Four Wizards called in to U.S. team camp

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - U.S. Men's National Team manager Bruce Arena has called 28 players into camp to train for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago on February 9th in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Kickoff at the Queen's Park Oval is set for 1:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. local), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

Among the 28 players selected are Wizards defenders Jimmy Conrad and Nick Garcia, midfielder Diego Gutierrez and forward Josh Wolff. The players will train in Carson, California beginning today, and depart for Trinidad on Feb. 7th. Several European-based players are expected to join the squad in Southern Florida either February 6th or 7th after competing in their league matches that weekend.

The four Wizards players in camp match the New England Revolution and Columbus Crew as the most from any one team. Wolff returns to the National Team stage again in 2005 after appearing eight times for the U.S. last year, the second most in his career. Nick Garcia also returns to National Team duty having appeared six times for his country, the last time on January 18, 2004.

Midfielder Diego Gutierrez will look to earn his second cap with the U.S. Team following the career year he experienced with the Wizards in 2004. Gutierrez patrolled the midfield for Kansas City, helping guide them to a U.S. Open Cup Championship and to the MLS Cup Final. Gutierrez's only other appearance with the U.S. National Team came on December 9, 2001 against the Korean Republic.

Jimmy Conrad will take part in his first ever National Team camp, one of seven players in camp searching for their first cap. The MLS Defender of the Year Finalist anchored the League's best defense in 2004 as the Wizard allowed a League-low 30 goals and posted a League-high 12 shutouts.

Following the February 9th match against Trinidad, the U.S. faces a double-dose of qualifiers at the end of March. Following a trip to Mexico on March 27, the USA will open its home schedule of final round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, March 30 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Kickoff against Guatemala is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

The U.S. will play 10 games in the final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup from Feb. 9 - Oct. 13, 2005. The USA, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago are competing for three automatic berths to the World Cup finals in Germany. The fourth-place finisher will face the fifth-place team from the Asian Football Confederation in a home-and-home series to determine the last entrant into the tournament.


Goalkeepers (4) - Jon Busch (Columbus Crew), Joe Cannon (Colorado Rapids), Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nick Rimando (D.C. United)

Defenders (8) - Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Nick Garcia (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Ritchie Kotschau (Colorado Rapids), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Eddie Pope (MetroStars), Tony Sanneh (Columbus Crew)

Midfielders (9) - Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Diego Gutierrez (Kansas City Wizards), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Clint Mathis (Real Salt Lake), Brian Mullan (San Jose Earthquakes), Ben Olsen (D.C. United), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Clyde Simms (Richmond Kickers)

Forwards (7) - Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes), Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United), Ed Johnson (FC Dallas), Mike Magee (MetroStars), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)