Spector heading home

Jonathan Spector will head for home after being named in the United States' 24-man squad for next month's FIFA 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras.

The West Ham United defender will be keen to add to his haul of 12 caps when the United States arrive in Spector's home city of Chicago to take on the Hondurans at Soldier Field on 6 June. Before that fixture, however, Bob Bradley's side will be seeking their first away victory in Costa Rica when they meet at Estadio Saprissa in San Jose on 3 June.

Bradley's squad go into next month's fixtures top of the North, Central America and Caribbean qualifying group, having won two and drawn one of their opening three matches.

Spector is looking forward to both matches, but admitted the prospect of lining up in the first World Cup qualifier ever to be played in his home city is extra special. "We're meeting up in Miami and we have a qualifier in Costa Rica, then a qualifier in Chicago and then we have the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.

"If we win the next three games we'll be pretty secure when it comes to qualifying for the World Cup, so we'll be looking to do that.

"I played against Mexico in Chicago in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final in 2007 and that was very special. Chicago is where I'm from and I hope to again play in front of my family and friends. It's a good opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to it. I've certainly had more than my fair share of ticket requests!"

More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the match at the home of the Chicago Bears NFL franchise, showing soccer is popular in a city famed for its American Football heritage. "Soccer is pretty well-supported in Chicago and the city is also the home of the US Soccer Federation," Spector added.

Following his trip home, the versatile 23-year-old will be eager to make up for lost time by being named in the US's 23-man squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa. Spector missed both the 2006 FIFA World Cup and last year's Beijing Olympic Games through injury and is desperate to be involved this time around.

The US face world champions Italy, five-time World Cup winners and Copa America holders Brazil and African Cup of Nations winners Egypt at the group stage, kicking off with a mouth-watering clash with the Italians in Pretoria on 15 June. Bradley's team will take on Brazil at the same venue three days later before facing Egypt in Rustenburg on 21 June.

"I'm certainly looking forward to that," said Spector. "We have three tough games in Brazil, Italy and Egypt so it's a very difficult group, but it's a good way for us to test ourselves going into, hopefully, next year's World Cup. We've no idea who Italy or Brazil will bring in their squads but, whoever they bring, I'm sure they'll be pretty good players."