LOS ANGELES -- U.S. coach Bruce Arena is inviting Freddy Adu to his first camp with the national team and left open the possibility that the 16-year-old could be on his World Cup roster.
Arena said Tuesday at a soccer symposium that he plans to observe Adu during the team's first training camp of 2006, which starts Jan. 4 in Carson, Calif. Given the depth of the U.S. player pool, Adu would appear to have only a longshot chance of being on the roster for the World Cup, which starts June 9.
Adu recently completed his second season with Major League Soccer's D.C. United, where he has had difficulty gaining a regular place in the starting lineup. Missing several games while he was playing for the U.S. Under-20 team, he appeared in 25 regular-season games for United, making 16 starts.
Adu, who signed with United when he was 14, had four goals and six assists this season. He scored three game-winning goals and had two game-winning assists.
He was suspended for a playoff game against Chicago because he complained publicly about what he considered a lack of playing time.
Arena indicated foreign-based players will make up slightly more than half the U.S. team for next summer's World Cup in Germany.
"We are considering 12 to 14 players based in Europe for our 23-player World Cup squad," he said.
He's looking forward to the return of several veteran players.
"We went through an important year in 2005 where neither Eddie Johnson, John O'Brien, Claudio Reyna nor Cory Gibbs were around much due to injuries, and those are four players that you would think are clearly going to be on our roster for Germany," Arena said.
Talking about seedings, he said, "If a CONCACAF team has the possibility of being a seeded team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup final draw, the United States has done what is necessary in the region to deserve it."
U.S. Soccer Federation president Robert Contiguglia said during the symposium that a collective bargaining agreement with the men's national team players is close to being completed.
"We have an agreement on the economics of the relationship, and we've had that for about six months," Contiguglia said. "We are very close to finalizing the entire deal on the non-economic issues and I would predict in a pretty short period of time we would have an announcement to make on that matter.
"It will carry through 2010 and the payment structure for 2010 will be based on the performance in the 2006 World Cup," he said.
He said negotiations are continuing with the U.S. women's team and that he hoped an agreement with them would be reached in the near future.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press