Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy 50th Steve

If he gets the nod tomorrow night against T&T, then U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo will have made 50 appearances for the United States since his debut on Sept. 8, 1999 against Jamaica. The diminutive defender started all three games in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and now has amassed 16 caps in qualifying. The San Diego, Calif., native was a member of the 2002 World Cup team, but an injury kept him sidelined throughout the USA's historic quarterfinal run.

While a steady defender with smooth skills on the ball, Cherundolo has contributed to the attack with some important assists as well as memorable goals. His first strike came on March 27, 2006, when he played a 75-yard ball over the top of the German defense that bounced into the goal following a collision between Eddie Johnson and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. In last year's Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, a nifty run and a clinical finish gave Cherundolo and the U.S. the only goal they needed for a 1-0 victory against South Africa in Johannesburg.

A member of the 2005 Gold Cup winning side, his only point that year was a huge one, setting up Eddie Johnson to score the first goal in the USA's 2-1 against T&T in the opening match of final round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Cherundolo has spent his entire professional career at Hannover 96 of the German Bundesliga,
his steady performance and leadership presence earning him the role of Vice Captain, a position voted on by the players.

A co-captain of the U.S. Under-20 team in the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship, Cherundolo had his sights set on the 2000 Olympic Games before a knee injury ended his Olympic dreams.

Steve has produced a long and consistent career for both club and country, and at 29 years old we certainly hope he has a few more years in him.

1 comment:

Brains said...

He's awesome. I lived in Germany for three years and he gave us Americans a good (rare) positive image.

I wish the US MNT started all players with jobs in real, competitive leagues.