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Waiting game on World Cup fate

Josh Wolff probably will find out a little sooner, but the rest of us have to wait until next week to find out the answer to a big question.

Did the Parkview graduate make the U.S. roster for this summer's World Cup?

The decision is up to U.S. National Men's Soccer Team head coach Bruce Arena, who will announce the roster live next Tuesday on ESPN's SportsCenter. Until then, it's a waiting game for Wolff and all the supporters he has in Gwinnett County, and not just those at his old high school.

Plenty of folks around the county, particularly those in the booming soccer community (and even those at rival Brookwood), are curious to see if the hometown forward will make a return visit to the World Cup. He played in soccer's biggest event back in 2002, a time when many people in the area paid closer attention to it because of his presence.

It meant a lot, especially to the younger soccer players in this area, that a local player could make it to the sport's ultimate stage. Not many native Georgians find their way into the World Cup - it's believed Wolff and Conyers native Clint Mathis were the first in 2002 - so by simply making the U.S. roster four years ago Wolff showed that it's possible.

Now we're all hoping that he gets a second trip.

Those in the know have a hunch that Wolff is going back, based on a number of theories. He's one of only two guys to play in every U.S. National Team match this year. He's done the little things to impress Arena and his fellow coaches in qualifying and friendly matches, even if he hasn't been a consistent goal scorer (then again, no U.S. forward has shown that in recent matches).

But the biggest thing working in his favor is that, at age 29, Wolff is suddenly a U.S. veteran. He's a forward, along with Brian McBride, with experience in a group of unproven young kids, a guy who's pushing 50 caps (appearances) with the full national team.

The Kansas City Wizards striker played important minutes in the 2002 World Cup as both a reserve and a starter. He started the World Cup game with Mexico and assisted the team's first goal, a nicely placed pass to McBride. He also has played in the tense matches that the U.S. needed to secure World Cup spots and he's played in the Olympics.

At his age, this may be his last chance at World Cup glory. I hope he gets that shot.

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.