By Malcolm Johnson, Special to dc.highschoolsports.net
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- What most fans will take away from the United States loss against Brazil on Wednesday night is, well, that we lost to Brazil. 4-1 to be clear. Although this was a home game for the Americans, it was a coming home party for two of the team's starters.
Midfielder Maurice Edu and defender Oguchi Onyewu both played the earlier stages of their careers in Maryland. Edu was a Terp from 2004-2006 and won an NCAA championship in 2005 as a junior. Onyewu grew up in Silver Spring and played for Sherwood High School in Olney, Maryland. Like many professional soccer players, their careers have taken them all over the world. However, both played futbol in the state that's known for crab cakes and football well before becoming two of the most prominent soccer players in the USA.
Edu, now 26, did not finish his college career at Maryland. Instead he chose to forfeit his senior year of eligibility to enter the MLS draft. But his time in College Park is one he fondly remembers.
"The year we won the National championship was one that was special for all of us involved. When [Coach] Sasho recruited myself and the rest of our recruiting class -- combined with the players we already had -- he really expected us to do big things so that memory is one I will always hold dear to my heart and remember," said Edu.
Edu had been waiting to play a game of this magnitude against the world's best in front of fans that are very familiar with him from his time as a Terrapin.
"I love coming back. I don't have as many chances as I would like coming back to the Maryland area. It's always a great time and we always have a great turnout from the fans."
Onyewu better known as "Gooch", made his first start since October 2011. At 6'4 210 pounds, the former Sherwood Warrior (Olney, Md.) recently recovered from a serious knee injury to his patella. A staunch defender who once signed with the Italian club team AC Milan, Onyewu has been a steady presence for the MNT (Men's national Team) for eight seasons.
"A lot of things have helped me prepare. From the WP program as a kid to being all over in college ball it's a long, difficult process of selection and every little aspect of youth soccer has helped form me into the player I am today," said the 30-year-old.
Soccer, the game considered to be the world's most popular sport, will take any professional on a journey through countries most only dream of visiting. These two members from the club that represent America got to play in one of the more memorable friendly's in recent history, in the state that helped build them into the players they are today.