FRISCO, Texas (Dec. 21, 2010) – Four FC Dallas players were among the 24 named to the January training camp roster by U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley for the first training camp of 2011. The camp opens Jan. 4 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Eric Alexander, Ugo Ihemelu, Zach Loyd and Brek Shea join the group as it prepares for the USA’s first match of 2011, a friendly against fellow FIFA World Cup finalists Chile on Jan. 22 at The HDC. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CT, with broadcast information to be announced at a later date. Fans can follow the game live via ussoccer.com’s Match Tracker or on twitter @ussoccer.
"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, Ihemelu and Shea started for FC Dallas. Shea has the most recent experience with the full team, making his debut on Oct. 12 against Colombia.
It will be the first camp for Loyd and Alexander, who both just wrapped outstanding rookie seasons in MLS. Loyd appeared in 24 games for the Dallas side, starting 19, while Alexander made 12 starts and 17 appearances, notching two goals and three assists. As the reigning Western Conference Champions, FC Dallas earned its first trip to the MLS Cup in 2010 following a record-setting year that saw the club set MLS marks for its 19-game unbeaten streak and its 12-game road unbeaten streak. The Dallas side also tied the MLS mark for fewest losses in an MLS season with four, while the Dallas defense allowed the fewest goals against in club history with only 28 through 30 games.
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.
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 annual January camps have produced some memorable moments in addition to being the starting point of promising international careers. In 2007, a young Jonathan Bornstein scored his first goal in his first game, a path which led to two starts at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. A year later, Landon Donovan made history when he became the all-time leader in goals scored for the United States. In 2009, Sacha Kljestan opened his international scoring account in style, becoming only the second player in U.S. history to score his first three goals all in the same game.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
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)