Sporting Kansas City midfielder James Musa will join the New Zealand Men’s National Team next week for an international friendly against Japan on Friday, Oct. 6, at Toyota Stadium in Toyota, Japan.
Musa, 25, appeared twice for New Zealand earlier this month as the All Whites defeated Solomon Islands 8-3 on aggregate to win the OFC Playoff Final. The result propelled Musa’s country into a two-legged World Cup playoff — to be played Nov. 6 and 10 — against the fifth-place finisher from the South American qualifying region. That opponent will be determined next week when CONMEBOL qualifying concludes.
New Zealand will use the upcoming friendly against Japan as a valuable tune-up ahead of their World Cup qualifying playoff. Japan is currently No. 40 in the FIFA rankings, second-highest among Asian countries, and has already qualified for what will be their sixth consecutive World Cup appearance.
Musa made his senior debut for New Zealand in May 2014, then earned a long-awaited return with a pair of substitute appearances on Sept. 1 and 5 as the All Whites topped Solomon Islands.
Musa’s return to the national team setup came shortly after he signed for Sporting KC from USL affiliate Swope Park Rangers on Aug. 11. The holding midfielder made his MLS debut the following day, leading all players in passes completed over the course of a stout performance at Seattle Sounders FC.
In addition to landing a first-team contract with Sporting KC, Musa has enjoyed a solid campaign for a Swope Park Rangers side that has clinched a berth in the USL Cup Playoffs and currently occupies third place in the Western Conference. He has started 21 matches for SPR and leads the team in passes per game (69) and interceptions (57).
New Zealand Roster
(Club, Country – caps, goals)
Stefan MARINOVIC (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada, 21, 0 )
Michael WOUD (Sunderland FC, England, 0, 0)
Michael BOXALL (Minnesota United FC, USA, 28, 0)
Sam BROTHERTON (Sunderland FC, England, 9, 0)
Kip COLVEY (San Jose Earthquakes FC, USA, 12, 0)
Tom DOYLE (Wellington Phoenix FC, 7, 0)
Andrew DURANTE (Wellington Phoenix FC, 21, 0)
Dane INGHAM (Brisbane Roar FC, Australia, 4, 0)
Winston REID (West Ham United FC, England, 21, 1)
Themi TZIMOPOULOS (PAS Giannina FC, Greece, 13, 1)
Deklan WYNNE (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada, 13, 0)
Michael McGLINCHEY (Wellington Phoenix FC, 49, 5)
James MUSA (Sporting Kansas City FC, USA 3, 0)
Moses DYER (Eastern Suburbs AFC, 10, 0)
Marco ROJAS (SC Heerenveen FC, Netherlands, 37, 5)
Bill TUILOMA (Portland Timbers FC, USA, 21, 0)
Ryan THOMAS (PEC Zwolle FC, Netherlands, 15, 3)
Monty PATTERSON (Ipswich Town FC, England, 15, 1)
Kosta BARBAROUSES (Melbourne Victory FC, Australia, 44, 4)
Myer BEVAN (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada, 2, 1)
Shane SMELTZ (Borneo FC, Indonesia, 57, 24)
Chris WOOD (Burnley FC, England, 53, 23)