FOR UNION midfielder Maurice Edu, yesterday signified another big step toward his goal of competing in another World Cup. Named to the United States team's preliminary 30-man roster, the next step is ensuring himself a seat on the plane to Brazil.
"It's very exciting," said Edu, in his first season in Philadelphia. "That was part of one of my goals that I set in coming back here, coming back to MLS and coming back to Philly. It was kind of a process, and this is the next step in that process of what my ultimate goal is and I'm very excited. I'm very excited to go there representing not only myself and my family, but also the Union."
Edu, 28, was one of 10 midfielders U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann included on the roster, which needs to be cut to 23 by June 2.
Tomorrow, players begin reporting to training camp in Palo Alto, Calif., on Stanford's campus.
Edu is slated to play in tomorrow night's road match against first-place Sporting Kansas City before departing for training camp. He's vying for his second World Cup roster; he appeared in three games in South Africa in 2010.
Acquired by the Union in January via transfer from Stoke City FC of the English Premier League, Edu has been one of the club's best players through its struggle-filled start of the season.
He has started and played the full 90 in all 11 games, scoring two goals with one assist. His three points tie him for the team lead.
"I feel very confident, very good about where I am right now, confident in who I am as a player and as a person," he said. "I've been a part of the National Team for quite a few years now and I have experience in terms of playing in a World Cup, so I know what it takes to get to that stage."
A participant in the April 2 friendly against Mexico in Phoenix, Edu since 2007 has played in more than 40 matches with the national team. He noted that having previous experience on the international stage should help him in the coming weeks.
Before the U.S. squad leaves for Brazil, it will play exhibition matches in three cities. It plays Azerbaijan on May 27 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Turkey on June 1 at Harrison, N.J.'s Red Bull Arena and Nigeria on June 7 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
The U.S. begins World Cup play in Brazil on June 16 against Ghana.
"The goal of this whole process is that eventually we get to a stage where we aren't just content going to the World Cup," Edu said. "We want to go to the World Cup with the confidence that we can actually win, get a medal, do something big. I think we're heading in the right direction now. We have a confident group."