Plenty of Southern California representation on the Olympics roster announced today by Coach Peter Nowak.
Locals include soon-to-be-ex-Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Fontana’s Maurice Edu (Toronto) and former Bruins Marvelle Wynne (Toronto), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo) and Benny Feilhaber (Derby County).
Notable omissions: the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan (needed by the full national team for World Cup qualifying) and former Bruins Chad Barrett and Sal Zizzo (who is trying to establish himself with Hannover in Germany).
The complete squad:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake).
DEFENDERS (5): Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Danny Szetela (Brescia Calcio).
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Brian McBride (out of contract), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew).
McBride sounds like he’s going to enjoy the Olympics as one of three over-age players on the squad judging by his tale of how he got on the roster:
“It’s actually a pretty funny story. We had just finished a game against West Ham and [Men’s National Team player] Jonathan Spector was outside the locker room and [Olympic Team assistant coach] Lubos Kubik was there with him – they were just talking. I knew Lubos from when he played with the Fire and Jonathan and I are pretty good friends. So, we all just started talking and all of the sudden Jonathan said jokingly ‘Lubos, did you hear Brian wants to play in the Olympics?’ After a few more jokes I told Lubos that I would seriously consider it if he would. Then I threw it out as just talk at the time, but a few days later, Peter [Nowak] called me! I was a little shocked but that’s really when it became an interest and a possibility. The idea has come a long way since then but it was pretty crazy at the time. I just feel terrible that Jonathan ended up getting injured, as I know that he really deserves to be there, too.”
Reporter Phil Collin caught up to Kljestan after last night’s SuperLiga game and asked how he felt about leaving Chivas USA in the middle of the tournament:
“It’s tough. … After (the SuperLiga game) Sunday I switch my focus to the Olympic team. That’s something I’ve dreamed about for 22 years now. It’s exciting, it’s going to be crazy. I’d feel terrible if I have to leave this team going into the semifinal game, but that’s the way international football is sometimes. Unlucky for us that this tournament falls right in the middle of summer and right when I have to leave for the Olympics. It’s tough, but on the other hand I’m going to the Olympics.
And so is once and former teammate Guzan. Reading between the lines, he’s going because Aston Villa projects him as a backup to Brad Friedel or ? and so is unconcerned the Olympics clash with the EPL season:
“We’re all very happy for Brad. We know sooner or later he will be the first (choice) keeper – I’m not saying he’s not going to be right now.”
Here’s Nowak on Rogers’ inclusion:
“In the last couple of months Robbie Rogers started to play the game everybody loves to see him play,” adding that he has “worked on stuff he didn’t work on before.”
Here’s more from U.S. Soccer on the team’s timetable:
The U.S. will begin their final preparation for the Beijing Olympics on Sunday with six days of domestic training in San Jose. The team will then depart for Hong Kong, where they will participate in the ING Cup, facing fellow Olympic participants Ivory Coast on July 30 and Cameroon on Aug. 2.
*A dozen players on the Olympic roster have played for the full national team.
*Eleven players were on the Olympics qualifying roster.
*Players on the roster were drawn from eight different leagues around the world.
Also today: Striker Lauren Cheney (UCLA) will replace the injured Abby Wambach on the U.S. women’s Olympic team, U.S. Soccer officials announced today. The 20-year-old has 12 caps and three goals for the U.S., including two this year.