Former D.C. United midfielder John Harkes, the former U.S. national soccer team captain who was suddenly dismissed from the squad prior to last year's World Cup, has been recalled to the national team for next week's Confederations Cup in Mexico. Harkes replaces defender David Regis, who is recovering from knee surgery.
"I'm very happy, obviously, to get back on the team," Harkes said from San Diego, where he is representing the New England Revolution in today's MLS All-Star Game. "After the situation last year, I guess this shows that it is well over. I'll do my best with the opportunity."
Harkes, 32, hasn't played for the national team since Feb. 25, 1998, against Belgium. Shortly after, he was cut by then-coach Steve Sampson for his off-field behavior -- a decision that shook the team as it prepared for the World Cup in France.
But Harkes, who has six goals in 86 U.S. appearances dating from 1987, has a good relationship with new U.S. coach Bruce Arena, who had Harkes at the University of Virginia and with D.C. United from 1996 until last fall.
"At this point in time, he can fill a void," Arena said. "He offers us something different -- experience, and someone who can pass the ball over distance. He's earned this chance."
Arena said Harkes would be used in midfield rather than defense, a position Arena and Sampson tried to get him to play in the past.
The U.S. team will play New Zealand, Brazil and Germany in the first round of the Confederations Cup.