Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wizards at the World Cup

Wizards defender Roger Espinoza, became the 6th Wizards player to be named to a World Cup roster while playing for the Wizards. He becomes only the second Wizard to play for a foreign national team, following in the steps of Uche Okafor, who played for Nigeria in the 1998 World Cup in France. In the 4 World Cups that have taken place since the birth of the league in 1996, the Wizards have been represented at every one of them. In 1998 it was Okafor and Preki. In 2002, it was goalkeeper Tony Meola. For the 2006 World Cup Jimmy Conrad, Eddie Johnson, and Josh Wolff all went to Germany. Of those 5, only Meola did not make an appearance at the World Cup, as he was the US team's third keeper.

Fourteen other former Wizards players have made their country's World Cup roster before they came to play with the Wizards. The US is again the most well represented obviously, with Brian Bliss (90), Mike Burns (94, 98), Bob Gansler (as coach, 90), Chris Henderson (90), Frank Klopas (94), Alexi Lalas (94, 98), Mike Sorber (94), and Peter Vermes (90). Meola (90, 94) and Wolff (02) also played at World Cup's before coming to KC as well. Of the foreign national team players, Samuel Ekeme played for Cameroon in 94, Richard Gough (86, 90) and Mo Johnston (90) both appeared for Scotland in the World Cup. Claudio Lopez appeared for Argentina in 98 and 02. Molnar appeared in 98 for Denmark and Refik Sabanadzovic played for Yugoslavia in 90. Okafor also appeared for Nigeria in the 94 World Cup as well before joining KC.

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