121815_isi_klinsmannjurgen_morrisjordan_usmntjd111315197 John Dorton/isiphotos.com
January Camp

Klinsmann Outlines Plans for January Training Camp

The U.S. men's national team head coach and technical director will assemble an expanded squad of players in January with an eye toward both Olympic and World Cup qualification.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
December 18, 2015
5:20 PM

JURGEN KLINSMANN gave a brief outline on Friday as to what the 2016 January camp will look like when it assembles in Carson, Calif., on January 4. 

Via a U.S. Soccer Federation "interview," Klinsmann said that the camp will focus on U-23 Olympic qualifying against Colombia and, for the full national team, March World Cup qualifying. As a result, top players from both squads will be called up.

“We basically have two groups coming in, one under the focus of our World Cup qualifiers and the other group under the focus of qualifying for the Olympics,” Klinsmann said. “So it’s going to be two groups, mixed together and working together side by side, and hopefully we see a lot of good stuff there with two exciting games at the end of the camp.”

On Thursday the federation announced that the men's national team would face Iceland and Canada in a pair of friendlies at the end of camp. Because this camp and these games do not fall inside of a FIFA international window, the likelihood is that nearly every player will come from MLS and the Scandinavian leagues, which are likewise inactive in January and early February.

The Yanks will look to put a disappointing 2015 in the rearview mirror after a fourth-place finish at the Gold Cup and a loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup.

“When you do a January camp, obviously the goal is always to give them a head start into their season because they have a long break coming out of their MLS season, so we try to get them back on track and try to get them going and step-by-step give them a head start to 2016,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously we are also a little bit selfish because we scheduled in two games with Iceland on January 31st and against Canada on February 5th.

"We want to do well. Those are international games where we want to see the players step it up and to make their case, because we are going to go into a very, very busy year in 2016 with World Cup qualifying and the huge highlight of Copa America in June.”

The U-23 team is in a desperate spot as a result of its third-place finish in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying. Last month, the group traveled to Brazil for a pair of friendlies against the hosts and was thoroughly outplayed. The team will need to step it up if it hopes to defeat Colombia in a two-game playoff that will determine which country qualifies for Rio.

Potential names from the U-23s that could well be on the January roster include Jordan Morris, Matt Miazga, Wil Trapp, and Ethan Horvath. Otherwise, there is no set U-23 team camp this month and the team might not assemble before the Colombia games—a four-and-a-half month gap since its last gathering.

Nonetheless, Klinsmann sounded confident that having the younger squad’s best players with the full team would prove a big benefit.

“Having a part of this group being part of the Olympic team, I think it’s a big advantage because we’re going to give them a chance to get already prepared toward those playoff games with Colombia at the end of March, which is hugely important,” Klinsmann said. “We want our Olympic team to qualify for the Olympics, to go to Rio de Janeiro, and to have this outstanding experience down there. So having them in camp as well with us is huge, and hopefully it will pay off.”

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