Sporting KC midfielder Oriol Rosell selected to play for Catalonia squad
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Oriol Rosell has been selected to represent Catalonia in an upcoming friendly vs. Cape Verde Islands on Dec. 30. The match will be played at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona.
Rosell's teammates for the match include some of the top players in the world including FC Barcelona's Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fàbregas and Gerard Piqué. The 21-year-old midfielder played alongside Fàbregas and Piqué as a member of La Masia, the famed Barcelona youth academy.
"It will be an amazing experience to play with these players," Rosell said. "They have a lot of quality and are some of the best in the world. It's going to be a big party and a big game and I could not be more excited. I always say I'm from Catalonia and now to be with the first team with those great players will be a very emotional experience for me."
The Catalonia national football team is the official football team of the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia. It is organized by the Catalonia Football Federation, but is not affiliated with FIFA or UEFA. Former Barcelona midfielder Gerard López recently replaced Dutch legend Johan Cruyff as manager of the squad.
"I am happy that Uri will have the opportunity to play alongside some of the world's best players," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. "This is a tremendous honor for both Sporting Kansas City and for Major League Soccer and this is a great way for Uri to cap off what's been an excellent year for him."
Rosell is one of two players on the roster that currently do not play in the Spanish first division. He joins Bojan Krkic who is currently on loan from Barcelona to Dutch first division club AFC Ajax.
Sporting KC acquired Rosell in August 2012. Since then, Rosell has appeared in 47 matches in all competitions including starts in all five 2013 MLS Cup Playoff matches as Sporting KC won their first MLS Cup since 2000.
Rosell was voted No. 14 on MLSsoccer.com's top 24 players under the age of 24 and led all MLS players in 2013 with 130 interceptions.