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The tradition of holding a January camp for mostly MLS players looking to break through into the U.S. naitonal team is going to be maintained during the Jurgen Klinsmann era and the German manager will be putting together his first January camp very shortly.
A 2011 MLS season that saw several new faces emerge as strong national team candidates should give Klinsmann plenty of fresh faces to look at as he tries to find reinforcements for his European-based contingent.
Just what sort of veteran presence we will see at the camp remains to be seen, though Klinsmann's mandate that national team players be training as often as possible would suggest he plans on having a player like Landon Donovan in January's camp, assuming Donovan isn't heading somewhere in loan this winter.
What we are likely to see in January is something similar to last January's camp, which was an extremely young group, though this year's projected squad could be considered much stronger than the 2011 camp squad.
So who will Klinsmann call up in January? Here is one projected roster:
PROJECTED USMNT ROSTER FOR JANUARY CAMP
GK– Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, Zac MacMath
D– Sheanon Williams, Zach Loyd, Michael Parkhurst, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, George John, Geoff Cameron, Heath Pearce, Todd Dunivant
M– Landon Donovan, Brek Shea, Freddy Adu, Graham Zusi, Robbie Rogers, Kyle Beckerman, Benny Feilhaber, Mikkel Diskerud, Jeff Larentowicz, Michael Farfan
F– Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo, C.J. Sapong, Chris Rolfe
There are plenty of names missing from this list that could have been included, such as Sporting KC defenders Matt Besler and Chance Myers, Real Salt Lake's Nat Borchers and San Jose's Chris Wondolowski just to name a few. This list is the group I can see Klinsmann calling in.
Not all the players are young obviously. Chris Rolfe turns 29 next month, but he's been enjoying a standout season with Aalborg, while Michael Parkhurst, who turns 28 next month, has done very well for Nordsjaelland this past season.
Also consider injuries. Chris Pontius and Brad Davis are not, as far as I know, far enough along in their recovery from injuries to be included in this group. If either or both are healthy, I'd have to think they'd merit strong consideration.
My wild card in this group is clearly Michael Farfan. He wasn't a regular starter for Philadelphia, but he showed some really good form late in the year, and with there being relatively few good wing options, I could certainly see him being a surprising inclusion much the way Eric Alexander was a surprising inclusion in the 2011 January camp.
Keep in mind that European-based and Mexican-based players won't be available since European clubs outside of Scandinavian leagues such as Denmark and Sweden are back in season, while Mexican clubs are already preparing for pre-season by the time January's camp gets underway in Arizona.
What do you think of this group? What names are you glad to see on this list? Who is missing that you would like to see get a look from Klinsmann in January?
Share your thoughts below.