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Final 23-Player 2002 U.S. World Cup Roster Unveiled by
Head Coach Bruce Arena
CHICAGO (Monday, April 22, 2002) After three-and-a-half years and 57 games at the helm of the U.S. Men's National Team, head coach Bruce Arena has selected the 23 players who will represent the U.S. at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. The announcement was made today on ESPN's SportsCenter, just 37 days before the world's largest sporting event kicks off in Korea/Japan on May 31.
"After an exhaustive process and many successes and challenges over the last four years, we have selected the 23 players who we believe will give us the best chance of success at the 2002 FIFA World Cup," said Arena, who has guided the U.S. to an impressive 7-3-1 record in 11 games in 2002, which includes seven games against other teams competing at the World Cup and a 2002 Gold Cup championship.
"There were many difficult decisions to be made in selecting this roster, thanks to the hard work and effort of all the players who have been involved in the national team program throughout the process. To those who won't be with us, I want to extend my sincere gratitude for their contribution to the program. We will now turn our attention to getting this group physically and mentally prepared for the challenges of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. We are looking forward to focusing for the next five weeks on continuing to improve as a team. I am confident that come June 5 this team will be equipped to give a great performance in Korea."
Arena's selections are highlighted by the inclusion of seven players who will be representing the U.S. in their third overall World Cup, including U.S. captain Claudio Reyna (Sunderland England), all-time U.S. World Cup qualifying goal scoring leader Earnie Stewart (NAC Breda Holland), all-time U.S. appearance leader Cobi Jones (L.A. Galaxy) and second all-time leading scorer Joe-Max Moore (Everton England).
All three U.S. goalkeepers named to the roster will be a part of their third World Cup team, with Brad Friedel (Liverpool England) making his third consecutive World Cup squad. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller (Tottenham England) was previously a member of the 1990 and 1998 U.S. World Cup teams, while Tony Meola (Kansas City Wizards) played every game for the U.S. in 1990 and 1994.
Of the teams 23 players, 12 currently play in Major League Soccer and 11 play professionally in Europe. Altogether, 17 players on the U.S. World Cup roster have played professionally in MLS. The Chicago Fire lead the way with three players on the squad, all of whom are making their first appearance for the U.S. in a World Cup (forward Josh Wolff, and midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Chris Armas). The defending MLS champion San Jose Earthquakes placed 20-year-old Landon Donovan on the squad, as well as veteran defender Jeff Agoos, who made his debut for the U.S. in 1988 and was a part of the 1998 World Cup squad, but has yet to appear in a game at the World Cup finals, despite earning 127 career caps.
In addition to Agoos, forward Brian McBride (Columbus Crew) and defenders Frankie Hejduk (Bayer Leverkusen), Eddie Pope (D.C. United) and David Regis (F.C. Metz France) will all be a part of their second straight World Cup squad, having represented the U.S. at France in 1998. McBride, who scored the teams lone goal in France, ranks fourth all-time for the U.S. with 18 international goals and earlier this year scored the sixth hat trick in U.S. Mens National Team history (in a 4-0 Gold Cup victory over El Salvador on Jan. 27).
Forward Clint Mathis leads a contingent of 11 players making their first World Cup appearance, which includes fellow MLS standouts Carlos Llamosa (New England Revolution) and Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids). Mathis recently had a run of seven consecutive starts in which he recorded at least one point and has compiled an amazing eight goals and six assists in just 19 career international games, while Mastroeni receives the distinction of being the only player on the final roster who did not make an appearance for the U.S. during World Cup qualifying.
The four European-based players appearing in their first World Cup are veterans defenders Gregg Berhalter (Crystal Palace England) and Tony Sanneh (Nürnberg Germany), and midfielders Eddie Lewis (Fulham England) and John OBrien (Ajax Holland).
Beyond the official 23-player roster, Arena also named 10 alternates from which he will choose a replacement should any of the final-roster players go down with an injury between now and May 20, the deadline for teams to submit their official World Cup rosters to FIFA. Those players include goalkeepers Tim Howard (MetroStars) and Zach Thornton (Chicago Fire); defenders Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96 Germany), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes) and Greg Vanney (F.C. Bastia France); midfielders Brian Maisonneuve (Columbus Crew), Brian West (Columbus Crew) and Richie Williams (D.C. United); and forwards Jovan Kirovski (Crystal Palace England) and Ante Razov (Chicago Fire).
The U.S. will reconvene in Cary, N.C., on May 1 for 10 days of training at the State Capital Soccer Park before embarking on the teams three-game "Nike Road to Korea". Before playing their World Cup send-off match against Holland on May 19 (live on ABC at 2 p.m. ET) at the new CMGI Field in Boston, the U.S. will face Uruguay on May 12 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (live on ABC at 2 p.m. ET),and then travel north to face Jamaica on May 16 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (live on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. ET; delayed on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. ET). All three games will be broadcast live on the Futbol de Primera radio network.
Source: US SOCCER