CHICAGO – Former UC Santa Barbara star striker Chris Pontius has earned a call up to the US Men's National Team for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, head coach Bruce Arena announced Wednesday.
Pontius, who is currently in his second season with the Philadelphia Union and his ninth overall in the MLS, will join the USMNT on Friday after facing Sporting KC with his club team on Thursday. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native has six assists in 17 games so far this season for the Union.
Earlier this year, Pontius became the first Gaucho ever to be capped with the USMNT, taking part in contests against Serbia (Jan. 29) and Jamaica (Feb. 3). He had previously earned call ups with the national team in 2010 and 2011.
The U.S. begins its quest for a sixth regional title when they open play in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Panama on Saturday, July 8 in Nashville (3:30 p.m. CT; FOX, Univision, Univision Deportes Network).
In a nine-year Major League Soccer career, Pontius has totaled 43 goals and 29 assists over 202 games. He was the seventh overall selection in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and was an MLS All-Star and Best XI selection in 2012. He is coming off arguably his best season, matching a career-high with 12 goals over 33 games in 2016 en route to MLS Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Before going to the pros, he had a standout career at Harder Stadium under head coach Tim Vom Steeg. The forward's 29 career goals still rank sixth all-time in UCSB history, and he turned in two of the best offensive seasons in program history as a junior in 2007 (11 goals, Big West Offensive Player of the Year) and a senior in 2008 (14 goals, Mac Hermann Semifinalist, All-American).
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