- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 27, 2001

U.S. team captain Claudio Reyna announced recently that his playing days with the U.S. team likely will end after the 2002 World Cup in Asia.
In a wide-ranging interview reported in Scotland's major papers this week, the Glasgow Rangers midfielder said he was physically and mentally tired from the travel involved with playing for both club and country.
"My plan is to go through the World Cup, and after that it will be time for starting over," Reyna said. "I won't necessarily retire from the national team, but I will definitely take a couple of years away. If coach Bruce Arena understands the situation and accepts it, that will be great, but if not I'll have to respect his decision and probably never play for the U.S. again."
The 28-year-old midfielder missed several games for the U.S. team this year because of suspension and injury. In his absence, the Americans lost three consecutive games, putting their World Cup hopes in jeopardy. Reyna returned to America earlier this month and played a vital role in the U.S. team's 2-1 win over Jamaica, a victory that secured a berth at the World Cup.
"I know the U.S. team wants to get European-based players together, but it's just too much," said Reyna, who has appeared 84 times in an American jersey. "Mostly my only time off comes when I am injured."
Even after the World Cup is over, Reyna will get little rest because the Rangers will probably be in the European Champions League qualifying rounds.
If he's fit, Reyna likely will be available for next month's meaningless World Cup qualifier at Trinidad and Tobago. After that, Reyna said he would not play in the U.S. team's friendly at South Korea in December but would play against Italy and Germany (provided it qualifies) in World Cup preparation games in April.
Reyna, who is struggling with a recurring groin injury, suggested he would have an easier time holding down a starting job with the star-studded Glasgow club if he took time off from the U.S. team.
"I'm proud to play for my country, but at this stage of my career it is important I get more rest between games for the sake of the remaining years in football," he said.
Last year Reyna was warned by Rangers coach Dick Advocatt that he had to choose between club or country to remain with the Scottish giants.
Without national team commitments to distract him, Reyna's talents would appeal to English Premier clubs, which have been following his exploits in Scotland. The American midfielder has been linked with a move to Premier clubs Sunderland and Aston Villa. His three-year contract with Rangers ends next summer.
A trade to an English club would be a financial boon for the talented playmaker, who is already the highest-paid American soccer player in the world at $21,000 a week.
Facing his third World Cup, Reyna says people will be taking a closer look at the U.S. team at the finals in Japan and South Korea next summer.
"Soccer isn't the biggest sport in the U.S., but because of the events in New York [Sept. 11], people throughout the world will be watching us," he said.
Benefit games D.C. United's players will don their uniforms tomorrow for the first time since the Major League Soccer season was cut short by the terrorist attacks.
United will play the New York/New Jersey MetroStars as part of a doubleheader with the Women's United Soccer Association's Washington Freedom and the New York Power in the Unity Games at Giants Stadium. Proceeds will go to the Sept. 11 relief efforts.
Former United stars John Harkes (Columbus), Jeff Agoos (San Jose) and Carlos Llamosa (Miami), along with MLS MVP Alex Pineda Chacon (Miami), will play for United as guest players. The MetroStars will be helped out by former striker Diego Serna (Miami).
U.S. national team star Mia Hamm will lead the Freedom in the opening game against the Power, which is led by WUSA MVP Tiffeny Millbrett.
Former German World Cup star Juergen Klinsmann will play for United in the second benefit doubleheader at RFK Stadium on Nov. 3.
Klinsmann is one of Germany's greatest players and starred in three World Cups, helping Germany win the 1990 Cup and European Championship in 1996. He lives in California, where he is a soccer consultant.
In other news, United announced this week that it will play Honduran powerhouse Club Deportivo Olimpia in a friendly Nov. 17 at RFK Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
Olimpia is considered one of Central America's top teams and the biggest club in Honduras. The All Whites have won more than 20 league championships and were runners-up for the Honduran title in 2001.
Corner kicks The Northern Virginia Royals, D.C. United affiliates, are conducting tryouts today at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. …
First it was Bob Bradley who went on to win a championship, then Frank Yallop. D.C. United seems to be a pipeline for great coaches. Bradley was assistant coach to Arena in 1996 and 1997 before moving to the Chicago Fire and winning the MLS title in his first year as a coach. On Sunday, Yallop, who was assistant coach to Thomas Rongen with United last year, won the MLS Cup in his first year as a coach with San Jose.

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