March 21, 2012
Chicago, Ill. - UCLA alums Amobi Okugo and Michael Stephens have been named to the U.S. U-23 National Team roster that will compete in the 2012 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament and attempt to qualify for the Olympic Games in London this summer.
Okugo, who played for UCLA in 2009 before signing with Major League Soccer, finished up his second season with the Philadelphia Union in 2011. The Union signed him as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Okugo played in 15 games and made 10 starts for the Union last season and was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2009 at UCLA. He has not seen any action in the Union's two games this season due to his participation in training camps with the U.S. U-23 National Team.
Stephens was a member of the UCLA Soccer Team from 2006-2009 and was drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLS Superdraft by the Los Angeles Galaxy (No. 16 overall). He completed his second season with the club in 2011, playing in 25 games with 12 starts and recording one assist on the year. Stephens was also named the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2008 at UCLA and has played in one game this year with the Galaxy, coming on as a substitute in their season opener and playing 20 minutes.
Both players are former members of the U.S. U-17 Residency program and have earned numerous caps with both the U.S. U-17/18 and U-20 National Teams.
Drawn into Group A with Canada, Cuba and El Salvador, the U.S. opens play against Cuba on March 22 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. Kickoff is set for 6 pm PT and the match will be broadcast live on Universal Sports Network, mun2 and streamed live on concacaf.com. The USA faces Canada on March 24 at 4 pm PT, and then closes out group play on March 26 against El Salvador. The semifinal and final matches will be played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. on Sat., Mar. 31 and Mon., Apr. 2 respectively.
U.S. U-23 Men's National Team Roster by Position
Goalkeepers (2): Bill Hamid (D.C. United; Annandale, Va.), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire; Lilburn, Ga.)
Defenders (6): Perry Kitchen (D.C. United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes; Durham, N.C.), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo; Huber Heights, Ohio), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact; Lancaster, Pa.), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union; Boston, Mass.)
Midfielders (6): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union; Potomac, Md.), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Mixx Diskerud (Gent; Oslo, Norway), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz (Germany); Richardson, Texas), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy; Naperville, Ill.)
Forwards (6): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund (Germany); Berlin, Germany), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City; Prior Lake, Minn.), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim (Germany); Silver Spring, Md.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; Bryan, Texas), Tony Taylor (Estoril Praia (Portugal); Jacksonville, Fla.)