NEW YORK – Vancouver Whitecaps FC captain Jay DeMerit joins LA Galaxy stars David Beckham and Landon Donovan, as well as New York Red Bulls standout Thierry Henry in the 18 MLS All-Stars confirmed on the match day roster that will compete against UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea FC in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 25, at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania (live on TSN and RDS starting at 5:30 p.m. PT).
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber selected the only active MLS original - defender Ramiro Corrales of San Jose Earthquakes - and Philadelphia Union defender Carlos Valdés as 2012 AT&T MLS All-Stars.
Because of the competitive format - MLS vs. the World - of the AT&T All-Star Game, MLS asked All-Star head coach Ben Olsen to select from among all available players, and he constructed a dynamic, balanced roster loaded with the league’s top talent.
Olsen selected all 11 of the original fan-voted All-Stars.
In addition to 12-time All-Star Donovan, the roster also features prominent All-Star veterans such as David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United) and Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC). Nine roster selections are MLS All-Stars for the first time. They include 'Caps centre back DeMerit.
The roster is below, followed by bios of each player, listed in alphabetical order by last name. Players are listed by the position they are most likely to play in the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, which is not necessarily the position they play for their respective clubs.
2012 MLS ALL-STAR MATCH DAY ROSTER
Goalkeeper: Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City)
Defenders: Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Ramiro Corrales (San Jose Earthquakes), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls), Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia Union)
Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
2012 MLS ALL-STAR PLAYER BIOS
Osvaldo Alonso - Midfielder - Seattle Sounders FC - Nationality: Cuba - Born: November 11, 1985
A hard-working defensive midfielder, Alonso has played every minute of the 15 games he’s appeared in for Sounders FC this season. In 2011, Alonso led all Seattle field players with 33 appearances and 2,891 minutes, while scoring a career-high three goals. He represented Cuba 17 times before defecting to the United States in 2007. This is his second MLS All-Star selection.
David Beckham - Midfielder - LA Galaxy - Nationality: England - Born: May 2, 1975
Beckham joined the LA Galaxy in 2007 after completing a championship season with Real Madrid. As of July 12, 2012, Beckham had three goals and five assists in 15 regular season games this year. Last season, Beckham helped the Galaxy win MLS Cup and claim the Supporters’ Shield for the second consecutive year. For England’s national team, Beckham has appeared in 115 games, scoring 17 times. More than 50 of Beckham’s caps have come as the England captain. This is his third MLS All-Star selection.
Kyle Beckerman - Midfielder - Real Salt Lake - Nationality: USA - Born: April 23, 1982
The heart of Real Salt Lake’s midfield, Beckerman is regarded as the engine behind one of the league’s top teams. In 18 appearances this season, he has scored four goals and four assists, while playing every minute. In 2011, the RSL captain scored three goals and had a career-best nine assists. Beckerman, 30, joined the league in 2000, and has played for three teams during his 12-year MLS career. Beckerman has represented the United States on 21 occasions. This is his sixth consecutive season he has received MLS All-Star recognition.
Steven Beitashour - Defender - San Jose Earthquakes - Nationality: USA - Born: February 1, 1987
A Bay Area product and a third-year pro, Beitashour has emerged as one of the top right backs in MLS. This year, he has helped lead the Earthquakes to the League’s best record (11-4-4) through July 12, contributing six assists in 19 games – tied for fourth-best in MLS. Selected in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft out of San Diego State, Beitashour led the Quakes with seven assists in 2011. This is his first MLS All-Star selection.
Aurélien Collin - Defender - Sporting Kansas City - Nationality: France - Born: March 8, 1986
A tenacious central defender, Collin has anchored Sporting’s defense this season starting all 18 matches of 2012, while scoring three goals. He joined Sporting Kansas City as a trialist last March, and after signing with the club, he appeared in 23 games, starting 21, and contributed three goals in 2011. The Frenchman has played professionally in the Scottish Premier League (2007-2008), Greek Super League (2008-2009) and the Portuguese top flight (2009-2011). This is his first MLS All-Star selection.
Ramiro Corrales - Defender - San Jose Earthquakes - Nationality: USA - Born: March 12, 1977
Corrales is the only active MLS player who played in the League’s inaugural season in 1996. Beginning his career in San Jose, this is his 12th season with the Earthquakes, having also had stints with the Miami Fusion (1998) and the MetroStars (1998-2000). In 2005, he signed with Norwegian club Hamarkameratene and spent three years in Norway before returning to the Quakes in 2008. This season, Corrales has started all 14 games he’s played contributing five assists. This is his first MLS All-Star selection.
Jay DeMerit - Defender - Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Nationality: USA - Born: December 4, 1979
DeMerit has helped lead Whitecaps FC to a League-leading nine shutouts and an 8-5-6 record this season, playing in 18 games and scoring one goal. DeMerit became Whitecaps FC’s first MLS signing and captain in November 2010, coming to Vancouver after six seasons with England’s Watford FC. The U.S. international appeared in every match of his country’s campaign at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This is his first MLS All-Star team selection.
Dwayne De Rosario - Midfielder - D.C. United - Nationality: Canada - Born: May 15, 1978
De Rosario, the 2011 Volkswagen MLS MVP and winner of the 2011 MLS Budweiser Golden Boot, finished last season with 16 goals and 12 assists. So far this year, he has five goals and League-leading 10 assists while helping D.C. United achieve a 10-5-3 record as of July 12. In 2006, De Rosario scored the lone goal in the MLS All-Star game, a 1-0 win over Chelsea FC. De Rosario has 19 goals in 67 appearances for the Canadian national team. This is his seventh MLS All-Star team selection.
Landon Donovan - Midfielder - LA Galaxy - Nationality: USA - Born: March 4, 1982
Donovan, the 2008 Golden Boot Winner and 2009 Volkswagen MLS MVP, has earned his League-record 12th consecutive All-Star selection dating back to 2001, his first season in the League. In 2011, Donovan captained the Galaxy to its third MLS Cup title – scoring the final’s only goal – and the Supporters’ Shield for the second straight season. This season, Donovan has six goals and five assists in 16 games. Donovan has 143 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team and is the all-time leader in goals (49).
Thierry Henry - Striker - New York Red Bulls - Nationality: France - Born: August 17, 1977
Last year, the French World Cup champion shined in his first full season with the New York Red Bulls, scoring 14 goals and adding four assists in 26 games. This season, Henry has nine goals and five assists in eleven games. Henry’s pro career began in 1990 with AS Monaco (France), and included successful stints at Juventus (Italy), Arsenal (England) and FC Barcelona (Spain) before he joined the Red Bulls midway through 2010. Henry has 123 caps for France, and is the all-time leading scorer with 51 goals. This is his second MLS All-Star Team selection.
Eddie Johnson - Striker - Seattle Sounders FC - Nationality: USA - Born: March 31, 1984
Johnson returned to MLS after four seasons in Europe, signing with Sounders FC prior to the start of this season. As of July 12, he has eight goals and one assist in 16 games played for Seattle. Originally drafted in 2001, Johnson spent five years in Dallas and two years in Kansas City before signing with English Premier League club Fulham in 2008. He subsequently went on loan to Cardiff City, Aris in Greece and Preston North End. Johnson has 42 appearances and 12 goals for the U.S. national team. This is his third MLS All-Star team selection.
Dan Kennedy - Goalkeeper - Chivas USA - Nationality: USA - Born: July 22, 1982
Kennedy’s play this season has solidified him as one of the top goalkeeper’s in the League, with five shutouts in 17 games played.
After missing all of 2009 with a knee injury, Kennedy worked his way back in 2010 and then earned the starting spot full-time, playing every minute of every game during the 2011 season, while recording nine shutouts for Chivas USA. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 Supplemental Draft, Kennedy opted to play professionally in Puerto Rico and Chile before returning to Chivas USA for the 2008 season. This is his first MLS All-Star team selection.
Jimmy Nielsen - Goalkeeper - Sporting Kansas City - Nationality: Denmark - Born: August 6, 1977
Nielsen has led his team to a 10-5-3 record through Sporting Kansas City’s first 18 matches of 2012, and is ranked first in the League for goalkeeper wins (10) and goals against average (min. of 10 games) with a 0.94. Since joining the league in 2010, Nielsen has recorded 23 shutouts and a 32-26-19 record. Sporting Kansas City’s captain began his professional career with his hometown club AaB Aalborg, helping the team to the 1999 Danish Superliga championship. Named Danish Goalkeeper of the Year in 1998 and 2004. This is his second MLS All-Star team selection.
Heath Pearce - Defender - New York Red Bulls - Nationality: USA - Born: August 13, 1984
Pearce, one of the elite defenders in MLS, is having a strong debut season with New York. Pearce first came to MLS in late 2009, signing with FC Dallas, where heplayed the bulk of the 2010 season at right back, and finished second on the team in assists (6). He then spent the 2011 and the first part of 2012 with Chivas USA before being sent to New York May 17 in exchange for Juan Agudelo. His pro career began after three seasons at the University of Portland when he joined FC Nordsjælland of Denmark, then moved to German side Hansa Rostock. Pearce has represented the United States on 35 occasions. This is his third MLS All-Star team selection.
Chris Pontius - Striker - D.C. United - Nationality: USA - Born: May 12, 1987
The seventh overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, Pontius scored his first MLS goal just 62 minutes into the season opener against the Galaxy. After a knee injury cut his 2010 season short, he bounced bank in 2011, starting 25 games and tallying seven goals and five assists for D.C. United. This season, Pontius has team-leading nine goals in just 15 games played. This is his first MLS All-Star team selection.
Carlos Valdés - Defender - Philadelphia Union - Nationality: Colombia - Born: May 22, 1985
Valdés joined the Union in 2011 from Independiente Santa Fe and help anchor a defense that finished the regular season tied for second in goals against average (1.06) with 10 shutouts. Having started all 34 games for the Union last year, including two games in the Playoffs, the Colombian has continued his iron-man efforts starting every game for the Union this season. Valdés has made four appearances for the Colombian national team, scoring one goal. This is his first MLS All-Star team selection.
Chris Wondolowski - Striker - San Jose Earthquakes - Nationality: USA - Born: January 28, 1983
The eight-year MLS veteran has established himself as one of the league’s top goal-scorers with 48 regular-season tallies since the start of 2010, more than any other player. The American striker led the Earthquakes in scoring in 2011 with 16 goals (tied for most in MLS) and had three assists. He won the MLS Golden Boot in 2010 with 18 goals, and has started 2012 strong, leading the League in goals with 14 in 17 games, as of July 12, putting him on pace to tie or break the all-time single-season goals record of 27 set by Roy Lassiter in 1996. In 2012, Wondolowski earned his first call-up to the U.S. National Team, and has since appeared in eight games. This is his second MLS All-Star team selection.
Graham Zusi - Midfielder - Sporting Kansas City - Nationality: USA - Born: August 18, 1986
The 23rd overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, Zusi secured his starting spot with Sporting Kansas City last season, notching five goals and a team-high seven assists. This season, Zusi has two goals for Sporting and is third in the League with assists (8) as of July 12. In his four seasons at the University of Maryland, Zusi helped the Terrapins win the National Championship in 2005 and 2008. Earlier this year, Zusi earned his first two caps with the U.S. men’s national team, scoring the game winner against Panama on Jan. 25. This is his first MLS All-Star team selection.