NEW YORK – University of Akron manager Caleb Porter called up 17 MLS players on Thursday to form part of the 28-man Olympic squad that will gather for a training camp in Florida next week.
The camp will run from Dec. 15-23 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., providing another opportunity for Porter and his staff to evaluate their options ahead of the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament. The Americans were drawn in Group A alongside Canada, Cuba and El Salvador and will play their group matches from March 22-26 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The two nations that reach the final will qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London next summer.
The camp marks the second chance for the coaching staff to take a closer look at the U-23 player pool, following a camp held in Germany in November. Twelve of the 28 players called in for training in Florida were also present in Germany. Porter was absent, however, as he wrapped up his duties as head coach of the University of Akron, which later suffered elimination in the NCAA men's tournament.
The Philadelphia Union lead the way with five players called, while the Houston Dynamo had three players chosen. Outside of MLS, Porter drew heavily from Germany, calling in six players playing professionally in the native country of USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann. The only college players to participate will be Duke's Sebastien Ibeagha and Andrew Wenger, the latter considered to be one of the top prospects in the upcoming SuperDraft.
"At every camp we expect to push the group forward by continuing to evaluate the player pool while imprinting the concepts of how we will play as a team on both sides of the ball," Porter said in a statement. "As we sort through our personnel and start to hone in on the roster, it is equally as important that the players develop a clear understanding of the culture of how we will do things leading up to our first match in Nashville."
ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (4): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union)
DEFENDERS (8): Gale Agbossoumonde (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Royal-Dominique Fennell (Stuttgart Kickers/GER), Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke Univ.), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA), Andrew Wenger (Duke Univ.), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Bryan Arguez (Montreal Impact), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX), Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabæk/NOR), Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz/GER), Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United/ENG), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (6): Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Teal Bunbury (Sporting KC), Jann George (Nürnberg/GER), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim/GER), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Andrew Wooten (Kaiserslautern/GER)