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Oguchi Onyewu
Oguchi Onyewu
Oguchi Onyewu
Date of Birth:May 13, 1982 (Age 32)
Place of Birth:Maryland
Nationality:United States
Height:193 cm.
Weight:95 Kg.
Position:Defender
Squad Number:5
Oguchi Onyewu - Born in the USA to Nigerian parents, Onyewu was the late-bloomer of the first ever USA U-17 residency class. He left college to develop abroad in France, though his career really gained momentum when he signed on in Belgium with Standard Liege. Besides gaining European citizenship through his years in Belgium, Onyewu blossomed into an athletic defender who is also an incredible threat in the air. His World Cup experience in 2006 was disappointing, as it was for the rest of the USA team, with Onyewu in particular frustrated with being called for a penalty battling for a header in the decisive group game versus Ghana.

Onyewu's loan to Newcastle in 2007 was not particularly successful, but another championship run once he returned to Liege caught the eye of one of Italy's most storied teams. Onyewu was signed by AC Milan in the summer of 2009. He became the first American international ever to sign for the club that claims seven Champions League titles, and only the second, after Alexi Lalas, to ever play for a Serie A club.

The tall defender cuts an impressive figure while patrolling the USA goal. At 6'4, Onyewu is the tallest field player the USA has ever had, and his muscled physique often draws comparisons with those of players whose game is American football. Onyewu won the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award in 2006, only two years after his first cap with the squad. He has become a stalwart for the team, with over fifty caps earned. Onyewu played especially well during the USA team's stellar Confederations Cup run of 2009, where the Americans defeated Spain and reached the final before losing to Brazil. That performance reportedly helped him gain his contract with AC Milan.

However, Onyewu only played a few matches for AC Milan before he was injured in the final World Cup qualifying match for the USA versus Costa Rica in October of 2009. In the closing moments of the match, Onyewu suffered a partial rupture of his patellar tendon. Though his prognosis has been good and his recovery steady, many conjecture that he will not be back to full strength before the World Cup begins.

Thus, the USA may have a star defender who is not at his ideal peak of form in South Africa.

Did you know?

Though often shortened to 'Oguchi' or even 'Gooch', Onyewu's first name is Oguchialu.


Awards:



Belgian First Division
Best XI: 2004–05, 2007–08
Best Foreign Player: 2004–05
U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year: 2006

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