CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, December 8, 2011) – LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens was one of 28 players named to Caleb Porter’s U.S. Under-23 National Team roster for an upcoming training camp in Bradenton, Fla. Stephens, 22, has appeared in a total of 50 regular season games during his two seasons with the Galaxy after being selected by the club in the first round (16th overall) of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Stephens and the rest of the U-23’s will train from Dec. 15-23 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
A versatile midfielder, Stephens has appeared in 25 games in each of his two seasons with the Galaxy, making 33 starts while scoring one goal and adding nine assists. He also came off the bench in two of LA’s four postseason games this year as he helped the club win their third MLS Cup. A native of Naperville, Ill., Stephens just returned from the Galaxy’s Asia Pacific Tour 2011, presented by Herbalife, where he played in all three games and converted his penalty in the tour-ending penalty shootout win over Melbourne Victory on Tuesday. He appeared in 33 games in all official competitions this season, playing in both of the club’s U.S. Open Cup games and five of the six CONCACAF Champions League games in addition to his 27 appearances in MLS competitions.
A veteran of the U.S. U-15, U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-20 National Teams, this is the first time that Stephens has been called into a camp with the U-23’s. He is one of 17 MLS players included in the 28 man squad. This is the second gathering of this age group in preparation for qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games. U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is working with Porter and the rest of the coaching staff in order to structure the program in a similar fashion to the full team, including the approach to style of play, training sessions, and fitness testing.
The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team was drawn into Group A of the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament and will face Canada, Cuba and El Salvador. The teams will play their group matches from March 22-26 at LP Field in Nashville. The two finalists from the tournament will qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London next summer. CONCACAF will announce the schedule for the qualifying tournament later today.
U.S. UNDER-23 ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (4): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union)
DEFENDERS (8): Gale Agbossoumonde (Eintracht Frankfurt), Royal-Dominique Fennell (Stuttgarter Kickers), Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact), Jorge Villafana (Chivas USA), Andrew Wenger (Duke), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Bryan Arguez (Montreal Impact), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabæk), Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz), Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (6): Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Teal Bunbury (Sporting KC), Jann George (Nürnberg), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Andrew Wooten (Kaiserslautern)