Former Terp Soccer Standout Califf Named To Olympic Team
Aug. 15, 2000
College Park, Md. - Former Terrapin men's soccer standout Danny Califf (Orange, Calif.) is part of the 18-man roster released by U.S. Soccer today, which will represent the United States at the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Califf, a first team All-ACC selection last season for the Terps, was a two-year starter on defense for Maryland before opting to make himself eligible for the MLS draft last season. The California native was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy as the sixth pick overall in the MLS Draft. He finished his Maryland career with three goals and three assists for nine points.
Attached is the official release from US Soccer, including a complete schedule and roster. For more information, or to follow the US team's progress, please go to www.us-soccer.com
CHARLES NAMES FINAL 18-PLAYER OLYMPIC TEAM ROSTER WITH 2000 SYDNEY GAMES JUST ONE MONTH AWAY U.S. Men's National Team Veterans Agoos, Armas and Hejduk Picked as Three Over-age Players, MLS Contributes 14 of 18 Players to Roster
CHICAGO, Ill. (August 15, 2000) - After months of speculation, U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team head coach Clive Charles today announced his 18-player Olympic Team roster almost exactly one month from the team's first opening round match of the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia.
"These were all difficult decisions," said U.S. U-23 Head Coach Clive Charles, who has led the squad to a 7-4-1 overall record in 2000 play. "We've added three of the top players in the country and I really feel like we've got the best team possible heading over to the Olympics."
Charles called in a defensive-minded trio of U.S. Men's National Team stars that includes Jeff Agoos, a staple of three-time champion D.C. United (MLS), Chris Armas, who is widely regarded as the best defensive midfielder in MLS for the Chicago Fire, and Frankie Hejduk, a speedy and energetic defender/midfielder currently with German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.
Agoos, who has been a member of the U.S. National Team program since 1985, will have the chance to complete the soccer cycle by adding a U-23 stint to his experience as a U-15, U-17, U-20 and full Men's National Team member. Although a member of the 1998 U.S. World Cup team, Agoos has yet to compete in a world championship of this magnitude. Since the inaugural season of MLS in 1996, the 32-year-old, four-time MLS All-Star has been one of the top defenders in the league.
Armas, who has enjoyed great success under U.S. Men's National Team coach Bruce Arena over the last two years, will play an important role in the midfield, as he does for the Fire and will continue to as the full U.S. team undergoes World Cup Qualifying. The native of Brentwood, N.Y., helped the Fire accomplish the rare feat of winning both the U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup in 1998.
Agoos and Armas lead a list of 14 MLS players on the 18-man roster, highlighting the huge impact that the five-year-old professional league has had on the current Olympic Team and marking a vast difference in the almost entirely collegiate teams that represented the U.S. in 1992 and 1996.
Producing three-year veterans like MLS Cup '99 MVP Ben Olsen (D.C. United) and '98 Chevrolet/U.S. Soccer Male Youth Athlete of the Year Josh Wolff (Chicago Fire), along with first-year stars like goalkeeper Adin Brown (Colorado Rapids), MLS and the Project-40 developmental program have played a vital role in giving young American players the necessary pro experience to compete at similar levels as the rest of the world. Perennial MLS powers Chicago and D.C. lead the league with three players on the final squad.
Hejduk, the only player to have competed in a previous Olympiad, started all three matches and helped the U.S. to a 1-1-1 record at the 1996 Olympics as an Under-23. After going on to star in MLS with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, the Cardiff, Calif., native now heads a trio of European-based players that includes Leverkusen teammate and teenage scoring sensation Landon Donovan and versatile midfielder John O'Brien, who competes for famed European club Ajax of Amsterdam.
The 18-year-old Donovan, who already has four goals and made an impressive 11 Under-23 appearances in just over a year, established scoring marks like no other U.S. player before him with 35 goals and 16 assists in 41 international contests in two years of Under-17 competition.
Prior to being awarded the Golden Ball as the Most Outstanding Player at the FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand last November, the Redlands, Calif., native became the youngest U.S. player to sign an overseas professional contract when he did so at age 16 with top German club Bayer Leverkusen.
Denver, Colo. native Conor Casey, another teenager whose skills have lifted him to the U-23 level, is the only player on the 18-man roster that is not a professional. Entering his sophomore season under Charles at the University of Portland, the 6'1" Casey has scored six goals and added four assists in 12 overall games for the U-23's in 2000, following his breakout freshman season in which he led the NCAA Division I in scoring with a whopping 23 goals to go with seven assists.
Thirteen of the 18 players that helped the U.S. take second place in the six-team CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in April remain on the squad. Other than the three over-age players, defender Evan Whitfield, midfielder Joey DiGiamarino and alternate goalkeeper Matt Napoleon are the only new additions that will be traveling to Sydney.
The U.S. Men's Olympic Soccer team will next gather for a brief two-day training camp at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., on Sept. 4, where they will undergo USOC processing before leaving San Diego for Los Angeles, will the team will depart to Sydney on Sept. 6.
When they arrive in Australia on September 8, the team will be looking to advance to the second round of the Olympics for the first time in history. Team USA, who were placed in Group C, will kick things off against the Czech Republic in Canberra on Sept. 13, the first day of Olympic competition. The team will then face Cameroon on Sept. 16 in Canberra and will meet Kuwait on Sept. 19 in Melbourne to finish the "round robin"-style group play of the opening round.
The only meeting between the U.S. U-23's and the Czech Republic in the last decade was a 2-2 draw on Aug. 20, 1997, as part of the World University Games in Italy. While the U-23's have not met Cameroon in the '90's, Kuwait is a familiar Olympic opponent, as the U.S. squad earned a 3-1 win when they met in the opening round of the 1992 Olympic Games in Zaragoza, Spain.
Should the USA advance to the second round, they will travel to either Adelaide or Brisbane against an opponent from Group D, which includes Brazil, Slovakia, South Africa and Japan.
-- U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC SOCCER TEAM SCHEDULE --
-- U.S. Men's Olympic Roster --
* Denotes an player who is over the age of 23 and is classified as an "over-age" player