PHOENIX (October 9, 2019) - The 6v6 Socca World Cup in Rethimno, Crete, is days away from kicking off and Team USA looks poised for another successful tournament.
40 countries are set to compete in the nine-day tournament from October 12-20. Team USA has been drawn into Group E with Slovakia (Oct. 14), Kazakhstan (Oct. 15), Oman (Oct. 17) and Nigeria (Oct 18).
As was the case at the 2018 Socca World Cup in Lisbon, Portugal, where Team USA was eliminated by Germany in the quarterfinals, the roster is dominated by Arizona players. Back for a second run at the title is Jon Guse (Hamilton), Ben Haugland (Mountain Pointe), David Paul (Thunderbird), and Andrew Weber (McClintock).
New Arizona faces set to help the squad include Robbie Findley (Showdow Mountain), Mitch Garcia (Thunderbird), Tyler Pavlet (Millenium), and Chris Ramsell (Pinnacle).
A few of those names should immediately stand out. Findley was a 10-year pro and appeared in three matches at the 2010 World Cup. From 2009-2015, Weber played for Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes, Portland Timbers, and Seattle Sounders. Paul played professionally in Poland for Puszcza Niepolomice
The other non-Arizona players on the roster include Lamar Neagle, Scott Crandell, Mo Salama, and Kenny McAvoy. The last three players all currently live in Arizona and Neagle, from Washington, appeared in more than 150 Major League Soccer matches.
At the helm and back for year number two is local coach, Tommy Hurdle, who currently coaches the Arizona Soccer Association 05 Girls ODP team (they won 14U title at 2019 ODP West Championships), Scottsdale Community College, and Phoenix Premier FC.
Team Director, Adam Thelwell, who also runs Small Goal Soccer and the East Valley Premier League shared his thoughts on this year's team and expectations, "For the 2018 tournament, the USA roster was strong but we feel we’ve added some real quality to that existing base of returning players. With players like Robbie Findley and Lamar Neagle featuring the team adds a whole new level of firepower going forward. Other newcomers include AZ locals Mitch Garcia, Tyler Pavlet, Chris Ramsall and Kenny McAvoy who all bring depth and strength to the team. The team had a great run in the 2018 tournament being the only team not to lose a game during regular time eventually losing to Germany on penalties. We’ll take one game at a time and not underestimate any of our opponents as this isn’t your traditional dominant football nation. Some of the lesser-known countries can cause some upsets so we need to be on our toes and aim to win one game at a time."