Kick Started

A sneak peek at six standouts from the U.S. Men's National Team.

On Casey: Long neck (6 for $5.99) by Budweiser     Photo: Photograph by Susanna Howe

CONOR CASEY
Forward, Colorado Rapids
During the off-season, Casey, a 28-year-old Denver resident, hikes fourteeners with his dad and practices yoga to relax. But nothing could have prepared him for what happened last October when the U.S. National Team traveled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in search of a World Cup bid. Though the country was still reeling from June's military coup, the city's 9 p.m. curfew had been relaxed for the night, and the over-capacity crowd was deafening—until Casey nailed two goals to win the game. "It was so loud until we scored," he said. "Then it went eerily silent. The game had an atmosphere I'd never experienced."

HEATH PEARCE
Defender, FC Dallas
You may find other players here with their nose stuck in a book, but this 25-year-old Modesto, California, native is the squad's most voracious reader, gleaning inspiration for the soccer field from books he can apply to his life, like NFL coach Tony Dungy's bestsellers. He's probably also the only player on the squad who knows anything about being a vintner. "My brother owns a wine label in Napa Valley," says Pearce. "When he comes home, I have to try his wine."

ROBBIE FINDLEY
Forward, Real Salt Lake
For 24-year-old Findley, professional sports is a family thing: Two of his cousins play for the NBA—guards Mike Bibby, of the Atlanta Hawks, and Eddie House, of the New York Knicks—while another, Shaun McDonald, is a wide receiver for the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers. In high school in Phoenix, Findley worked out a lot with Bibby. "I got a close-up view of how he took on his job, how to be professional," he says. But he learned his foot-eye coordination from his dad, a skilled amateur player who grew up on the island of Trinidad.

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