May 2, 2006
Four former UCLA players were selected to the U.S. World Cup team, the most by any college in the nation. Former Bruin standouts Eddie Lewis (1992-95), Frankie Hejduk (1992-94), Carlos Bocanegra (1997-99) and Jimmy Conrad (1996-97) were named to the 23-man roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup by U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. This is the fifth consecutive World Cup that at least four UCLA players have been named to the U.S. roster.
Hejduk, however, will not be able to participate in the World Cup due to a torn ACL in his right knee, which was discovered on May 3, the day after the selections were made. He was replaced on the roster by Chris Albright.
Lewis and Hejduk were both key members of the 2002 team that advanced to the quarterfinals to earn the United States' best showing in 72 years. Hejduk was also on the 1998 squad. Bocanegra and Conrad will be making their first-ever World Cup appearances.
Lewis, who plays for Leeds United in England, was a two-time honorable mention Soccer News All-American and NSCAA All-Far West selection at UCLA. He earned team Offensive MVP honors in 1994 and 1995 and finished his Bruin career with 30 goals, 28 assists and 88 points. Lewis has 68 caps and eight goals for the U.S. team in his career.
Bocanegra, who currently plays for Fulham in England, received second-team NSCAA All-America honors in 1999 and Soccer America first-team acclaim in 1998. A nominee for the 1999 MAC Award and Hermann Trophy, he helped lead UCLA to two College Cups in his three years and was a starter as a freshman during the Bruins' 1997 NCAA Championship run. Bocanegra has 38 caps with the U.S. National Team and has scored six goals.
Conrad, a former UCLA walk-on, played for the Bruins in 1996 and 1997 and was a starting defender on the Bruins' 1997 NCAA Championship team. After going undrafted in the 1998 MLS draft, he has since become a star in the league, earning 2005 MLS Defensive MVP honors for the Kansas City Wizards. Conrad made his U.S. National Team debut in 2005 and has played in 13 games.
Hejduk, a former Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) player and current member of the Columbus Crew, earned second-team NSCAA All-America honors at UCLA in 1994 and was the only defender selected to the All-MPSF first team that season. He ranked third on the team in 1994 with six goals scored and also added three assists. Hejduk, who has 72 caps and five goals, would have become the fourth UCLA player to play in three World Cups, joining Brad Friedel, Cobi Jones and Joe-Max Moore.
Goalkeeper Matt Reis (1994-97) of the New England Revolution was named as an alternate. Reis was the Defensive MVP of the 1997 NCAA Championships, posting 221 shutout minutes and 20 saves in the College Cup. He earned Soccer America All-America honors that season after posting a 0.64 goals against average with nine solo shutouts and a 17-2 overall record.
2006 U.S. World Cup Roster
Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard, Kasey Keller
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Jimmy Conrad, Cory Gibbs, Frankie Hejduk*, Eddie Lewis, Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope, Chris Albright
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
* - injured, replaced on roster by Chris Albright