Los Angeles Soccer: U.S. U-18 men's national team
Seven L.A.-area players have been called up for camps involving the U.S. under-23 and under-20 women's national teams and under-18 men's team.
The U-23 women are headed to La Manga, Spain, for a Feb. 21-March 2 tournament with Sweden's, Norway's and England's U-23 teams. Former UCLA midfielder Kylie Wright, a first-round pick by the Atlanta Beat in Women's Professional Soccer's draft last month, is among 10 WPS players on the U.S. roster.
The U-20 women opened a weeklong camp Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and play the University of San Diego's women on Saturday.
The U-18 men began a nine-day camp Saturday in Phoenix. They have games planned against four MLS clubs: Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids on Tuesday, and Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers on Saturday.
The local players:
M Kylie Wright (Rancho Santa Margarita), Tesoro HS/UCLA, Atlanta Beat
F Michelle Cruz (Thousand Oaks), Thousand Oaks HS/University of Portland, Real So Cal
F Ariana Martinez (Moorpark), Moorpark HS/UCLA, Real So Cal
F Tawni Martino (Irvine), Beckman HS/Loyola Marymount, So Cal Blues
D Pablo Ocegueda (Riverside), Saddleback HS, UANL Tigres (Mexico)
M Luis Gil (Garden Grove), Santiago HS, Real Salt Lake
F Steve Palacios (San Clemente), San Clemente HS, United Football Club
Palos Verdes Estates' Christen Press, fresh off Stanford's disappointing defeat to Notre Dame in Sunday's NCAA Division I women's final, heads into a weeklong camp at Home Depot Center with the U.S. under-23 women's team.
Press (Chadwick School) is among nine pros and the nation's top college players -- three locals -- who will join the team, guided by University of Portland director of soccer (and men's coach) Bill Irwin, on Sunday.
The U-23 team is primarily a developmental squad, a steppingstone from college soccer to the full U.S. national team; the primary competition at the age level is the Nordic Cup, an exhibition event played most summers in Scandinavia.