The return of key U.S. national team players Brian McBride, Eddie Pope and Frankie Hejduk highlight the 27-player Confederations Cup training camp roster announced today by U.S. coach Bruce Arena.
The squad will train in Denver from July 11-18 in order to prepare for the altitude it will face in Mexico during the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup, July 24-Aug. 4 in Guadalajara and Mexico City.
A final 20-player squad for the Confederations Cup will be announced the week prior to departure into Mexico.
The trio of McBride, Pope and Hejduk were the notable absentees from the stellar 1-0 U.S. victory over Argentina on June 13 in Washington, D.C. In addition, Joe-Max Moore, who netted the game-winner in the 88th minute against the South Americans, and Ernie Stewart, whose backheel pass set up the winning goal, both return to the squad for the Denver camp.
"This will be the most competitive national team camp since I took over in November," said Arena. "I have no doubt that every player we have in camp will fight for a spot on the Confederations Cup team."
The roster includes a generous mix of youth and experience, with veterans Claudio Reyna (65 caps), Moore (75) and Jeff Agoos (92), being joined by U-23 stars Ben Olsen (4) and Joey DiGiamarino (0). The call-up of 31-year-old defender Marcelo Balboa (125 caps), who returns to the national team for the first time since the 1998 World Cup, gives Arena another veteran central defender.
"In order to be successful in Mexico, we must take a healthy team, an experienced team and one that has depth at every position," added Arena. "When we get to Mexico, the schedule says we will play three matches in seven days, and possibly four games in nine days, so I expect virtually every player will need to contribute."
Arena also welcomed back a slew of players who performed admirably in the victory over Argentina, including goalkeeper Kasey Keller, midfielders Chris Armas, Jovan Kirovski, and Eddie Lewis, and forward Cobi Jones. McBride (fractured cheekbone) and Pope (fractured right foot) join the team for the first time since Nike U.S. Cup '99.
Midfielder Tony Sanneh and defender David Regis have been named to the roster, but their status remains questionable until each receives medical clearance.
"Again, we want to continue to take a good look at as many individuals as possible, with the long- term goal of qualifying for [World Cup] 2002 our primary focus."
During the week of training in Denver, the U.S. will be part of an interesting doubleheader at Mile High Stadium on Tuesday, July 13. The U.S. will play an exhibition match versus English Premier League club Derby County at 6 p.m. MT (8 p.m. ET) in a match televised live on Fox Sports Net (check local listings). Directly after the USA-Derby match, the Colorado Rapids will face their A-League affiliate Seattle Sounders in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. Fans can purchase tickets for the doubleheader in Denver by calling the Colorado Rapids ticket office at (303) 299-1599.
The U.S. will participate in the eight-nation Confederations Cup from July 24 - August 4 in Mexico, and in order to replicate the altitude it will experience in Guadalajara (5,000 feet above sea level), the squad will train the week before departure in Denver (5,280 feet). The U.S. will train at the Colorado Rapids' new training center in Westminster from July 11-18, before departing for Mexico on July 18.
The United States will open the Confederations Cup against New Zealand on July 24, continue on to face Brazil on July 28 and will close out group play against reigning European Champions Germany on July 30. All three of the USA's matches and the entire Group B schedule will be played at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara. The matches in Group A, which include Mexico, Egypt, Bolivia and Saudi Arabia, will take place at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Only the top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals.
Confederations Cup on Pay-Per-View
In a recent development, American fans will be able to see the U.S. during the Confederations Cup. Innovative Sports Marketing has acquired the pay-per-view and closed-circuit rights to all 16 FIFA Confederations Cup games from Mexico. The 16-game package is available through the DISH Network for $99, while individual first-round games are $19.95 each. The semifinals are $24.95 each, and the championship game is $29.95. ISM is currently pursuing purchase rights for individual cable operators in major metropolitan areas across the country for cable pay-per-view access. Contact your local cable operator for more information on pay-per-view availability in your area, or call ISM at (201) 610-0200.
U.S. Training Camp Roster
Goalkeepers: Brad Friedel (Liverpool, England), Kasey Keller (Leicester City, England), Tom Presthus (D.C. United).
Defenders: Jeff Agoos (D.C. United), Marcelo Balboa (Colorado Rapids), Gregg Berhalter (Cambuur, Netherlands), C.J. Brown (Chicago Fire), Robin Fraser (Los Angeles Galaxy), Carlos Llamosa (D.C. United), Eddie Pope (D.C. United), David Regis (Metz, France).
Midfielders: Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), Paul Bravo (Colorado Rapids), Joey DiGiamarino (Colorado Rapids), Frankie Hejduk (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Jovan Kirovski (Fortuna Cologne, Germany), Eddie Lewis (San Jose Clash), Brian Maisonneuve (Columbus Crew), Ben Olsen (D.C. United), Claudio Reyna (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Tony Sanneh (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Richie Williams (D.C. United).
Forwards: Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy), Roy Lassiter (D.C. United), Brian McBride (Columbus Crew), Joe-Max Moore (New England Revolution), Ernie Stewart (NAC Breda, Netherlands).
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