Spector makes US squad

Jonathan Spector will become West Ham United's 16th FIFA World Cup player after being named in the United States' final 23-man squad for South Africa 2010.

The defender will be the first Hammer to represent the US at the World Cup, following ten Englishmen, one Belgian, one Frenchman, one Scot, one Czechoslovakian and one Trinidad and Tobagonian.

The Arlington Heights, Illinois-born player has earned 24 senior caps since making his debut against Jamaica in Colombus, Ohio, on 17 November 2004.

Since then, former Under-16, U17, U20 and U23 international Spector has endured an injury-blighted senior career, missing the 2006 World Cup and 2008 Olympic Games due to shoulder and hip problems.

The versatile defender was, however, part of the US team that upset European champions Spain en route to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup final in South Africa, where they were edged out 3-2 by Brazil.

The 24-year-old also featured in five qualifiers as Bob Bradley's squad reached their sixth consecutive World Cup finals and ninth in total.

England will, of course, form the Americans' first opponents in South Africa, with the pair meeting in Rustenburg on 12 June. The US will then take on Slovenia and Algeria to complete their Group C campaign.

Spector believes the experience of having played in the country last year will stand him and his team-mates in good stead next month.

Jonathan Spector

"There's a lot of belief, actually. Our main objective is to get out of the group, and we don't want to look too far ahead. After that, it's one game, a single-game elimination, and we know no matter who we come up against, we were able to beat Spain and took the Brazil game down to the wire.

"We've shown we can compete against two of the best teams in the world and probably two of the favorites to win the Cup, according to most. We know when it's a single game we have the ability to beat the top teams.

"I'd certainly say it was an advantage for us. For us, as a team, we know what it's like to be there, the atmosphere, the day-to-day aspect of being out there. We know what to expect going into it. It'll just be on a larger scale this time."

Spector could be joined at the World Cup by England trio Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Scott Parker, Mexico forward Guille Franco, South Africa's Benni McCarthy and Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami. All six will learn their fate before the FIFA deadline for final squads to be named on 1 June.