Steady Bruin Defensive Anchor For The Red, White & Blue

Couple of days ago makenji gave a shout out to Bruins in the US Men's national soccer team. Two Bruins - Carlos Bocanegra and Frankie Hedjuk - helped the Yanks stave of an upset against El Salvadaor in a 2-2 tie game. Bocanegra is the captain of the team while Frankie once again showed his veteran leadership on the field by scoring the tying goal in an extremely hostile venue (you had to see the game to get a sense of the incredibly frenzied home crowd rooting on the El Salvador team).

Today the LAT has a very cool profile of Hedjuk - the starting right back of the U.S. team - who is going strong in his 13th year with the national team:

He is 34, and almost 13 years have sped by since he first donned a U.S. jersey, but the former UCLA player and longtime surfer from down San Diego way still is riding high.

Hang 10? Absolutely. Hang 'em up? Not a chance.

On Wednesday night, at LP Field in Nashville, Hejduk will again be the U.S. starting right back when Coach Bob Bradley's squad takes on Trinidad and Tobago in the third of this year's 10 World Cup qualifying games for the Americans.

It was Hejduk who rescued the U.S. the last time out, summoning up the willpower in the final 15 minutes to turn an apparently inevitable 2-0 road loss to El Salvador on Saturday into an unlikely 2-2 tie.

He set up the first American goal, working his way down into the right corner, taking a pass from Brian Ching and then delivering the perfect cross for Jozy Altidore to head the ball into the net.

Not content with that, Hejduk grabbed the tying goal himself, flying through the penalty box, all elbows and knees, and banging in a header of his own to knot the score three minutes from the end of regulation and keep the U.S. undefeated on its way to South Africa 2010.

It was vintage Hejduk, as Bradley noted Tuesday.

"There are, in any team, players whose drive, whose competitiveness, whose determination in the game, sets the standard," Bradley said. "Players who leave it all on the field, who may not look perfect but at the end of the day you'd take them on your team any day of the week. Frankie is one of those players."

Read rest of the piece here.

We had a lot of fun on BN following our US soccer team three summers ago during World Cup 2006. As we get closer to South Africa 2010, we will keep close tab on our Bruins representing the red, white and blue.

Frankie, Carlos and their U.S. team-mates followed up their gut check performance against El Salvador with a 3-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago earlier last night. Let's hope they keep it going.


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