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Three WCC Alums Named To U.S. World Cup Roster

May 3, 2006

BRISTOL, Conn. - Three WCC men's soccer alums were selected to the United States roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, as announced by national team manager Bruce Arena on Tuesday. Former Portland standouts Steve Cherundolo and Kasey Keller will be teammates at the World Cup for the second straight time, while former Gonzaga forward Brian Ching was named to his first World Cup roster.

Ching, a native of Haleiwa, Hawai'i, becomes the first Hawaiian to play in the World Cup. A 2001 graduate of Gonzaga, he was a two-time All-West Coast Conference first-team selection. His 34 career goals rank third all-time at Gonzaga, his 23 assists rank first and his 91 career points tie for second. He helped guide the Bulldogs to back-to-back WCC regular-season co-titles in 1998-99 and to a second-place finish in 2000.

Keller, one of the top goalkeepers in the Bundesliga with Borussia Moenchengladbach over the past two seasons, is making his fourth appearance for the U.S. in the World Cup. Keller and veteran midfielder Claudio Reyna, who will also be in Germany, are the only two Americans to play in four World Cups. Keller has kept 44 clean sheets in 91 games behind a U.S. defense that conceded only six goals in qualifying. He is also the USA's all-time leader for goalkeepers in wins (51), shutouts (44) and World Cup qualifying appearances (31).

Cherundolo, a defender, goes to his second straight World Cup after being unable to participate in games during the 2002 cup because of an injury suffered the day before the USA's first match against Portugal. Cherundolo was a two-time first team All-WCC performer during his time on The Bluff, and took home WCC Freshman of the Year honors in 1997.

The U.S. was drawn into Group E for the 2006 FIFA World Cup along with the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana. The U.S. plays its opening match against the Czechs on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen before meeting Italy in Kaiserslautern on June 17 and then finishing off group play against Ghana on June 22 in Nuremberg.

The roster comprises 12 players that are based overseas, with the remaining 11 currently playing in MLS. Of the players named to the roster, only three have never played in MLS (Cherundolo, Keller and Oguchi Onyewu).

Arena named 13 reserves that could be called up in case of injuries up until the team's opening Group E match in addition to the 23-man roster. Included on this list is former Portland forward Conor Casey.

The U.S. men's national team's three-game Send-Off Series prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup will begin at The Coliseum in Nashville, Tenn., on May 23, before continuing to Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 26, and concluding at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on May 28.

The squad departs for Germany on June 1 and will be based in Hamburg.

2006 U.S. World Cup Roster

Goalkeepers - Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard, Kasey Keller.

Defenders - Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Jimmy Conrad, Cory Gibbs, Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Lewis, Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope.

Midfielders - DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, John O'Brien, Ben Olsen, Claudio Reyna. Forwards - Brian Ching, Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride, Josh Wolff.

Forwards - Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride, Brian Ching, Josh Wolff.