Friday, January 3, 2014

Five Sporting Kansas City players named to United States Men's National Team roster

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Five Sporting Kansas City players were named to the U.S. Men's National Team roster on Friday for a training camp that begins Jan. 6, the United States Soccer Federation announced.

Defenders Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic will join the U.S. Men's National Team for the first time alongside fellow Sporting Kansas City teammates Matt Besler, Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi.

"This is a great and deserving honor," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. "These players earned this opportunity through hard work and dedication. It is not only a testament to their individual success, but the success that Sporting Kansas City has had as a team. It's great to see our club and players be rewarded with these selections."

Among the 26 players selected by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the annual January Camp, Sporting Kansas City's five representatives are the most from any club following the team's MLS Cup championship season.

The squad will open camp in Carson, Calif. from Jan. 6-12 before departing for Sao Paulo, Brazil to continue training from Jan. 13-25 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup host country. Klinsmann is expected to take 23 of the 26 players in camp to Brazil, while the remaining players continue to train in the United States.

The full team then returns to Carson, Calif. ahead of their first match of 2014 against fellow FIFA World Cup finalist Korea Republic at 4 p.m. CT on Feb. 1 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The international friendly will be shown live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas in the United States.

"We are all very excited for this camp because, as a team, it will give us our first taste of Brazil," said Klinsmann. "This is a very important camp in our preparations for the World Cup. It's important for the players to continue developing their bond and sense of urgency for the tournament. It's important for us to see how they do in Brazil, how the new players fit with the group and to make sure everyone is focused on reaching the highest level for next summer."

Besler, 26, debuted wi th the U.S. Men's National Team one year ago for the first of 12 international appearances, including six FIFA World Cup qualifiers and all three knockout round games en route to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship. The U.S. was 8-1-2 on the year with Besler in the starting lineup.

Major League Soccer's Defender of the Year in 2012 and runner-up for the award this past season, the Overland Park, Kan. native earned his second straight MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI selections in 2013. Besler has appeared in 126 MLS matches (including postseason) with two goals and six assists since being drafted in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Notre Dame.

Feilhaber, 28, will participate in the U.S. Men's National Team January Camp for the third straight year and a fourth time in his career. The Brazil native has earned 40 caps for the United States, debuting in 2007 and playing at the highest levels with appearances in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, CONMEBOL Copa America, Summer Olympics, FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup.

In three MLS seasons, Feilhaber has eight goals and 15 assists in 83 games played (including playoffs). The UCLA walk on began his professional career with contracts in Germany's Bundesliga, the English Premier League and the Danish SuperLiga before signing with the New England Revolution in 2011 and coming to Kansas City through a trade prior to the 2013 season.

Myers , 26, receives his first invitation to the full national team after previously playing for the U.S. Under-18, Under-20 and Under-23 youth national teams, including a trip to Brazil for the 2007 Pan American Games. Drafted with the first overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft out of UCLA as a Generation adidas signing, Myers has appeared in 126 MLS matches (including postseason) for Sporting KC with two goals and 13 assists in six seasons.

Sinovic , 26, joins the U.S. Men's National Team for the first time at any level in his playing career. The Leawood, Kan. native and Rockhurst High School alum was rated the No. 1 left back in MLS by Soccer America after leading all Sporting KC players with 3,733 minutes played in all competition and starting 41 of his 42 appearances in 2013.

Sinovic walked on at Creighton University and became a team captain for the Blue Jays in 2008 and 2009 before being drafted by the New England Revolution in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Sinovic was then signed by Sporting Kansas City in May 2011 and has made 112 MLS appearances (including postseason) with two goals and five assists.

Zusi, 27, has become a key contributor on the U.S. Men's National Team with 18 international appearances, highlighted by a role in 12 of the United States' last 13 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He has tallied three goals and two assists for the U.S. MNT, including goals in each of the last two FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

An MLS MVP finalist in 2012 and nominee for Best MLS Player at the 2013 ESPYS, Zusi recorded a career-high six goals and a team-best 12 assists in all competition in 2013 and was the top-rated midfielder in the MLS Castrol Index. Zusi has 17 goals and 36 assists in 133 career MLS matches (including playoffs) over five seasons since being selected in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Maryland.

Sporting Kansas City will kick off the 2014 Major League Soccer season at the Seattle Sounders FC on March 8. The team reports to Kansas City on Jan. 20 for pre-season preparations and will travel to Tucson, Ariz. (Jan. 23. - Feb. 8) and Orlando, Fla. (Feb. 13 - March 2) during the pre-season.