- Squad No: 2
- Position: Defender
- Age: 39
- Birth Date: Aug 5, 1974
- Birth Place: La Mesa, California, USA
- Height: 5' 9" (1.75m)
- Weight: 74 kg
Meet the Iron Man of U.S. soccer. Hejduk, 35, made his World Cup debut in 1998 and, despite injuries, is still playing passionate ball. Coach Bob Bradley summoned the vet for qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica in October after Clint Dempsey went down with a shoulder injury.
He is the only U.S. player to see action in the '98 and '02 World Cups and '96 and '00 Olympic games. Possibly in the twilight of his career, Hejduk could easily find himself a spot on the U.S. roster, if only on the bench.
Hejduk's MLS debut came way back in 1996 for the Tampa Bay Mutiny, who selected him in the seventh round (67th overall) of that year's MLS draft out of UCLA. Hejduk helped the Columbus Crew to the MLS Cup title in 2008 and picked up his play with the team late in 2009 after becoming healthy.
Entering the 2009 season, Hejduk had appeared in 139 MLS games, including 133 starts. He is a five-time MLS All-Star ('98, 2003-05, '07).
Hejduk's also had a stint overseas. His steady play in the 1998 World Cup got him a three-year contract with Bayer Leverkusen. He signed the deal on July 13, 1998, and played in Germany until 2002.
Hejduk signed with Swiss side St. Gallen in September 2002. He returned to the U.S. before the 2003 MLS season and was allocated to Columbus. Hejduk scored his first goal for Leverkusen in a 2-0 win against Vfl Bochum on May 9, 1999. Hejduk's play helped the team to a strong second-place finish and a berth in the 2000 UEFA Champions League.
In his final season with Leverkusen (2002), he did not make a first-team appearance before his transfer to St. Gallen. /P>
With his experience and passion, if given a shot on the field, he could provide the U.S. with a spark. The only concern would be an injury.
Strengths: You won't find a guy with more heart on the field. Just a tenacious defender.
Weaknesses: May be more injury-prone as he ages. A groin injury forced him to miss a qualifier against Costa Rica and some time with the Columbus Crew.
Career high: Led Columbus to a 3-1 win over the Red Bulls in the 2008 MLS Cup. Hejduk scored the Crew's final goal of the game.
Career low: Missed the 2006 World Cup after sustaining an ACL tear.
Style: Gutsy and versatile, never slows down or gives up.
Quote: "I've tried to play the same way for my whole career. I try to fight hard, play hard, tackle hard and leave my heart on the field. That's what I've been doing for years now. I wasn't gifted with all the skill in the world, so I had to figure out a way to do it another way, which is trying to fight and play hard and just try to run my opponents into the ground." -- April 2009
Trivia: Not only a fan of soccer, but football: Hejduk roots for the San Diego Chargers.
Soccernet says: By no means is Hejduk a lock to make the team at right back. However, with his credibility and leadership ability, he will be hard to pass up as a reserve if he can stay in form.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER