Wiese Adds Barber and K. Kaeppeler to USMNT Roster

Oct. 11, 2018, 3:33 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – October 11, 2018 – Following the U.S. Men’s National Team Europe Summer Training Tour, Head Coach Rutger Wiese and coaching staff have added two athletes to the roster. Kevin Barber (Camarillo, Calif.) returns to represent Team USA after taking four years off and Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany), brother of Aki, joins the squad after a successful campaign abroad.

“The staff, team and I are very excited to welcome these two men [back] on the team,” commented Wiese.

Both athletes trained and competed with the USMNT during their 22-day overseas trip to France, Spain, Scotland and Ireland. Kaeppeler earned his first official international cap on July 3 against Spain, accumulating seven total while on tour. He was also a threat on offense, scoring one against Scotland in the final meeting and one in each game against Ireland.

Barber grew up in Camarillo, Calif., an area known for producing male field hockey players. At the age of 6, his parents put a stick in his hand just 10 minutes before he was expected to play his first game at Moorpark College and the rest is history. He was instantly attracted to the sport and continued to play alongside some of his friends. What also aided in his development and passion was that he was surrounded by mentors and USMNT legends like Shaun Nakamura, Pat Cota, Ryan Langford, Malachi Mahan, Sergio Centeno and Larry Amara.

After joining the Junior U.S. Men’s National Team circuit in 2006, Barber was named to the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2007. He got his first taste of international competition in 2008 when he competed and helped lead the U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team to a third-place finish at the Junior Pan American Championship in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Just a year leader, he was a key contributor to the USMNT’s silver medal at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. He was also part of the squads that competed at the 2011 Pan American Games (Guadalajara, Mexico), 2012 FIH World League Round 1 (Chula Vista, Calif.) and 2013 FIH World League Round 2 (Rio de Janiero, Brazil). Barber was even part of the U.S. Men’s National Indoor Team and helped lead USA to a silver medal at the 2014 Indoor Pan American Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Even though he took some time off competing on the pitch from 2014-18, Barber still stayed heavily involved through coaching. A Level 2 Certified Coach, he has been coaching within the Futures Program in Region 11 for many years.

“Being selected for the USMNT is a great honor,” commented Barber. “The opportunity to represent our country in international competition, while striving to reach my highest potential as an athlete, is not one that I take for granted. For the last few years, I’ve been focused toward my education and seeking out the experiences that have oriented the path of a career after field hockey. Prior to this past summer, my last game for the USMNT was in 2014. The current team is organized to make real moves this year and reach a new standard of performance. There is some great talent in the group and many of the guys have been pushing their level while competing full-time in leagues throughout Europe. Finding my way back on to the pitch is no walk in the park, but I’m excited for every chance I get be a part of it.”

Kevin and I have met and spoken several times over the past year about a comeback and I am very excited that he’s decided that he wants to be part of the U.S. Men’s National Team program again,” said Wiese.

A native of Stuttgart, Germany, Kaeppeler got his start playing field hockey because it was something his older brother did. Like Barber, he started playing when he was 6-years-old and instantly had a passion for the game. He became heavily involved within the Germany club system, playing with the HTC Stuttgarter Kickers until he was 13, before transferring to TSV Mannheim Hockey.

An experienced defender throughout his youth, Kaeppeler helped his U-16 club team win back-to-back German Championships in 2012 and 2013. Two years later, he was promoted to the Bundesliga first team where he transitioned to midfield. In 2017 he was part of the German U-21 Men’s National Team that won the U-21 European Championship.

Being a very versatile player, Kaeppeler played as a striker for the USMNT while on the Europe Summer Training Tour.

“It is a big chance to play for the USA team,” commented Kaeppeler. “We aim high and try our very best to improve our hockey and inspire young players. It is a mission to make hockey more popular in the States, by having successful national team.”

“We are very excited to have the Kaeppeler brothers reunited on the field, now for Team USA,” said Wiese. “Kei is a very exciting player, with a great drive forward.”

For more updates on the USMNT program, visit usafieldhockey.com.