CHICAGO (May 20, 2018) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Dave Sarachan will once again put the prospects of the next generation of the MNT on display, calling 22 players to Philadelphia in advance of the team’s upcoming Memorial Day clash against Bolivia on May 28 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa.
Along with serving as the first of match of the team’s three-stop summer tour, the game will mark Christian Pulisic’s first with the MNT since October 2017. Fresh off completing his second full season with German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, the 19-year-old headlines a youthful roster whose average age will be 22 years, 286 days upon arrival to Philadelphia.
Tickets for the USA’s Memorial Day friendly are still available. Fans can also watch the match beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET on FS1, UniMás and UDN or follow along U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@ussoccer_MNT) and Instagram (@ussoccer_MNT) accounts.
“As I’ve talked about throughout this process, the theme is to offer opportunity to this younger generation of talented players that have potential down the road with the program,” Sarachan said. “We’ve had first-time call-ups in every camp since November, and this is another extension of that. We’re going into the Bolivia game with newer faces along with a few familiar players as well. Overall, these types of games provide great chances for players to bank key minutes in international matches.”
Following the Bolivia match, Sarachan will make numerous changes to the roster before the MNT’s two-game set in Europe.
The USA will visit Dublin’s Aviva Stadium to face the Republic of Ireland on Saturday, June 2 (3 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMás, UDN). A week later, the U.S. takes on star-studded France in Les Bleus’ final match before heading to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Kickoff for the June 9 clash at Groupama Stadium in Lyon is set for 3 p.m. ET (ESPN, UniMás, UDN).
CHRISTIAN PULISIC RETURNS TO MNT
The May camp marks Hershey, Pa., native Christian’s Pulisic’s first time back with the MNT since October 2017. The 19-year-old attacker was a mainstay with Borussia Dortmund this past season, making 41 competitive appearances while helping the Bundesliga club qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League. The U.S. Soccer 2017 Male Player of the Year Award winner was a revelation for the MNT last year, recording six goals and four assists in nine appearances. Pulisic’s 20 caps tie him with Joe Corona for most on the roster that will face Bolivia.
THE THEME OF 22
In choosing his roster to face Bolivia, head coach Dave Sarachan has continued to give the next generation of U.S. players the chance to earn their way with the MNT. As such, 22 isn’t just representative of the number of players that will arrive in Philadelphia, it’s also a recurring theme reflecting the youthful nature of the squad to face Bolivia. Upon arrival to Philadelphia, the squad’s average age will be 22 years, 286 days, while 15 are age 22 and under. To underline that point - but not make anyone feel too old -- only defenders Eric Lichaj (1988) and Jorge Villafaña (1989) were born before 1990.
PACKING THE PASSPORTS
Just like for the MNT’s March camp, the coaching staff has scouted and selected players plying their trade in 10 different countries across Europe and North America. The group includes first-time call-ups for players in Portugal (Keaton Parks), England (Matthew Olosunde) and Mexico (Alejandro Guido).
- As of May 20, the average age of the roster is 22 years, 286 days.
- Fifteen players are age 22 and under, while only two players were born before 1990.
- The 22-player roster represents clubs in nine different countries: England (8), Germany (4), Mexico (4), Belgium (1), Canada (1), Denmark (1), France (1), Portugal (1), USA (1).
- Twenty players are based in Europe or Mexico, while two – Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono and LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman -- represent MLS clubs.
- With 20 caps each, midfielders Joe Corona and Christian Pulisic are the most seasoned players internationally, followed by Jorge Villafaña (16) and Eric Lichaj (14).
- The group of 18 other players combine for 51 career caps, while none of them have made more than eight appearances for the MNT.
- Hailing from nearby Hershey, Pa., 2017 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year Christian Pulisic returns to the MNT for the first time since last October.
- Three players earn their first invitation to Men’s National Team camp: Alejandro Guido, Matthew Olosunde and Keaton Parks.
- Seven players will arrive in Philadelphia hoping to make their first MNT appearance: Alex Bono, Guido, Olosunde, Erik Palmer-Brown, Parks, Antonee Robinson, Josh Sargent
- Nine players are age-eligible for participation in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (born after Jan. 1, 1997): Cameron Carter-Vickers, Weston McKennie, Olosunde, Palmer-Brown, Parks, Pulisic, Robinson, Sargent and Tim Weah
- Matt Miazga comes to camp after scoring the game-winning goal in Vitesse’s 2-1 defat of Utrecht in the second leg of the Eredivisie’s Europa League Qualifying Playoff Final. Signed with English club Chelsea, Miazga has turned in another strong season on loan with the Dutch club, appearing in 43 of a possible 45 matches across all competitions this season, while contributing four goals.
- Twenty-year-old center back Cameron Carter-Vickers got a great taste of first-team football this past season, playing 17 league matches each on loan at Sheffield United and more recently Ipswich Town. Earlier this week, Carter-Vickers signed a contract extension with Tottenham Hotspur through 2021.
- Having made 17 appearances during the Clausura campaign, veteran defender Jorge Villafaña has helped Santos Laguna to the Liga MX Final. With Los Guerreros trailing Toluca 2-1 after Thursday’s first leg, Villafaña will arrive following the second leg Sunday night in Toluca.
- After becoming the third youngest MNT player during the modern era to score in his debut last November in Portugal, Weston McKennie arrives in Philadelphia fresh off his first full season with Schalke. The central midfielder made 22 league appearances in helping Die Knappen to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga and a spot in next season’s Champions League.
- On the heels of his first MNT appearance in March, forward Andrija Novakovich closed out his impressive campaign on loan from Reading with Dutch Erstedivisie side Telstar, scoring 21 goals in 37 league matches while helping the club to the promotion playoffs.
- The sole player on the roster with FIFA World Cup experience, Julian Green returns to the MNT for the first time since November 2016. Green comes off a season on loan with German side Greuther Fürth, where his goal on the final day of the season helped the club avoid relegation from the 2.Bundesliga.
- Son of 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year and current Liberian president George Weah, the eighteen-year-old Weah earned his first start for Paris Saint-Germain in the French champions’ 0-0 season-ending draw at Caen on Saturday.
- Veteran right back Eric Lichaj has made some special memories in the City of Brotherly Love. The defender earned his MNT debut in a 0-0 draw with Colombia at PPL Park (now Talen Energy Stadium) on Oct. 12, 2010, and then scored his first international goal in the MNT’s 2-0 Gold Cup Quarterfinal win against El Salvador at Lincoln Financial Field on July 19, 2017.
- A total of 10 players have been part of the final U.S. roster at a Youth World Cup: Carter-Vickers, Guido, Miazga, Olosunde, Palmer-Brown, Pulisic, Rubin, Sargent, Villafaña and Weah.
- Thirteen players are alumni of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: Bono (Empire United), Gooch (Santa Cruz Breakers), Hamid (D.C. United), Horvath (Real Colorado), McKennie (FC Dallas), Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG), Olosunde (New York Red Bulls), Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC), Pulisic (PA Classics), Rubin (Portland Timbers), Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri), Weah (New York Red Bulls/BW Gottschee), Yedlin (Crossfire Premier/Seattle Sounders FC)