U.S. Men's National Team
Introducing ASN's New Series: 23 for January Camp
The U.S. national team ended its 2014 with a thud, but that doesn't mean 2015 can't get off to a good start. To that end, we're going to guide Jurgen Klinsmann's hand in selecting a roster for January camp.
BY John Godfrey PostedJURGEN KLINSMANN MADE the below statement in July, shortly after the United States lost to Belgium in the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup.
December 10, 2014
December 10, 2014
"Going into the next year... we have the opportunity to see a lot of young players come into our platform, into the senior team, and we can give them time to show where they’re at right now. "So the more experienced players, we can tell them now for the next couple of months, listen, ‘Play in your club environment. We know you inside and out. We know what you bring to the table.’ But maybe right now, for the next couple friendlies that come up and for the next year, we want to see the young players grow and see how far they can make it."Despite this declaration, this overt and unsolicited commitment to youth, Klinsmann called six thirtysomething players into his roster for the recent November friendlies. The United States promptly lost both of those matches, and the 4-1 defeat to Ireland was both an embarrassment to the program and a deflating, demoralizing way to end the calendar year. Fearing more of the same in the coming months, a panel of ASN editors has put together a list of 23 players we think Klinsmann should name to the January U.S. national team training camp. These aren't our predictions for the players who will be called in. These are the players we feel deserve a shot and who represent the thinking Klinsmann has expressed since the the end of the 2014 World Cup cycle. We love 35-year-old goalkeeper Nick Rimando—how could you not?—but we don't think there's any need to call him up in January. We recognize the many talents of Chris Wondolowski, but he turns 32 next month and hey, Klinsmann already "knows him inside and out" so what's the point of bringing him in? The same goes for Brad Davis (33), DaMarcus Beasley (32), and Kyle Beckerman (32)—what's the point? We're not suggesting that these players' national team careers are over. We're simply agreeing with Klinsmann that it's time for some of the established guys to step aside so the coach and technical director can evaluate some new, and different, talent. U.S. captain Clint Dempsey, 31, and ageless wonder/unofficial U.S. captain Jermaine Jones, 33, are the only two players on the far side of 30 we are considering for this list—and that's strictly because of their quasi-management roles on the team. Also, it might be nice for Dempsey to get in a few games on natural grass. While we think Klinsmann should resist the temptation to bring in multitudes who are on the far side of 30, we don't want him to raid the youth pantry and undermine the under-23 team (which is reportedly holding its own training camp in January) or the under-20 squad that will be pushing hard to qualify for the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand next summer. So that was our thinking as we put our heads together and came up with a 23 for January Camp list. Our selections will be doled out one player at a time, starting today. We're hoping to keep you engaged during an otherwise slow month, and we're hoping to shake things up with some provocative selections. Most of all we really want you to tell us what we get right, what we screw up, and which players you'd like to see in January. And hey—if you want to lobby for a particular player, use the Comments section below. John Godfrey is the founder and editor in chief of American Soccer Now.