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US minor leaguer on New Zealand World Cup roster

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Jeremy Christie, a midfielder on the minor league Tampa Bay team in the U.S. Soccer Federation division two league, was among 23 players picked for New Zealand's World Cup roster.

Christie joined FC Tampa Bay this season from Waitakere United in New Zealand. FC Tampa Bay plays at Steinbrenner Field, the New York Yankees' spring training facility, and is coached by Paul Dalglish, son of former Liverpool star and manager Kenny Dalglish.

"Jeremy has always been on the radar and I have kept in close contact with his coach at Tampa Bay," New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert said Monday. "He has gone offshore to challenge himself and that has been good for him. ... We believe he will offer a great deal to the squad."

Andrew Boyens, a defender on Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls, also was selected along with Simon Elliott, a midfielder who was with San Jose last season. Boyens has appeared in just one Red Bulls match this season, in the U.S. Open Cup against Philadelphia on April 27.

New Zealand's roster includes 12 overseas-based players, including Blackburn defender Ryan Nelsen. Two of the players have never appeared for the national team: Denmark-based defender Winston Reid and New Zealand-based midfielder Aaron Clapham.

Preliminary 30-man rosters are due Tuesday, and the 23-man rosters must be submitted to FIFA by June 1.

The 32-year-old Nelsen is among five England-based players, joined by Ipswich defender Tommy Smith and forwards Chris Killen of Middlesbrough, and Chris Wood and Rory Fallon of West Bromwich Albion.

Clapham has won his first international callup after being selected New Zealand's domestic player of the year.

"Aaron has come into this group and looked very comfortable," Herbert said. "He is the type of player that should be around the international scene for many years, and he has a big future in the professional game."

The 22-year-old Reid plays for Denmark's Midtjylland but has switched allegiance to New Zealand after representing Denmark at under-19, under-20 and under-21 level.

Only one player was omitted from the 18-man group that clinched a World Cup berth by beating Bahrain in a playoff last November: New Zealand-based Aaron Scott.

David Mulligan was picked despite not playing for a club this season after his released by the Wellington Phoenix.

"David has been a victim of circumstances at the Phoenix where other players have come in and played well, keeping him out of the team," Herbert said. "He has never stopped working hard, however, and his attitude has been first-class."

New Zealand's players will assemble in Auckland on May 19 and play an exhibition against Australia at Melbourne five days later. The team travels to Austria for training and matches against Serbia and Slovenia, before arriving in South Africa on June 6.

At its first World Cup appearance since 1982, New Zealand will play defending champion Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia in Group F.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: James Bannatyne (Team Wellington), Glen Moss (Melbourne Victory), Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix)

Defenders: Andy Boyens (New York Red Bulls, United States), Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix), Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn Rovers, England), Winston Reid (Midtjylland, Denmark), Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix), Tommy Smith (Ipswich, England), Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City)

Midfielders: Andy Barron (Team Wellington), Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix), Jeremy Brockie (Newcastle Jets), Tim Brown (Wellington Phoenix), Jeremy Christie (Tampa Bay, United States), Aaron Clapham (Canterbury United), Simon Elliott (no club), Michael McGlinchey (Motherwell, Scotland), David Mulligan (no club),

Forwards: Rory Fallon (Plymouth, England). Chris Killen (Middlesbrough, England), Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United), Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion, England)