CHICAGO (Sept. 30, 2010) — 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 and Colombia. The U.S. first takes on Poland at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Sat., Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. CT, with the match to be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. Three days later, the U.S. will host South American rivals Colombia on Oct. 12 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Kickoff for the USA’s first match on the Chester waterfront is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer.
TICKETS: USA v COLOMBIA AT PPL PARK
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.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to gather many of our players based in Europe and continue to build on the foundation we established during the last four years," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "We believe we have a strong nucleus of talented players, many of whom we are going to challenge to assume greater leadership roles during the next four-year cycle. We certainly have ideas on how we want to move forward, and these games will be the start of that process."
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, where his fearless run and shot forced the rebound that set up the game-winning goal against Algeria. Dempsey tallied his first career goal for the national team when he scored against England on May 28, 2005 at Soldier Field. He is one of seven players on the roster who ply their trade in the English Premier League. Tim Howard – whose shutout against Algeria is only the second for the United States in 22 World Cup matches dating back to 1950 -
continues his long standing service as Everton’s first choice ‘keeper, while Stuart Holden has parlayed a starting role at Bolton into a new three-year contract.
Four players in the roster played every minute in South Africa this summer. Michael Bradley netted the game-tying goal in the 82nd minute of the 2-2 draw against Slovenia that salvaged the USA’s hopes for advancing in the tournament. Having recently been named captain at Hannover, Steve Cherundolo contributed perhaps his finest collection of performances in his national team career during the tournament.
Three players on the roster are playing on teams who currently lead their respective leagues. Carlos Bocanegra and Saint-Étienne are in first place in the French Ligue 1 after finishing in 17th place last season, going 5-1-1 to start the campaign. Maurice Edu has earned a regular starting role for defending Scottish Premier League champion Rangers – who are tied with rivals Celtic on points but ahead on goals scored - while Benny Feilhaber has scored five goals in his last three matches as AGF Aarhus hold the top spot in the 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. Villarreal are currently in second place in Spain’s La Liga behind Valencia and ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
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 of 2009. Jones had been sidelined by a shin injury for nearly a year. 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.
The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to South Africa to take on 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts South Africa on Nov. 17 at the magnificent Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. Coverage of the USA’s final match of the year begins at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, and the match will also be broadcast live on Galavision. Fans can follow the match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker or at twitter.com/ussoccer. The U.S. will be returning to South Africa for the first time since the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where they finished in first place in Group C ahead of England, Slovenia and Algeria before going out in the Round of 16.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Detailed Roster)
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)