a U.S. roster since becoming eligible to play for the United States in August 2009, and Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj has been named to the official roster for the full team for the first time, having participated in training in the team’s training camp in June prior to the USA’s final round qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras. Shea is the only other member for the squad seeking his first international cap.

Several members of the U.S. squad have ties to Chicago. Bocanegra played four years for the Chicago Fire, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2000 and back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year awards in 2002 and 2003 before heading overseas. Brad Guzan (Homer Glen), Lichaj (Downers Grove), and Jonathan Spector (Arlington Heights) are native to the area, while Michael Bradley played youth club soccer for U.S. Soccer Development Academy side Chicago Sockers FC.

In addition, U.S. coach Bob Bradley earned his first professional head coaching job with the Chicago Fire in 1998, launching the expansion franchise and capturing the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles in their debut season.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Étienne), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Jermaine Jones (FC Schalke), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Eddie Johnson (Fulham)

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