Jan. 3, 2012
BERKELEY - One of the top producers of young soccer talent in the nation, California again garnered notice from U.S. Soccer when the Under-20 National Team brought in freshman midfielder Seth Casiple to a Jan. 2-9 training camp and the senior U.S. Men's National Team added goalkeeper coach Henry Foulk to its staff for its current training camp.
U.S. U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos called in Casiple - the 2011 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year - and 35 other players to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for his team's first camp of 2012.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment for Seth and the Cal soccer program," Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. "This is a prestigious honor for a soccer player to achieve. The current Cal players and alumni are all proud of Seth."
Casiple is one of 15 college players on the U-20 MNT squad. Ramos is preparing his U-20s for the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament, which will likely begin in early 2013. The U-20 World Cup will be held in Turkey in 2013, and every player on the roster is age-eligible for the competition.
A Rocklin, Calif., product, Casiple led Cal and ranked among the conference leaders in assists most of the season, winding up with six assists to go along with one goal, and started all 17 games. He finished the season ranked fourth in assists per game (0.35) and sixth in total assists in the Pac-12.
In addition to claiming a spot on the All-Pac-12 Team, Casiple earned selection on the Soccer America All-Freshman Team and the College Soccer News All-Freshman Team.
Foulk Noticed for Work at Goalkeeper U.
U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann tasked Foulk with working with MLS goalkeepers Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) at the annual January training camp, which this year will be held in Phoenix. Foulk will work with the U.S. MNT from Jan. 5-12 as it prepares for a Jan. 21 exhibition match against Venezuela at the University of Phoenix in Glendale, Ariz., and a Jan. 25 friendly against Panama in Panama City.
A former Cal star goalkeeper in his own right, Foulk has gained acclaim for the number and quality of netminders Cal has produced for the professional ranks. He worked with all the erstwhile Cal goalies who play in MLS: Josh Saunders, a starter for current MLS champion Los Angeles; David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Stefan Frei (Toronto FC) and Eric Kronberg (Sporting Kansas City). Bingham earned his own U.S. call-up - for the U.S. U-23 MNT training camp - in December.
"Henry has been the top goalkeeper coach in the country for college soccer for years," Grimes said. "Currently we have four soccer alums in MLS, and Henry has been an integral part of their development here at Cal. U.S. Soccer has realized his talents, and for him to be brought in to the senior national team is a tremendous accomplishment for Henry and our program."
Birnbaum's U.S. Squad Falls to Host in Final
Also making news this month was junior defender Steve Birnbaum. The Cal co-captain won a silver medal representing the U.S. Maccabi Team at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Birnbaum's team, competing in the open men's soccer tournament, fell to host Brazil, 2-1, in the Jan. 2 final.
"For Steve and the U.S. Maccabi Team to advance to the final is a great accomplishment," Grimes said. "Anytime you play Brazil in Brazil, it's going to be a challenging match. It looks like the U.S. team played them to a tight result."
Birnbaum played every minute of the United States' six games at center back and scored a goal in the 4-1 victory over Venezuela in a Jan. 1 semifinal.
At Cal, he scored the second goal of his college career in an Oct. 21 game at Oregon State last fall. Birnbaum scored his first goal as a Bear in 2010 in a game against the Beavers in Berkeley. A social welfare major, Birnbaum earned Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention in 2011.