Tampa -- The U.S. Men's National Team will visit Raymond James Stadium for the first time when they face Ecuador on March 25 at 12 p.m. The match is the first for the United States in Tampa in 12 years.
The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team will take on El Salvador's U-17s in the opening match of the doubleheader. The Under-17 match will kick off at 9:15 a.m. (gates open at 9 a.m.), followed by the U.S. MNT against Ecuador. Tickets provide entry for both matches, but re-entry into the stadium is not permitted.
The USA-Ecuador game will be played during a FIFA match window which allowed the U.S. to have a full compliment of players available for selection by head coach Bob Bradley as the United States continues to prepare for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup and Copa America.
The roster features 11 players from the 2006 FIFA World Cup squad, including five players - DaMarcus Beasley, Steve Cherundolo, Landon Donovan, Kasey Keller, and Oguchi Onyewu - who appeared in all three matches. Keller is the leading capwinner on the squad, having earned 96 caps while posting 45 career shutouts. While second in caps with 86 appearances, Donovan is the USA's all-time leader in assists (24), having extended his lead by delivering the corner that led to Jimmy Conrad's game-winning goal against Mexico on Feb. 7 in Glendale, Ariz. With a total of 13 players plying their trade in Europe, seven are coming to Florida by way of the English Premier League. Oguchi Onyewu, the 2006 U.S. Soccer Male of the Year, returns to the fold after his winter loan move to Newcastle United.
While there is loads of experience on the roster, there are also plenty of fresh faces getting a look. A total of 11 players have five caps or less, with three players - Jay DeMerit, Benny Feilhaber and Frank Simek - looking for their first-ever cap with the full team. DeMerit, who scored the game-winning goal in the Playoff Promotion final last year against Leeds United to land Watford a place in England's top league, is the only player in the group with no experience with any of the U.S. national teams. FC Dallas striker Kenny Cooper made his debut with the full team in style earlier this year, scoring a breakaway goal in the 3-1 win against Denmark on Jan. 20 at The Home Depot Center.
On the domestic front, Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching makes his first appearance in camp with the national team since the World Cup. The reigning MLS Champion scored the game-tying goal against New England in MLS Cup '06, equalizing after fellow national team striker Taylor Twellman had given the Revs a 1-0 lead. Of the 11 players on the roster who are based in MLS, six appeared in the USA's 2-0 win against Mexico last month, including four starters.
Tickets starting at $18 have been on sale since Jan. 25 at all Bay area Ticketmaster outlets (including the Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa Theater, the USF Sun Dome, and FYE stores) and by phone at 813-287-8844. Nearly 20,000 tickets have already been sold.