With the 2010 FIFA World Cup less than a month away, two local talents are looking to earn a spot on the U.S. team after being selected to the preliminary 30-man roster.
Columbus Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers and defender Chad Marshall have the opportunity to make the 23-man roster that will represent the U.S. in South Africa this summer.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting,” Marshall said. “Hopefully I can go in there and play well and stay healthy. I know I’m looking for one of those last few spots.”
The 30 players began training camp Monday in Princeton, N.J. The final roster will be announced on June 1.
Rogers is honored to be among the final 30 but says he still has a lot more work to do if he hopes to make the final cut.
“I’m trying to take this moment and be a little proud for myself but also the other half of me is ‘I still got to work hard. I still got to make those 23,'” Rogers said. “I’m almost there, but I’m not there yet. I know I have a good chance to go to the World Cup and I really want to take this chance.”
Rogers and Marshall are seen by many as some of the top young talent the U.S. has in Major League Soccer.
Rogers has made appearances for the national team and was also named to the 2008 MLS Best XI squad.
Marshall has been named the MLS Defender of the Year each of the past two seasons and has been considered the top U.S. defender for some time.
“Chad is the best defender in the league,” Technical Director Brian Bliss said. “I think if Chad wanted to play overseas, he could.”
Before the cuts, the U.S. will play the Czech Republic on May 25 in East Hartford, Conn., and Turkey in Philadelphia on May 29.
Marshall and Rogers will do their best to impress the coaches during camp.
“It’s a good honor for those two guys and it’s an honor for our club,” Bliss said. “Obviously the highest stage you could compete at is the World Cup. We’re in good company and wish those guys the best of luck.”