Parkview grad Wolff named to U.S. World Cup team

DULUTH - By the time Tuesday's 6 p.m. SportsCenter hit the ESPN airwaves, Josh Wolff had received the personal e-mail from U.S. National Soccer Team head coach Bruce Arena.

The note was short and to the point, with the good news that the Parkview graduate had been selected to the U.S. team for this summer's World Cup in Germany.

It's the second trip to soccer's premiere event for Wolff, but it was anything but a lock. The forward heard rumors all the way up to Arena's ESPN appearance - where the coach announced his final U.S. squad live - that he made the team.

But he didn't know for certain until he opened Arena's e-mail on Tuesday.

"It was more nerve-racking this time (than prior to his 2002 World Cup appearance)," Wolff said. "There were a little different circumstances, but we're excited obviously. It's been a whirlwind three or four years with injuries and having kids. But we're glad to be back, glad to be going to another one."

This World Cup showing could be considerably different.

In 2002, he was one of the younger U.S. players and was making his debut on the world's biggest soccer stage. Now he's labeled as one of Arena's veterans, a guy who has played in the most stressful matches.

He saw limited action in the 2002 World Cup, but did start vs. Mexico, assisting his team's first goal in that match.

The 29-year-old's hopes are higher this time because he's one of the two experienced U.S. forwards (he has made 45 appearances with the national team) along with Brian McBride. The other two forwards picked by Arena, Eddie Johnson and Brian Ching, are World Cup rookies. One of the team's more high-profile players, Landon Donovan, also can play forward or


"That adds to your team if you have guys that have been through (a World Cup)," said Wolff, who plays for the Kansas City Wizards of MLS but plans to play overseas after this season. "I was a small part of the last one, but I'd like to play a bigger role this time. That's my goal."

Wolff and the U.S. team gather May 10 for training camp in Cary, N.C. before a series of friendly matches leading up to the World Cup. The opening U.S. World Cup match is June 12 vs. the Czech Republic, followed by a June 17 match vs. Italy and a June 22 matchup with Ghana. The team departs June 1 for Germany.