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Freshman James Rogers kicks a ball during a game against Cal State Bakersfield last season. Rogers has been chosen as part of a group of soccer players under the age of 20 to attend the United States Soccer Team’s national camp next week.

Player invited to under-20 US Soccer Team camp

James Rogers has a unique opportunity to represent the United States, a country he has been a citizen of for two weeks.
Rogers, a freshman forward on the men’s soccer team, was selected to attend the U-20 United States national team camp next week in Portland, Ore.

Rogers was born in Sierra Leone and moved to the United States in 2004, but two weeks ago was granted citizenship of the United States. He said all of his hard work is starting to pay off.

“I’ve worked for many years to be given the opportunity to represent the United States in international competition,” Rogers said. “I feel blessed to finally get the call up.”

The camp is composed of the best professional and college soccer players across the country who are under the age of 20. It is in preparation for the upcoming qualifying games for the 2013 U-20 World Cup, in Turkey.

Head UNM coach Jeremy Fishbein said Rogers has been on U.S. soccer’s radar, but couldn’t participate until he was granted citizenship.

Rogers played in all 22 of UNM’s games, and started in 19.
He had three goals and five assists last season, and two of his goals were game winners in back-to-back games against Santa Clara and Columbia.

Rogers said he was flattered to be included in the U-20 pool, which is composed some of the best youth players in the country.
Rogers becomes the second player during Fishbein’s 11-year tenure to compete with a youth national team.

Michael Green, who graduated last year and was selected by Toronto Football Club in this year’s Major League Soccer supplemental draft, competed for the U-18 national team when he first came to UNM.

Fishbein said attending a camp like this will give Rogers some valuable experience and see what the next level is like.

“It’s great for him,” he said. “It’s great exposure for us and we like to think that we have helped prepare him to succeed at that level.”

Fishbein said Rogers can use this camp to hopefully make the roster for the upcoming U-20 World Cup qualifiers.

“I am really excited for James and am confident that he will impress the National Team Staff,” Fishbein said. “James has worked very hard to earn this honor and will not take this opportunity lightly. James is a tremendous representative of our University and soccer program.”

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