LA Galaxy forwards Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan have been included in the U.S. National Team’s preliminary roster for this summer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Both players will depart for the National Team’s training camp in Princeton, N.J. on Sunday following the Galaxy’s World Cup Send Off game against Toronto FC on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center.
Both players will miss a minimum of two games just for being named to the preliminary roster and will miss a minimum of two more if they are included in the final 23-man squad. For the first time in league history, Major League Soccer will take a two week break during the opening round of the World Cup, with the Galaxy not scheduled to play any league games between June 9 and June 26.
“I congratulate both Landon and Edson for their selection to the U.S. preliminary roster,” Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena said. “I look forward to seeing their contributions to the U.S. team in the World Cup and we all look forward to their return to the Galaxy in July.”
Buddle leads MLS with nine goals in eight games for the Galaxy this season. The MLS Player of the Month for April, Buddle has four multi-goal games this season and now has 82 goals in his 10-year MLS career, making him the eighth leading scorer in league history. The 29-year-old New York native joined the Galaxy from Toronto FC in June 2007 and has scored 34 goals in 70 regular season games for the club, including a career-high 15 in 2008. He has made just one appearance for the U.S. National Team in his career, playing the final 10 minutes of a 2-0 win over Venezuela in Seattle on March 29, 2003.
“I feel blessed with the opportunity to play with some of the best players in the country. I am incredibly thankful and ready to work hard to potentially earn a spot on the World Cup roster,” Buddle said. “It has always been my dream to represent my country and play in the World Cup. I would like to thank my teammates and coaches here with the Galaxy for helping to put me in a position to possibly fulfill this dream."
While Buddle is new to the National Team, Donovan has been a fixture in it for the last decade, appearing in 121 games and scoring a U.S. National Team record 42 goals while adding 42 assists, which are also the most in U.S. National Team history. Now in his ninth MLS season, the Galaxy captain is the reigning MLS MVP having won the award for the first time in his career last season. The sixth leading scorer in MLS history with 97 career goals, Donovan has scored 65 goals and added 55 assists since joining the Galaxy prior to the start of the 2005 season. A three-time MLS Cup winner, Donovan leads MLS with nine assists this season and was named the league’s Player of the Week on Monday after tallying a goal and four assists in two Galaxy wins last week. He was a member of the U.S. team at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, appearing in and starting all eight games for the U.S. at those two tournaments.
“This will be my third World Cup and every one of them is special. There has been a lot of hard work put in over the last four years in order to get to this position and I hope to see that hard work rewarded in South Africa,” Donovan said. “While it is never easy to leave my club team, especially for such a long period of time, I feel that we have a strong and deep team here with the Galaxy and that they will continue to play well in the absence of myself and Edson.”
Players will begin reporting to National Team camp in Princeton N.J. on Sunday, May 16. They will train there for two weeks, while also playing friendlies against the Czech Republic in Hartford, Conn. on May 25 and against Turkey in Philadelphia on May 29. The final 23-man squad which will represent the U.S. in South Africa must be announced by June 1, with the National Team opening the tournament on Saturday, June 12 against England.
This is the fourth World Cup since the start of MLS in 1996, with the Galaxy having a player appear in each of the previous three tournaments. Cobi Jones was the lone Galaxy representative at both the 1998 World Cup in France and the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea. At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Galaxy’s Chris Albright and Landon Donovan each represented the Galaxy while playing for the U.S. National Team.
Buddle, Donovan and the rest Galaxy are back home this week to take on Toronto FC at The Home Depot Center. That game, which will be played on Saturday, May 15, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and is the club’s final game before players depart for training camp ahead of this summer’s FIFA World Cup. The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a special commemorative poster featuring Buddle and Donovan and there will be a ceremony held after the game as the Galaxy and their fans official send their heroes off to training camp ahead of the World Cup. For more information about this game, or to purchase tickets to it, please visit www.lagalaxy.com or call 1-877-3GALAXY (342-5299).