FC Dallas defender Heath Pearce has been chosen among the 30 players U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has selected for the squad’s preliminary roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Pearce will join the U.S. National Team training camp in Princeton, N.J. on Sunday following FCD’s contest at Philadelphia. The U.S. squad will train there for two weeks, playing friendlies against the Czech Republic and Turkey before the final 23-man squad is announced on June 1.
A native of Modesto, Calif., Pearce joined FC Dallas in September 2009 after spending four years playing first with FC Nordsjælland of the Danish Superliga and later with Hansa Rostock of the German Bundesliga. He has started every game for FC Dallas during the 2010 MLS season, appearing as both a defender and a midfielder on the left and right sides.
We caught up with the 25-year-old Pearce, who has more than 30 caps with the U.S. National Team, just after learning of his selection.
FCDallas.com: How does it feel to make the 30-man U.S. roster?
Heath Pearce: It’s a great feeling, it’s an honor. It’s been a long four years that I’ve been part of the U.S. National Team and to be able to be part of this final 30 is a great honor. I’m really excited about going into camp.
FCDallas.com: Going into camp, what will be your focus on the field toward proving you deserve a spot on the team?
Pearce: I think going into camp my main idea is to take each day one at a time and make the most of it each day, to remember that it’s things that I’ve done prior to this that have gotten me there but it’s going to require a lot more to make that final 23.
FCDallas.com: If you were to make the squad, what would it mean to you to represent your country at the World Cup?
Pearce: To represent my country at the World Cup is the highest honor you can have in soccer. Any time that you put on the jersey and you’re representing your country, no matter what the game is, you’re an ambassador for the sport and an ambassador for your country. You have to wear it with pride, and to be able to do that at the highest level would be a dream come true.
FCDallas.com: How important is your play this spring for FC Dallas toward your chances of making the squad?
Pearce: I think it’s extremely important. I think the most important thing is the results we’re getting as a team. Any time that you’re getting the results as a team and doing well as a team, it’s always going to make individuals look better. It’s always important to be consistent and continue to develop, and I think FC Dallas has really helped me to become a better player. So in terms of increasing my chances, I think it’s about getting the results that we’ve been getting and putting ourselves in a position to win each game.
FCDallas.com: Has it helped you to play multiple positions for FC Dallas and perhaps show your versatility?
Pearce: I think it’s definitely helped me become a better player because any time you can play multiple positions it gives you a better chance of being selected. With the World Cup looming, to be able to show that I can play multiple positions can only increase my chances.
FCDallas.com: Regardless of whether you make the World Cup squad, how does the experience of playing with the USMNT improve your game?
Pearce: I think it’s just the overall level of training and level of games. The international level is just a whole other level from the club level, so to play with the U.S. National Team and train with them day in, day out like I have on numerous occasions, it steps your game up. It teaches you to play fast, think fast and really increases your confidence to be able to play at a level with players that you see playing on TV every weekend.
FCDallas.com: You’ll be leaving the team after the Philadelphia game to head to training camp – with the team on a win streak right now, any mixed emotions?
Pearce: I think the team has been doing really well. I feel like I’ve helped contribute to getting results, but I also think that we have a number of players who are able to do that, and during that time that I’ll be gone I know there’s a player capable of stepping in and being a contributor right from the start. It’ll be sad to miss the games that I’ll be missing, but on the other side it’s been a real honor so far to play for FC Dallas and hopefully I’ll get to play many more games with them.