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Six players added to Project-40, including Garcia, Bocanegra and Convey; Crew loses Maisonneuve, Yeagley, for months.

NEW YORK (Thursday, January 20, 2000) - Collegiate star defenders Nick Garcia and Carlos Bocanegra and midfielder Bobby Convey, a standout with the United States under-17 men, were among six young players signed today by Major League Soccer for its Project-40 developmental program.

Convey, at 16 year, eight months of age, became the youngest player to ever sign a MLS contract.

Indiana University's Garcia, fresh off two consecutive NCAA championships, bequeathed his final of year of eligibility, as did Bocanegra, who was a key element of UCLA's 1997 national champion.

Garcia was caption of the U.S. under-18s and a major contributor to the under-20 national team. Bocanegra was a member of the U-23s who took home the bronze medal at the 1999 Pan American Games.

MLS also signed North Carolina State midfielder Shaker Asad, North Carolina-Greensboro midfielder Rusty Pierce (a member of the U.S. under-20s) and 19-year-old attacker Sergio Salas from Northern Virginia, a player who was identified by U.S national team coach Bruce Arena. Both Asad and Pierce had one year of college eligibility left.

Unlike in the past when Project-40 players were assigned to MLS teams, the new crop of P-40 players, which includes recently signed midfielder Micah Cooks and defender Danny Califf, will receive their team assignments via the February 6 draft.


Maisonneuve, Yeagley out for months

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Columbus Crew midfielders Brian Maisonneuve and Todd Yeagley both underwent successful surgeries within the past week.

Maisonneuve had reconstruction surgery on his right ankle Tuesday and is expected to miss three-to-four months.

Yeagley had athletic hernia surgery on his left groin Friday and should miss two-to-three months.


McBride named diabetes spokesperson

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Columbus Crew striker Brian McBride has been named spokesperson for the Central Ohio Diabetes Association. His maternal grandfather died from diabetes-related complications.

Midfielders Todd Yeagley and Brian Maisonneuve both underwent successful surgeries within the past week.

Maisonneuve had reconstruction surgery on his right ankle Tuesday and is expected to miss three-to-four months.

Yeagley had athletic hernia surgery on his left groin Friday and is expected to miss two-to-three months.


Matthaeus meets with MetroStars

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- The Lothar Matthaeus soap opera continued when the German national team star met with MetroStars president and general manager Nick Sakiewicz and coach Octavio Zambrano Tuesday in Alicante, Spain. As has been the case with every development, Sakiewicz released the following statement after returning to the team's headquarters:

"We had a better than expected meeting with Lothar. It was great to meet him face-to-face, and get a real complete understanding of where we are in terms of the MetroStars and what we want to accomplish. I can unequivocally say that Lothar, Octavio, and I are all on the same page. Lothar is coming here first and foremost to play soccer, and not coming here for a vacation as many have reported. He stated to me that he is here to play soccer and to help the MetroStars have a successful 2000 campaign in Major League Soccer."

Matthaeus is scheduled to join the team March 10, just before the season opens.

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