Aug. 30, 2000
Two more former UCLA men's soccer players were added to the U.S. Olympic Team roster when head coach Clive Charles added U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper Brad Friedel and Los Angeles Galaxy rookie midfielder Sasha Victorine to the final 18-man roster. The two players will serve as replacements for injured players Adin Brown (Colorado Rapids, MLS) and Chris Armas (Chicago Fire, MLS).
The announcement came after it was ruled that "over-age" midfielder Chris Armas would be unfit to compete in the Sydney 2000 Games after a medical evaluation earlier this week. Coming on the heels of Adin Brown's withdrawal from the team yesterday due to leg injuries, the Armas decision left two open spots -- one Under-23 and one "over-age" -- on the final 18-man roster, which must be submitted by the Sept. 1 deadline.
"Obviously, I'm very disappointed that Chris (Armas) and Adin (Brown) won't be joining us in Sydney. I'm sorry for them, and I'm sorry for us," said U.S. U-23 Head Coach Clive Charles, who led an inexperienced Under-23 squad to a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan American Games last summer. "But we're bringing in a world-class `keeper in Brad (Friedel) and a versatile midfielder in Sasha (Victorine)." Armas, arguably the best defensive midfielder in the country, suffered a Grade 2 sprain of the MCL in his left knee while helping the U.S. Men's National Team defeat Barbados 7-0 in an important World Cup qualifying match on Aug. 16 at Foxboro Stadium. The injury, which came on a vicious tackle from behind in the midfield, was similar to an MCL sprain that he suffered last year on the same knee.
To fill the third and final "over-age" spot and likely take Brown's spot in the starting lineup, Charles called on the experienced Friedel, the second most-capped goalkeeper in U.S. Men's National Team history with 66 international appearances. The 6'4" Friedel started all three first round games of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as an Under-23 player and is a two-time U.S. World Cup veteran from USA `94 and France `98.
The Bay Village, Ohio, native has spent the last three seasons in the highly rated English Premier League with Liverpool, one of England's most heralded clubs. Prior to his stint in England, Friedel was considered the top goalkeeper in Major League Soccer over the league's first two seasons (1996 and 1997), where he competed for the Columbus Crew and earned MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors in `97. A three-time All-American at UCLA, Friedel first made a name for himself on the pro level with famed Turkish club Galatasaray, where he spent the 1995 season.
Also a UCLA almnus, Victorine has earned six caps with the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team and was on the bronze medal-winning Pan Am Games team last summer. An injury kept him off the U-23 squad that qualified back in April, but he has gone on to have a stellar rookie season with the Los Angeles Galaxy, where he has registered three goals and five assists in 25 games. A standout collegiate player for the Bruins, the Carmichael, Calif., native was selected in the first round (11th pick overall) of the MLS SuperDraft 2000 shortly after he was named the 1999 Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year (college soccer's version of the Heisman Trophy) for his senior season.
With the addition of former Bruins Friedel (1990-1992) and Victorine (1996-1999) to the squad, the final 18-player U.S. Men's Olympic Soccer Team roster features four alums from UCLA, the most of any college. Peter Vagenas (1996-1999) and Frankie Hejduk (1992-1994) were named to the team earlier this month.