WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 27, 2010) â€“ U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden greeted the U.S. Menâ€™s National Soccer Team today at the White House, three days prior to the teamâ€™s departure to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
President Bill Clinton also attended the event as honorary chairman of the USA Bid Committee to bring the FIFA World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
President Obama, Vice President Biden and President Clinton met with head coach Bob Bradley, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and the 23 players who were named to the World Cup roster on Wednesday and wished them good luck in South Africa.
â€œWe are privileged to represent the United States in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and that honor has been magnified many times over by the welcome we received today by President Obama, Vice President Biden and President Clinton at the White House,â€ said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. â€œOur countryâ€™s leaders clearly understand and appreciate what the World Cup means to all people of the world. The support theyâ€™ve shown, along with the American people, for our journey to this historic World Cup as well as our bid to host the tournament in 2018 or 2022 has been immense and inspirational.â€
â€œIt was a great honor for our team to visit the White House and meet President Obama, Vice President Biden and President Clinton,â€ said U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley. â€œWe are proud to be representing our country in South Africa, and there is no greater way to reinforce that message than to hear it directly from the President of the United States.â€
The U.S. will play their final home match on May 29 before departing for South Africa when they face Turkey at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (tickets). More than 45,000 tickets have already been sold. ESPN2 and Galavision will broadcast the match live beginning at 2 p.m. ET. ESPN will have a 30-minute pregame show beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. The United States will play one final friendly before the tournament begins, this time on South African soil when they face Australia on June 5 at Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
The U.S. Men's National Team has been drawn into Group C with England, Slovenia and Algeria for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. will open its sixth consecutive World Cup finals tournament against England on June 12 in Rustenburg, and will follow that game with matches against Slovenia on June 18 in Johannesburg and Algeria on June 23 in Tshwane/Pretoria.