December 21, 2010
Bradley calls in youngsters for U.S. National Team
CHICAGO — Looking ahead to the next World Cup cycle, U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley has called in a youth-laden group of 24 players for training ahead of the January 22 game against Chile at the Home Depot Center (9pm ET).
The group will begin gathering Jan. 4 at U.S. Soccer's National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
"The timing is right to assess many of the younger players and to broaden the player pool as we look forward to the next three years,” said Bradley. “These extended camps give the coaching staff an opportunity to work with these players closely, and at the same time expose them to what the environment and expectations are like at the international level. We have a good feel for the veteran players in the pool, several of whom are coming off long seasons, and we certainly expect many of them to be part of the program for the important tournaments this year.”
The annual camp held in January for players in their offseason is a largely domestic-based group that includes 20 players who ply their trade in the United States, and the coaching staff is taking full advantage of the opportunity to assess new talent. With an average age of just above 23 years old, half of the players can earn their first cap for the full team.
Major League Soccer is well represented, with 10 clubs contributing a total of 20 players to the Carson camp. Eight players come from the MLS Cup finalists, four each from 2010 champion Colorado Rapids and runners up FC Dallas following a thrilling championship settled in overtime. Matt Pickens, Anthony Wallace and Marvell Wynne helped anchor the Rapids defense while Jeff Larentowicz patrolled the center of the park; on the other side, Ugo Ihemelu and Brek Shea started for FC Dallas. Shea has the most recent experience with the full team, making his debut on Oct. 12 against Colombia. A trio of Los Angeles Galaxy defenders will move to a different locker room at The HDC, including 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year Omar Gonzalez, who got his first international appearance on Aug. 10 against Brazil and was named to the 2010 MLS Best XI. San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondoloski joined him on the Best XI after scoring 18 goals - including nine game-winners - and capturing the MLS Golden Boot.
After becoming the first U.S. Soccer Development Academy alumnus to play for the full national team, Juan Agudelo made his first appearance memorable by becoming the youngest player in the modern era to score for the United States when he tallied the lone goal in the 1-0 win on Nov. 17 against South Africa. He was joined on the field that day by Red Bull teammate and MLS Rookie of the Year finalist Tim Ream, who also heads to Carson. At the other end of the spectrum, two-time MLS Cup winner Nick Rimando is the oldest player on the roster at 31 years old. The MVP of the 2009 MLS Cup has four caps to his credit.
Alejandro Bedoya leads the small European-based contingent, the Örebro midfielder having earned six caps in 2010 and a spot on the 30-man preliminary roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Mikkel Diskerud returns after debuting in the 1-0 victory in the Nelson Mandela Challenge, having set up Agudelo for the game’s only goal. Dominic Cervi also rejoins after traveling to Cape Town with the team, while Ryan Miller gets his first call into a national team camp.
The roster boasts several players with youth World Cup experience. Wynne played in the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup on the U.S. team that finished first in Group D ahead of Argentina and Germany. Two years later, Dax McCarty and Wallace helped the U.S. once again top a Group D, eventually falling in the quarterfinals to Austria. Diskerud, Shea and Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson went with the U-20s to Egypt in 2009, and Agudelo was part of the U-17 squad that finished in second place in their group at the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Of the group heading into the January camp, a total of six players will be age eligible for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The U.S. roster:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Dominic Cervi (Celtic), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles Galaxy), Sean Franklin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Ryan Miller (Halmstads BK), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Anthony Wallace (Colorado Rapids), Marvell Wynne (Colorado Rapids)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Eric Alexander (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Sam Cronin (San Jose Earthquakes), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Dax McCarty (D.C. United), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Justin Braun (Chivas USA), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)