Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
U.S. men's national head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has released the first part of the roster that will take part in a training camp in Orlando later this month, and there are several veterans included and one big omission.
Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley are among the group of 16 players announced by Klinsmann on Tuesday, while fullback Timmy Chandler is not on the team. Klinsmann said Chandler's absence is a result of the player needing a break.
Klinsmann will announce added selections on May 20.
Here are the first players called up the USMNT training camp roster:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
While Alfredo Morales' inclusion is a surprise, the absence of Chandler is the most notable aspect of this roster. Klinsmann touched on that very topic, explaining that Chandler's omission is due to the player wanting a break.
"I have had long conversations with Timmy about where he is in his professional career and his commitment to playing international football," Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. "He has expressed his appreciation for all the opportunities we have given him, but he also feels at this point he needs to take a break.
"It’s disappointing not having him as a part of the team at this important juncture of building our team, but ultimately a player must decide what is best for him. The door is certainly not closed on Timmy, but in the moment we move on without him.”
Klinsmann also touched on the next part of his roster selections, which will come on May 20 and could include up to 13 more players. Klinsmann said a mix of MLS-based and foreign-based players will be added to the group.
“It will be exciting on May 20 to have all our MLS players join camp, as well of some of the foreign-based guys who are finishing their commitments, because they are in a full run right now and they should all be really fit and they should be excited," said Klinsmann. "Because of the different schedules for the season, it’s always a challenge for us because you want them all to be in top shape and be confident and feel like they’re ready for the competition.
"It’s going to be really exciting for us, for me personally and our coaching staff. It’s the first time we have our best players together for a longer stretch of time, which is why we put so much planning into this camp. A lot of work was being done before the players actually arrived that we hope the players will appreciate, but on the other hand we also expect them to work very, very hard now in the next four weeks."
One of the confirmed players who will get called in during the second part of this roster selection is Borussia Dortmund forward Terrence Boyd, who revealed via Twitter on Tuesday that he was called in.
The inclusion of players like Boyd and Morales might be a surprise given their lack of playing time with their respective clubs in recent months, but they are part of the group Klinsmann says is his top team.
"All the players coming now for this very special four-week period represent our core," said Klinsmann. "If tomorrow was the World Cup, this is the group that comes in for our World Cup roster. It’s a clear signal to other players that right now it’s down to business. We’re playing World Cup qualifiers. It’s not about experimenting or seeing different players, it’s about who we think are the best.”
The United States begins its summer matches by taking on Scotland in Jacksonville, Fla. on May 26, Brazil four days later in Landover, Md., and Canada in Toronto on June 3. The Americans begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in Tampa, Fla. on June 8 versus Antigua and Barbuda before paying a visit to Guatemala on June 11.
What do you think of the roster? Surprised by anyone's inclusion/omission? Who do you see making the final 23-man roster from this group? What do you make of Chandler denying a call-up?
Share your thoughts below.