May 14, 2014
BY JEREMY WODAJO
UW Athletic Communications
here’s no doubt the world will be watching on May 27 when the U.S. National Team takes on Azerbaijan in its first of three exhibitions leading up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Below is a list of the current U.S. National Team players recently named to the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad that have played for UW head coach John Trask, along with the team they played for at that time.
Demarcus Beasley: U-17 National Team
Kyle Beckerman: Miami Fusion (MLS)
Terence Boyd: U-23 National Team (Olympic Qualifying)
Joe Corona: U-23 National Team (Olympic Qualifying)
Brad Davis: Dallas Burn (MLS)
Mix Diskerud: U-23 National Team (Olympic Qualifying)
Landon Donovan (pictured): U-17 National Team
Clarence Goodson: Dallas Burn (MLS)
Nick Rimando: Miami Fusion & DC United (MLS)
Among those interested in the match will be University of Wisconsin men’s soccer head coach John Trask, but for reasons unknown to the common fútbol fan.
Like many of the other accomplished men’s soccer coaches across the country, Trask’s passion for the sport runs deep.
But unlike many of his fellow coaches in the Big Ten, the ACC and beyond, Trask has had the opportunity to work intimately with a handful of the players named to the U.S.’s preliminary 30-man roster -- nine to be exact.
"First and foremost I would like to congratulate all the players who made the 30-man roster for the U.S.,” Trask said. “The chance to play in a World Cup, the pinnacle of our sport, is a tremendous accomplishment and to see nine guys on the roster whom I've been fortunate to spend time with during their careers is exciting.
“I know they are all well prepared for this opportunity and will take full advantage of the chance to represent the United States on the international stage.”
In just four seasons at UW, the Indiana alum has revived the enthusiasm and excitement in the Madison soccer community and beyond, an excitement only seen back in the 1990s when UW was a perennial Big Ten and NCAA tournament contender. But Trask’s coaching prowess has led him to a number of different stops during his career, which has spanned over two decades.
Aside from his days with the MLS’s D.C. United, FC Dallas and Miami Fusion, to name a few, Trask has also worked extensively with U.S. Soccer, serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team at the prestigious Northern Ireland Milk Cup in July 2008. Alongside head coach Mike Matkovich, Trask served as an assistant coach at U18 National Team development camps in Carson, California, in 2010, while also assisting Caleb Porter in coaching the U-23 U.S. National Team Olympic Qualifying squad.
It was during these stints that Trask worked with current U.S. National Team standouts Mix Diskerud, Terrance Boyd and Juan Agudelo, among others, in preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The longevity and personal relationships Trask has developed with these international superstars dating back to their prep days will make this year’s World Cup that much more special for him.
“Whether it's Demarcus (Beasley) and Landon (Donovan) or Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman, who played for the Miami Fusion (MLS) earlier in their careers to some of my favorite guys from the U-23 Olympic Qualifying Team (Joe Corona, Terrence and Mix), vying for a plane ticket to Brazil for soccer’s ultimate event is so rewarding,” Trask explained. "I know American soccer fans are getting jacked like all of us in the business are and I wish all the members of team great success down in Brazil."
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As much as Trask enjoys being a fan this time of the year because of the buzz that surrounds the World Cup combined with the opportunity to watch a few of his former guys on the international stage, he still remains a coach, indebted to the well-being of his players, both current and former.
D.C United forward and 2012 MLS Comeback Player of the Year Eddie Johnson, who is nearing the latter part of his professional career, is one of Trask’s former pupils who was not fortunate enough to make the U.S.’s 30-man roster. Even as Trask sympathizes with Johnson, he also has the coaching knowledge and perspective to realize the team’s success is the ultimate goal when obliged to cut players.
"It has been interesting to see the backlash received by (U.S. manager) Jurgen Klinsmann after leaving Eddie off of the roster,” Trask said. “Eddie is one of the most talented players I've ever had the pleasure to work with and I feel for him.
“This is probably his last chance at age 30 but as I remind our players here at Wisconsin and more importantly the players we are recruiting, being concerned with building a team and how the team operates in soccer is more important than pure individual talent. For Klinsmann, making these tough choices comes down to team success and I, like him, understand the difficult choices that are part of a coach’s duty when deciding the overall welfare of the team."
Following its friendly with Azerbaijan, the U.S. National Team will also take on Turkey (June 1) and Nigeria (June 7) before opening Group G play against Ghana on June 16 in Brazil.