CHICAGO (Aug. 1, 2014) – U.S. Soccer announced Friday that Fire midfielders Benji Joya and Victor Pineda have been named to the 18-man roster for the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team’s training camp in Nassau, Bahamas from Aug. 3-7.
Following three days of training, the U.S. will face the Bahamas Senior National Team on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the Thompson A. Robinson National Stadium.
This camp is part of the USA’s continuing effort to focus early on the qualification process for the 2016 Summer Olympics taking place in Rio de Janeiro. In April, Joya and Pineda took part in the initial U-21 MNT camp at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif. Joya scored both goals in the USA’s 2-1 victory against Club Tijuana on April 23.
“The chance to get this group of players together and get ahead of the curve in preparation for Olympic Qualifying in two years’ time is huge,” said U.S. Soccer Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann. “We began with the U-21 camp in April, and now it’s critical that we have as many camps and games as possible so we can build a deep pool of talent that can qualify for Brazil. The Olympics are an important opportunity for young players, and we have to capitalize on it. We also want to give a big thanks the Bahamas Football Association for hosting us.”
Joya was acquired by the Fire on Feb. 5, 2014 in a weighted lottery from Liga MX side Club Santos Laguna. The San Jose, Calif. native scored the club’s first goal of the season in the Fire’s 3-2 season opening loss to Chivas USA. Joya entered the match in the 63rd minute and 49 seconds into his Fire debut, scored with his first touch of the game. Joya has started nine of the 12 matches in which he has appeared this season.
Pineda, a Fire Academy product and the first Homegrown player in club history, made his competitive debut on March 23, 2014 in a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls. Pineda made three additional appearances for the Men in Red before he was loaned to NASL side Indy Eleven on June 13.
Joya and Pineda were part of the U.S. squad for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. Joya will depart following the Fire’s clash with Eastern Conference foes Columbus Crew for Military Appreciation Night presented by TrueCar at Toyota Park on Saturday, Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m. CT (My50/TWCSC Wisconsin/La Ley 107.9 FM). The first 5,000 fans in the stadium will receive a set of commemorative Chicago Fire dog tags. Tickets to the match are available via Ticketmaster and www.Chicago-Fire.com.
Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Cody Cropper (Southampton; Maple Grove, Minn.), Zack Steffen (Maryland; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7): AJ Cochran (Houston Dynamo; St. Louis, Mo.), Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Bryan Gallego (Arizona United; Kinnelon, N.J.), Ramon Martin del Campo (San Jose Earthquakes; Chula Vista, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), William Packwood (Birmingham City; Concord, Mass.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Dennis Flores (León; Pasadena, Calif.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Daniel Cuevas (CF Lobos BUAP; Sacramento, Calif.), Alfred Koroma Shams (Internacional; Southlake, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Indy Eleven; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; El Paso, Texas)