Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Zusi named to U.S. Men's National Team for World Cup Qualifiers

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi was named to the United States Men's National Team roster for their final two FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in the Semifinal Round, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Monday.

Zusi, 26, is one of 24 players selected by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and traveled to Miami today for the team's training camp.

The United States, No. 32 in the latest FIFA world rankings, will face Antigua and Barbuda on Friday at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound (7 p.m. CT; beIN SPORT) before coming to Kansas City for the decisive match against Guatemala on Oct. 16 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park (6 p.m. CT; ESPN2, ESPN3 and Univision family).

"It's very exciting for me. The implications are high and that's when it's most fun to play I think," Zusi said. "These are two important games for us and we're looking to get maximum points on both. The game back in Kansas City should be an exciting one for me to play in front of a bunch of home fans. I'm excited for that one in particular."

Zusi, who leads MLS this season with a career-high 15 assists, has made four appearances for the United States in 2012. After debuting in a 1-0 win over Venezuela in January, Zusi scored his first international goal four days later in a 1-0 victory at Panama.

Most recently, he played in the country's historic 1-0 win at Mexico in August and started his first competitive match last month, playing 72 minutes in a World Cup qualifying victory over Jamaica.

Klinsmann will preview the World Cup qualifiers and discuss his roster selections on a conference call with media members today at 2:30 p.m. CT.

The U.S. is currently even with Guatemala and Jamaica with seven points in Group A, but hold the advantage over Jamaica currently on goal differential. The top two teams in the group will advance to the fourth and final round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Ahead of the sold-out World Cup Qualifier between the United States and Guatemala at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Oct. 16, U.S. Soccer will hold a public training session open to media and the general public at 10:30 a.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 14 at LSP.

Admission and parking for the event are free. Fans who pre-register on ussoccer.com will be entered to have a chance to meet U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann at the stadium prior to the training session.

Immediately after the training session, Sporting KC and The Legends Outlets will co-host a special fan-friendly SoccerFest from 12-2 p.m. CT with autograph and photo opportunities with Sporting KC players in attendance.

Fans are encouraged to bring items to have signed and the event will also feature children's soccer activities including inflatables and an appearance by the Sporting KC mascot.

The SoccerFest is free and open to the public and will be located at the center courtyard, as well as various locations throughout the center. For more information, visit LegendsShopping.com/OctoberFest.