U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT Daily Update: Projecting the January camp roster


With just one more game to go in the MLS season, and January fast approaching, it is time for U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to decide what he wants to do with the January national team camp, and whether he wants to hold one. And if he does decide to hold the camp, Klinsmann has to settle on the players he wants to bring in.

If he decides to hold the traditional January camp, and call in a majority of players who are coming off strong MLS seasons, Klinsmann will have several players to choose from at a variety of positions.

Here is a look at our projected squad:


GOALKEEPERS– Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, Dan Kennedy, Tally Hall

DEFENDERS– Steven Beitashour, Chance Myers, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, A.J. Soares, Matt Hedges, Austin Berry, Justin Morrow, Kevin Alston.

MIDFIELDERS– Graham Zusi, Mix Diskerud, Nick DeLeon, Dax McCarty, Perry Kitchen, Ricardo Clark, Josh Gatt, Eddie Gaven.

FORWARDS– Eddie Johnson, Juan Agudelo, Chris Pontius, Will Bruin, C.J. Sapong


Some thoughts:

I didn’t have Eddie Johnson on the original list because of the fact he is coming off his busiest year in a long time, and because of the likelihood he is a part of the national team set-up for the February qualifier against Honduras. But if he doesn’t need the rest, or if Klinsmann wants to take an extended look at him, then Johnson would clearly be a part of a January camp.

Young Philadelphia Union standouts Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney are coming off impressive finishes to their seasons, and were considered, but with other centerbacks and forwards ahead of them they just missed the cut.

You will notice that all the players included are relatively young. Ricardo Clark and Dan Kennedy are the oldest of the bunch, and this camp is a clearly a look toward the future.

Along those lines, veterans like Kyle Beckerman and Chris Wondolowski get a pass. Not because Klinsmann doesn’t rate them, but because of the need to look at young faces. Now Klinsmann could decide he needs a veteran presence in the camp, much like Jermaine Jones offered a year ago.

We all know about the U.S. team’s need for centerbacks, so it’s no surprise there are five on this list. George John is set for a move away from MLS, and should be spending January looking for and joining a new club so it seems unlikely he would be a part of this camp.

Another area of need for the national team is natural wingers. That is why Lee Nguyen ¬†gets the nod here (well, he originally got the nod, but readers helped remind me that he is sidelined after major shoulder surgery so he’s out). The U.S. has been playing mostly a 4-3-3, but the lack of wings in the pool makes it tougher for Klinsmann to consider also having a 4-4-2 or 4-1-3-2 in the arsenal of options. This camp can allow him to look at some potential wing options.

We have mostly MLS players listed, but Klinsmann can certainly look at players from Scandinavian leagues, which are out of season like Sweden and Norway (like Mix Diskerud and Josh Gatt). Alejandro Bedoya might seem like a clear choice in that case, but he is poised for a winter transfer move so that’s why he’s not on this list.

Some players who we could also see getting a nod in a national team camp geared toward young players include: Andy Gruenebaum, Steve Clark, Stephen McCarthy, Amobi Okugo, Jalil Anibaba, Connor Lade, Luis Silva, Sal Zizzo, Jack McInerney.


What do you think of the list? Who is missing that you think should be?

Share your thoughts below.

    • Ives Galarcep

      Brad Davis has never gotten a look from Klinsmann and is 31 years old. The international soccer scene isn’t really one where aging wingers thrive. Davis is a great MLS player, and means more to the Dynamo than Clark, but Clark is someone who Klinsmann has looked at before and could look at again.


      • cairo

        If the question is “who will Klinsmann pick,” then Ives is probably right. But if you asked me which 23 players could best help the US in the HEX, and then told me that Landon and Shea were not available to play on the left, then I’d pick Brad Davis in a second. If we’re forced to grind out results in Central America, then give me the guy who can consistently put a great ball in the box for EJ and Clint to get a head (or foot) on. We are not Barcelona, esp. when playing in Kingston and Honduras. The HEX is too close this year for Klinsmann’s choices to only be about the future. And right now, Davis is a decent defender and plays on a very disciplined team. To me, he’s a no brainer…


  • Dennis

    A purpose of the camp is to integrate players into what is expected of them. For that to be accomplished, a significant fraction of the camp must be players with MNT experience. In IVES list, outside the keepers, Clark, Johnson and Cameron have the most experience (assuming experience under Arena or Bradley counts). Some of the others have a little: Diskerud, Agudelo, Gavin, Zusi. I am not sure that is enough to “set a tone”. For that reason, Wondo, Beckerman, Pearce, Goodson, DeMerrit would be good additions.


  • PD

    “George John is set for a move away from MLS, and should be spending January looking for and joining a new club so it seems unlikely he would be a part of this camp.”

    Please remember this, all you cogs in the JG Hype-machine…


  • Matt

    I think I read every post ANd your article —maybe I missed his name along the way, but why would Eric Lichaj be missing ?? Too busy to miss possible –and valuable to a young player–Premier League or Cup games? Same Q and same thoughts for TIm Ream?
    If we are still in search of young left-side wingers, why no Robbie Rogers?? Or has his window closed now that Klinsman is the coach?
    Thanks Ives!


    • Karl Schneider

      Lichaj has been in awful form with AV, and not starting.
      Tim Ream- same deal, bad form.
      Robbie Rodgers is staying on the bench in a third division english side.
      When was the last time you read SBI, 2011?


  • TGP

    For all the people on here clamoring for Adu like they are being paid by his pr team he had 1 assist this year. Like Feilhaber, Adu has been living off past glory not what he actually accomplishes for his teams. The number of people who managed to just luck into more assists is legion. If Freddy Adu is supposed to be the dynamic force driving our national team forward he should look like better than an average mls player.


    • Hogatroge

      While I’m not calling for Freddy, that’s a pretty uninformed comment.

      Most analysts agree that Freddy would have oodles more assists this year if Philly’s forwards knew how to finish.


  • Karl Schneider

    I love having a january camp, a place where we can take another look and a first look at many. Gonzalez- Besler CB partnership must be in place. Both with a ton of USMNT and if one steps up, they exponentially increase their chances for USMNT call-ups during the hex. Zusi needs a big camp to cement his place as a leader, and a started in the midfeild. Mix and Gatt need good camps to show that they have quality even off the bench. The four or five forwards will be competing to see if any can overtake a spot on the 23. It’s good to see young players like Kitchen and DeLeon on USMNT with potential to one day blossom. I want to see guys like Pontius have a chance to prove themselves on a different level than merely with their MLS teams. By the way Ives have they set a time for the camp? When do theyy have them traditionally?


    • Hogatroge

      Bruin and Sapong are younger with time to develop their hold up game.

      Plus, Bruin’s nearly as prolific a scorer with inferior support up top. Sapong’s sample size this year is smaller, but you could probably argue the same.


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