U.S. Soccer team head coach Bob Bradley has named the 23-man roster that will take part in next month's World Cup in South Africa.
Three American players will be headed to their third World Cup. They are the team's all-time scoring leader, midfielder Landon Donovan, midfielder DeMarcus Beasley and defender Steve Cherundolo. Fifteen players will take part in their first World Cup, including midfielder Michael Bradley, who is the coach's son.
Two forwards who earned spots on the team as a result of their good performances for their professional teams, and in the 30-man training camp last week, are Major League Soccer scoring leader Edson Buddle of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Herculez Gomez of Pachuca in the Mexican league.
All but four of the U.S. World Cup team players play for professional clubs outside the United States.
Coach Bradley feels good about his selections. "[We have] Guys that have been to the World Cup before and have become real good leaders, some younger players that have played key roles throughout qualifying, some new players that came in late but still bring enthusiasm, and I think as a group there's great character and we think that's one of our strengths," he said.
A preliminary list of 30 players had to be submitted by May 11 to the Interntaional Football Federation (FIFA). World Cup rules require that the final 23-man rosters of all 32 teams be submitted to FIFA by June 1.
Coach Bradley explained how he made his seven cuts. "We go through many different scenariors, senarios in terms what you would do in situations when your team might be ahead, when your team might be behind, situations where you might end up with a player getting an injury or being suspended. So you have to take everything into account and try to have 23 that can cover those situations, as well as a 23 that have the right kind of chemistry to be together and help each other as we move into the World Cup," he said.
The United States will try to redeem itself next month in South Africa after a disappointing run at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where the U.S. team failed to advance beyond the group phase.
The Americans will play their final home match before departing for South Africa when they face Turkey in a friendly this Saturday in Philadelphia. They will play one more warm-up in South Africa against Australia June 5.
At the World Cup, the USA is drawn into Group C with England, Slovenia and Algeria, and opens against England on June 12.
The month-long 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament kicks off June 11 with a match between Mexico and host South Africa in Johannesburg.