Friday, May 21, 2010

UCLA Players in World Cups 1990 - 2010

Proudly, UCLA has always been a powerhouse in American soccer and has been represented on the US Men's National Team at World Cups probably more than any other school (maybe Virginia).  This year, captain Carlos Bocanegra, defender Jonathan Bornstein and midfielder Benny Feilhaber will play for the US in South Africa.  I thought I'd list the UCLA players who have made a World Cup squad since 1990.

GK David Vanole (81-85*) 14 caps
D Paul Krumpe  (82-85*) 25 caps
M Chris Henderson (89-90*) 79 caps
D/M Paul Caligiuri (82-85*, 2 time all American) 110 caps

GK Brad Friedel (90*-92, 2 time All American, Hermann Trophy '92) 82 caps
D Mike Lapper (88-91*, All American) 44 caps
M Cobi Jones (88-91*) 164 caps (Most all time US)
M/F Joe-Max Moore (90-92*) 100 caps
D/M Paul Caligiuri

D Frankie Hejduk (92-94) 85 caps (2006 knee injury right before WC)
GK Brad Friedel
M Cobi Jones
M/F Joe-Max Moore

M Eddie Lewis (92-95) 82 caps
GK Brad Friedel
D Frankie Hejduk
M Cobi Jones
M/F Joe-Max Moore

D Carlos Bocanegra (96-98, 97*) 77 caps
D Jimmy Conrad (96-97*) 28 caps
M Eddie Lewis

D Jonathan Bornstein (04-05) 29 caps
M Benny Feilhaber (03-05) 31 caps
D Carlos Bocanegra

By my count, 14 different UCLA players have been selected for a World Cup squad since 1990.  It is interesting to note that out of the 14, only 4 did NOT win a national championship at UCLA (1985, 1990, 1997 all under UCLA legend, Sigi Schmid).  I did memorably attend several UCLA soccer games in 1997 as a freshman.

While US Soccer has traditionally been fueled by great college programs such as UCLA and Virginia, this pattern will likely slowly decrease as we become a better soccer nation.  Younger players will have more options to enter the youth training programs of the large European clubs, much as John O'Brien did with Ajax or Jonathan Spector did at Man U.  Also, the US has its own residency youth programs, IMG Academy, that players like Landon Donovan attended.  Consequently, the better players will be professionals far earlier and could forego college completely.  But there is no reason why UCLA will not continue to churn out soccer talent who will one day help the US win the World Cup.

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