Palmetto soccer on display

Clint Dempsey (right), who played collegiately at Furman, was named to the United States' World Cup team.

The U.S. World Cup team features a distinctive South Carolina flavor.

No fewer than five of the 23 players named to the elite team Wednesday played collegiately in South Carolina.

Midfielders Stuart Holden (Clemson), Clint Dempsey (Furman) and Ricardo Clark (Furman) and defender Oguchi Onyewu (Clemson) along with keeper Brad Guzan (USC) all played in the Palmetto State.

"To have five guys who played in South Carolina on the World Cup team is an incredible feat for such a small state," said Charleston Battery assistant coach Ian Fuller, a former Clemson star. "Maybe a state as big as California or New York or New Jersey has as many guys on the team, but I doubt there are too many other states as well-represented on the team as South Carolina. I think it shows you that South Carolina college soccer is played at a very high level."

Fuller played for two seasons alongside Onyewu with the Tigers. He also played against Clark, Dempsey and Guzan during his career.

"I had some great battles with those guys," Fuller said. "Ricardo and Clint are great players and very deserving to be on the team. I played two seasons with (Onyewu) during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Clemson. He's come such a long way and I couldn't be more proud of what he's accomplished during his career."

Guzan, who played two seasons at South Carolina in 2003-04, played in five games this past season for Aston Villa in the English Premier League.

Clark played for the Paladins during the 2001 and 2002 seasons before being taken second overall by the MetroStars in the 2003 Major League Soccer draft. He played for three different clubs and in 181 career games scored 14 goals. Clark signed with Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany this past season, but was limited to just three matches because of injuries.

Dempsey, who played for Furman from 2001-03, played three seasons with New England in the MLS. He signed with Fulham, of the EPL, in 2007 and has scored 21 goals in 110 games.

Holden played at Clemson in 2003 and 2004. He was named second team All-ACC in 2004. Holden plays for the Bolton Wanderers, where he was limited to just two appearances after breaking his foot. From 2006-09, Holden played in 88 games with the Houston Dynamo, scoring 15 goals.

Onyewu played for Clemson during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. During his career at Clemson, Onyewu was a two-time All-ACC selection. Onyewu has played most of his international career with Belgian First Division team Standard Liege.

Meanwhile, U.S. coach Bob Bradley cut seven players from his preliminary roster Wednesday to reach the 23-man FIFA limit. The Americans will play England on June 12 in their World Cup opener.

Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez went from long shots to the U.S. World Cup roster, joining veterans Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Tim Howard on the American team headed to South Africa.

Let go were defenders Chad Marshall and Heath Pearce; midfielders Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan and Robbie Rogers; and forwards Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson.

Midfielders Donovan and Beasley, and defender Steve Cherundolo earned their third World Cup trips. Beasley's selection capped a comeback from nine months of national team exile that ended in March.

Seventeen of the 23 players are based in Europe, with just four from Major League Soccer and two from Mexican clubs. Of the European group, eight play in England, three in Germany, two in Scotland, and one each in Denmark, France, Italy and Norway.

A total of 92 players made at least one appearance under Bradley during the four-year World Cup cycle as the team went 35-19-6. He used 43 players during qualifying; 19 of them made the final roster. Those players accounted for 29 of 42 goals scored in qualifying, including Altidore's team-leading six goals.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Clarence Goodson (IK Start, Norway), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan, Italy), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England)

Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Stuart Holden (Bolton, England), Jose Torres (Pachuca, Mexico)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Hull, England), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles), Robbie Findley (Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Pachuca, Mexico).

(The Associated Press contributed to this story).