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The USA's 'foreign' contingent

  • USA Today, Tuesday, January 18, 2011 8:45 PM

The U.S. team in training camp to face Chile in a friendly on Saturday includes four players who are is eligible to play for the USA despite being born or raised outside the country: midfielder Mikkel Diskerud and forwards Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury and Eugene Starikov. Bunbury and Diskerud have played for the youth national teams of Norway and Canada, respectively.

Joseph D'Hippolito notes that Agudelo, a native of Colombia who moved to New York at age 8, and the Norwegian-born and -raised Diskerud, whose mother is from Arizona, already made an impact. The 18-year-old Agudelo scoring the gamewinner in the USA's last game, 1-0 victory over South Africa on Nov. 17, with an assist from 20-year-old Diskerud.

Bunbury, whose father starred for Canada, has been a U.S. resident since he was 10 and led the NCAA with 17 goals for Akron in 2007. Starikov, born in 1988 in the former Soviet Union, plays in Russia but owns an American passport.

Thomas Rongen
, coach of the USA's under-20 men's team, said, "I spend probably about half my time for about eight months really, really digging these people up. We're up to 425 names of players as young as 13 and 14 playing abroad. I didn't think we were aware of most of them. Of the 425, I had over 200 in my particular age group." Houston-born midfielder Fabian Huerzeler, a 17-year-old who grew up in Germany and plays for Bayern Munich's reserve team, captained Germany's U-16 and U-17 squads but just finished his first U-20 camp with the USA.

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