U.S. men's soccer team coach Bob Bradley has named the 23-man roster that will seek to defend the CONCACAF regional Gold Cup title next month here in the United States. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer has more.
Twelve of the players on the roster compete in U.S. Major League Soccer and 11 play professionally in Europe. Eight return from the U.S. team that won the biennial Gold Cup over Panama in a penalty kick shootout two years ago.
The youngest player on the team is Coach Bradley's son Michael, a 19-year-old midfielder who plays for the Dutch club SC Heerenveen. The oldest is goalie Kasey Keller, who is 37. He is the all-time leader in Gold Cup game appearances with 21.
Bradley says the group is a good blend of talent, youth and experience and one that aims to defend the title.
"I think that all of us look at this tournament as being very important," said Bob Bradley. "We all know that the potential would exist to play Mexico in the final in Chicago, and certainly we set out to get to the final and defend our championship."
The Americans open this year's campaign on June 7 against Guatemala in Los Angeles. The home team's other Group B matches are against Trinidad and Tobago (June 9 in Los Angeles) and El Salvador (June 12 outside Boston).
Twelve regional teams will contend the Gold Cup. The Group A teams for first round play are Canada, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe and Haiti. Group C consists of Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and Panama.
The top two teams in each group and two best third-place teams qualify for the quarterfinals. Other cities that will host matches are Chicago, Houston, Miami and East Rutherford, New Jersey (outside New York City).