In other news that I am freaking out about besides Star Wars: Episode VII, it is time to trade in my Yoda Ears for my soccer cleats and geek out about the US releasing their preliminary 30-man roster for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil! Consider this your home for 500 words of unabashed excitement for the World Cup and primer on who to watch for on the USA’s team this summer and who is going to make the roster.
Courtesy of USSoccer.com (my homies who have no idea I call them that) here is the 30-man roster:
|Jozy Altidore||F||6-1||175||11/6/89||Boca Raton, Fla.||Sunderland (England)|
|DaMarcus Beasley||D||5-8||145||5/24/82||Ft. Wayne, Ind.||Puebla (Mexico)|
|Kyle Beckerman||M||5-10||165||4/23/82||Crofton, Md.||Real Salt Lake|
|Alejandro Bedoya||M||5-10||160||4/29/87||Weston, Fla.||Nantes (France)|
|Matt Besler||D||6-0||170||2/11/87||Overland Park, Kan.||Sporting Kansas City|
|Terrence Boyd||F||6-0||180||2/16/91||Berlin, Germany||Rapid Vienna (Austria)|
|Michael Bradley||M||6-2||175||7/31/87||Manhattan Beach, Calif.||Toronto FC|
|John Brooks||D||6-4||170||1/28/93||Berlin, Germany||Hertha Berlin (Germany)|
|Geoff Cameron||D||6-3||185||7/11/85||Attleboro, Mass.||Stoke City (England)|
|Timothy Chandler||D||6-1||180||3/29/90||Frankfurt, Germany||Nuremberg (Germany)|
|Joe Corona||M||5-10||165||7/9/90||Chula Vista, Calif.||Club Tijuana (Mexico)|
|Brad Davis||M||5-11||165||11/8/81||St. Charles, Mo.||Houston Dynamo|
|Clint Dempsey||F||6-1||170||3/9/83||Nacogdoches, Texas||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Mix Diskerud||M||6-0||150||10/2/90||Oslo, Norway||Rosenborg (Norway)|
|Landon Donovan||F||5-8||160||3/4/82||Redlands, Calif.||LA Galaxy|
|Maurice Edu||M||6-0||170||4/18/86||Fontana, Calif.||Philadelphia Union|
|Brad Evans||D||6-1||160||4/20/85||Phoenix, Ariz.||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Omar Gonzalez||D||6-5||210||10/11/88||Dallas, Texas||LA Galaxy|
|Clarence Goodson||D||6-4||180||5/17/82||Alexandria, Va.||San Jose Earthquakes|
|Julian Green||M||5-7||140||6/6/95||Tampa, Fla.||Bayern Munich (Germany)|
|Brad Guzan||G||6-4||210||9/9/84||Homer Glen, Ill.||Aston Villa (England)|
|Tim Howard||G||6-3||210||3/6/79||North Brunswick, N.J.||Everton (England)|
|Aron Johannsson||F||6-0||165||11/10/90||Mobile, Ala.||AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)|
|Fabian Johnson||D||6-0||155||12/11/87||Munich, Germany||Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)|
|Jermaine Jones||M||6-0||170||11/3/81||Chicago, Ill.||Besiktas (Turkey)|
|Michael Parkhurst||D||5-11||155||1/24/84||Providence, R.I.||Columbus Crew|
|Nick Rimando||G||5-11||180||6/17/79||Montclair, Calif.||Real Salt Lake|
|Chris Wondolowski||F||6-0||165||1/28/83||Danville, Calif.||San Jose Earthquakes|
|DeAndre Yedlin||D||5-8||150||7/9/93||Seattle, Wash.||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Graham Zusi||M||5-10||160||8/18/86||Longwood, Fla.||Sporting Kansas City|
This is so awesome that we FINALLY have an almost set in stone roster for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil! For the unfamiliar, this is not the final roster, since seven more cuts need to be made to bring the final roster down to 23 of America’s finest to take to the nation of samba. Considering we are just a mere 33 days away from the sun rising on Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil for the opening game of the US World Cup campaign against Ghana, the roster announcement is goosebump inducing!
All of this being said, for those unfamiliar with what to watch for besides the ball going in the back of the net, here are three quick storylines to watch for leading up to the final seven cuts to the US World Cup roster.
Young Up and Comers That Could Be Wild Cards
A quick scan of the list will find two exciting inclusions to the 30-man roster that has US Soccer fans buzzing now and about the team’s future. Julian Green, the young 18-year old Bayern Munich prospect, recently committed to the US team after a long drama of whether he would commit to the German national team, where he and his family lived or in the US where he also lived for a time. There are many German-Americans with dual eligibility, but Green was seen as the cream of the crop and his commitment to the team was a big step going forward for the US team. Although in his first match he looked inexperienced and rather green(pun most certainly intended), there was much speculation his inclusion on this roster was part of the deal to commit to the US team. I doubt he will make the team, due to his inexperience, but there is plenty to be excited about for the 2018 World Cup and the 2016 Copa America here in the US.
Another young player on this final roster is Seattle Sounders star defender Deandre Yedlin. He is only 20 years old and has been fantastic for the Sounders (my favorite team in the MLS until NYC FC starts play in 2015) and I was really excited to see he made the 30-man roster. Although, I have doubts as to whether he will make the team, I would be less surprised if he made the final 23 than if Julian Green made the team. Again, I think 2016 at the Copa America will be Yedlin’s breakout as a world-class defender.
Landon Donovan is a household name, but Michael Bradley is their best player
Everyone remembers Donovan’s goal in the last World Cup (Goal, Goal, USA) and if he wasn’t the most well-known US player, he was after that. Leading into this World Cup, Donovan will still be called upon to lead the US charge, but there is one lesser-known player among casual fans that needs to be known now or will be known after this summer. That man’s name is Michael Bradley, the Toronto FC midfielder and the backbone of the US team. After their recent match with archrivals Mexico, Mexican national coach Miguel Herrera said Bradley looked like, “the best player in the world.” Bradley is an imposing midfielder with an excellent mix of defensive prowess, smooth and precise passing, and a nose to put the ball in the back of the net when called upon. Look for the tall and bald #4 out on the pitch this summer or watch Toronto FC games to get an idea of how instrumental Bradley is going to be to the US fortunes in Brazil.
Will the real Jozy Altidore please stand up?
This might be one of the bigger stories for this summer’s World Cup. Jozy Altidore, the burly 24-old striker for the US team, had a fantastic 2012-13 for AZ (a Dutch soccer club) and for the US team. As a result of that stellar year and a half, he signed with Sunderland AFC, an English Premier League team, and big things were expected of him. To put it nicely, it did not go well. To put it realistically, Altidore stunk. He scored one goal for Sunderland and had some pretty epic gaffes and misses during the course of the season. Thankfully, his Sunderland team pulled off a miraculous string of results and avoided being sent down to the English Championship, the second level of English Football, and Sunderland are hoping Altidore can find his form and combine to start a strike duo with young England star Connor Wickham.
It will be critical for Altidore to find his scoring touch this summer as his combination of power and nose for the goal are going to be essential to the US’s chances. The only saving grace if he does not find his form is that he could be dropped in favor of his successor at AZ, Aron Johannsson, an Icelandic-American who is another young star for the US team.
To say the least, I am geeked about this summer and will be donning the red, white, and blue a lot this summer. I will make sure to update again as it gets closer to the World Cup and turn my sights on the storylines specific to the US opponents this summer at the World Cup. Until then, go watch soccer and GO USA!