DeMerit and Simek among new faces on U.S. roster
CHICAGO -- Hawaii's Brian Ching is among 11 World Cup veterans picked Thursday for the U.S. roster for exhibition games against Ecuador and Guatemala.
Goalkeeper Kasey Keller, midfielder DaMarcus Beasley as well as defenders Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo and Jimmy Conrad were selected by interim coach Bob Bradley for his 24-man roster. Also chosen were midfielder Clint Dempsey, forwards Landon Donovan, Ching and Eddie Johnson, and goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Three players were chosen who have never played for the national team: defenders Jay DeMerit and Frank Simek, and midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
Thirteen of the players are based in Europe, including seven in England.
Players will start training Monday in Bradenton, Fla., for games against Ecuador on March 25 in Tampa, Fla., and Guatemala on March 28 in Frisco, Texas. Top European leagues are off the weekend of March 24-25 to enable players to join up with their national teams.
The United States has played just twice since last year's World Cup: a 3-1 win over Denmark on Jan. 20 and a 2-0 victory over Mexico on Feb. 7. Howard, Bocanegra and Dempsey also returned from Europe for the Mexico match.
"This camp provides a great opportunity to see some of our experienced players from Europe, as well as some new faces, and incorporate them into the group and share the ideas that we have been building on since the beginning of the year," Bradley said. "By the end of this camp, we will have had the chance to work with a vast majority of our player pool. It will be extremely beneficial when we have to make decisions about the Gold Cup and Copa America."
After these games, the national team is off until a June 2 exhibition game against China at San Jose, Calif. The Americans then start the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean, on June 9 against Trinidad and Tobago at Carson, Calif.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton, England), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany)
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham, England), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City), Jay Demerit (Watford, England), Oguchi Onyewu (Newcastle, England), Heath Pearce (Nordsjaelland, Denmark), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday, England), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England)
Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Manchester City, England), Michael Bradley (Heerenveen, Netherlands), Brian Carroll (D.C. United), Ricardo Clark (Houston), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Benny Feilhaber (Hamburg, Germany), Justin Mapp (Chicago)
Forwards: Brian Ching (Houston), Kenny Cooper (Dallas), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City), Chris Rolfe (Chicago), Taylor Twellman (New England)