Eddie Pope called to U.S. National Team

SECAUCUS, NJ - MetroStars defender Eddie Pope has been called to the U.S. Men's National Team by U.S. Manager Bruce Arena for the first leg of the USA's World Cup qualifying series against Grenada on June 13 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The second leg of the series will be played June 20 in St. George's, Grenada, with the team scoring the most goals over two games (aggregate scoring) advancing to the semifinal round. The June 13 game marks the first of at least 18 matches necessary in order to qualify for the 2006 World Cup to be held in Germany.

MetroStars defender and captain Eddie Pope has earned 60 caps (appearances) for the U.S. and has scored six goals, the most recent of which was the game-winner against Mexico in the 93rd minute on April 28. In that game Pope also wore the captain's armband for the U.S. Men's National Team.

The North Carolina product has appeared in seven games this season for the Metros, helping the squad to a record of 3-1-4. Pope had a successful first season with the "Red and Black" in 2003, capturing the team's ADT Defender of the Year Award and being named to the MLS Pepsi Best XI for the third time in his career.

Of the 22 players called in by Arena for the first leg against Grenada, 13 are based in Major League Soccer while nine play professionally overseas. Thirteen of the players were part of the USA's quarterfinal finish in the 2002 World Cup.

Following the MNT World Cup qualifiers against Grenada, the U.S. will meet Poland in a domestic friendly on July 11 in Chicago. Should the U.S. advance through their preliminary qualifying round, the team's six-game, four-team semifinal round competition will begin on August 18 away to either Jamaica or Haiti.

The U.S. posted an 8-4-4 record during the 2002 World Cup qualifying process, booking their ticket to Korea on Oct. 7, 2001 with a 2-1 win against Jamaica in Foxboro, Mass. For the first time, the U.S. is entering the qualifying process in the second round stage, adding two games to the overall campaign. The United States is meeting Grenada for the first time in international competition.


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