While his University of Wisconsin men's soccer team is in its offseason, John Trask will be working with some of U.S. Soccer's top young players.
The Milwaukee native was named an assistant for the U.S. Under-23 national team under coach Caleb Porter, the coach at NCAA powerhouse. The two have a long history, as Trask was an assistant at Indiana when Porter played for the Hoosiers from 1994 to '97.
The U.S. Under-23 team, which is preparing for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in March, starts a nine-day training camp Thursday in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Of the 28 players called into the camp, only two are college players; of the 26 professional players, 17 play in Major League Soccer – Trask spent five seasons as an assistant in the league – while the others play in Germany, Mexico, England and Norway.
"To work alongside Caleb Porter is not only exciting, but I believe he is the best young coach in the U.S.," Trask said in a UW news release. "I've known him since his playing days at Indiana and feel that the qualities I bring to the table as a former professional coach will help in the preparation of the team.
"Caleb has proved with his success at Akron that he has the ability to teach the style of soccer that all these young Olympic hopefuls will enjoy and embrace."
The U.S. is in Group A of the Olympic qualifying tournament and will play Cuba on March 22, Canada on March 24 and El Salvador on March 26, with all three matches in Nashville, Tenn. The top two finishers in the group advance to the semifinals March 31 in Kansas City, Kan., with the two finalists earning spots in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The final is April 2.
"Qualifying will be difficult," said Trask, who previously has been an assistant with the Under-18 national team. "But working with a staff that includes former national team star Claudio Reyna and Eric Yamamoto, along with the best and brightest soccer players, we will be prepared for the upcoming matches."
In his second season at UW, Trask led the Badgers to a 10-8-2 overall record and a tie for second place in the Big Ten Conference with a 4-2-0 mark this fall. It was the program's first 10-win season since 2003.
Tag(s): U.S. National Team