Top Stories

A look back at the 2005 USMNT January Camp

Brian Ching ( 

                                                                                   Photo by

The annual U.S. men's national team January training camp is always filled with young MLS standouts looking to impress the U.S. head coach, but when the camp takes place the year before the World Cup, there is usually some added intrigue as players look to take steps toward playing in Hexagonal Round qualifiers, and eventually the World Cup.

With this year's camp set to kick off this weekend, we should take a peak back at the last camp in these type of conditions to give us a sense of what we might expect. The 2005 January camp was an interesting mix of veterans, rookies and journeymen then-U.S. coach Bruce Arena took a look at with hopes of finding some players who could make an impact in a crucial 2005 that saw the U.S. team win the CONCACAF Gold Cup as well as the region's World Cup qualifying group.

The group included a young national team novice named Clint Dempsey, an established star in Eddie Pope, a player trying to re-establish himself in Clint Mathis, a young striker who had U.S. fans buzzing in Eddie Johnson, and a veteran defender trying to make a late entry into the national team mix in Jimmy Conrad.

Here is a look at the 28-man U.S. national team camp from 2005:

Goalkeepers (4) – Jon Busch (Columbus Crew), Joe Cannon (Colorado Rapids), Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nick Rimando (D.C. United)

Defenders (8) –

Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Nick Garcia (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Ritchie Kotschau (Colorado Rapids), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Eddie Pope (MetroStars), Tony Sanneh (Columbus Crew)

Midfielders (9) –

Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Diego Gutierrez (Kansas City Wizards), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Clint Mathis (Real Salt Lake), Brian Mullan (San Jose Earthquakes), Ben Olsen (D.C. United), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Clyde Simms (Richmond Kickers)

Forwards (7) – Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes), Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United), Ed Johnson (FC Dallas), Mike Magee (MetroStars), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)

So how many players from this camp will be in the current camp? Try three in Brian Ching, Jon Busch and Chad Marshall.

And for those of you wondering about Clyde Simms' inclusion, you may have either forgotten or not been tuned in four years when the U.S. men's national team players came close to a strike before reaching a new labor agreement with U.S. soccer. Before the agreement was reached, Bruce Arena pulled together a national team camp consisting mainly of A-League players. Clyde Simms impressed Arena in that camp enough to be included once the labor issues were resolved and the regular camp was held.

Looking at this group you can't help but wonder which player in the 2009 camp will emerge as the next Clint Dempsey, or which will fall short and fade from the national team picture like Mike Magee.

What do you think of when you see the 2005 camp roster? Any names surprise you? Any memories come to mind regarding that group?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The 2005 camp roster is a blast from the past & I’m really not sure if we’re better off years later. But here’s a thing:

    Our best players should not be available for this camp. Why? They should be playing for the top teams in the top leagues in the world, outside the US, and those leagues are still playing.

    Quality soccer has its own gravity and will always pull great players and great performances to it. Building a national team camp based on the best players available from the local league… ah, does Brazil do it that way, leaving Ronaldinho, Robinho and all the rest in Europe out of the camp?

    We won’t win the World Cup by pretending we can. We need to find our best possible soccer and build around that quality.

    Meanwhile, Clint Dempsey seems to be the one plying his trade to good effect in top level play, though hopefully the rest in Europe will come shining through soon. Maybe if Landon can make an impact playing at Bayern the our overseas players’ psychological floodgates will open, and we”ll start seeing the greatness so many of us believe can be.

    I’m just stuck on this idea that a coach has a camp, but all the players in camp know the top players aren’t there, they are playing “higher level” soccer overseas; not only do you have to impress against the players in camp, you are competing with phantom players. Doesn’t seem like a recipe for success to me.

  2. very cool idea for a write-up. keeping in mind the absences in both camps, it’s still an interesting way to see that the player pool has improved in the last 4 years. at least at DEF and MID..

  3. Funny, about 2 years ago we were praising and hyping players like Justin Mapp, Johnathan Bornstein and Benny Feilhaber and now they’re the butt of our jokes….what is going on in these kids heads that makes them fall so far? are they taking classes from Ronaldo or something?

  4. Justin Mapp is lazy the fact that he makes more than chris rolfe is laughable. I think Holden made the right decision, the saltire haven’t been playing very well in any competitions. I think that for this national team to gel we need the MLS guys because they show the most grit and heart, the european guys don’talways show this to me thats why I like seeing the young guys.

    All this proves to me is that what Kamani Hill and Bryan Argez are doing doesn’t work getting playing time works.

  5. Many of us rip on Robbie Rogers for his crosses or lackthereof and while he failed in that aspect at the olympics, cut him some slack because the kid isn’t so much a winger as he is a forward/attacking midfielder. He’s placed on the wing because A) he’s two footed and can cross with either foot B) He has a tiny fram and managers are afraid of him gettign knocked off the ball when he’s in the center C) His speed and dribbling ability make getting up and down the wings easy for him. He’s not a natural crosser and when he does get in a good position to cross he usually looks to work his way into the center from the wings for a shot. His goal against RBNY was a candidate for Sierra Mist Goal of the Week and he worked his way into the center for that one using speed and dribbling ability. Sad part is he probably wont be seen as a forward/attacking midfielder by Bradley mainly for the reasons A,B, and C so I geuss we’ll just have to see how he does in camp.

  6. Justin, probably not too surprising to see that many Wizards players in that camp. I believe they had just made it to the MLS Cup final two months previously.

  7. Tell me the woeful saga of young and once promising Justin Mapp…a player gifted with all the skills in the world, save one,….heart.

  8. I think Holden would be a nice asset to have considering his and Sacha’s versatility across the midfield. Hopefully he’ll finally find some consistancy and maybe even stick with the national team.

  9. That Holden story is great. Thanks Scotland. The part where he says the Scottish FA probably aren’t looking in the US for players made me laugh. I was already going to vote for him as my pick for this years Dempsey.

  10. Arena liked Richie Kotschau. He actually included him in the 1999 January camp here in Fort Lauderdale which culminated in Tom Dooley’s send off game versus Chile. I think Kotschau played for Tampa Bay at the time. Since he was called in six years later for a similar camp, Arena clearly kept an eye on him.

    Diego Guttierez is an interesting one. He would have made a much larger impact for the US had he received his citizenship in time for the qualifiers for the 2002 WC. Instead he missed most of that cycle and never really factored in after wards.

  11. Ah, memories. I laughed my butt off at Magee’s inclusion, as I would today. I remember chuckling as well at Rimando…it’s not that I don’t think he’s pretty good, but more that I knew he was working out with team USA for nothing, he’ll never play a meaningful game for us.

  12. Why are people so high on Rogers, especially in comparison to Holden? This has been said before on these pages, but against top international talent at the U-23 WC, Holden was a much better performer. Rogers brought little to the table and failed to accomplish his #1 task, providing service down to wings to McBride.

    Way too early to write off Cameron, especially considering you put Franklin on your list of players that will continue to be capped. Considering all competitions, Cameron was the best rookie on an MLS team this last year. His value is increased by his ability to play multiple positions (CB, DM, AM, RM)

  13. Takes you back doesn’t it? Think, We could have the next Clint Dempsey in this 2009 camp. My bet is on Rogers. Or could we have missed the Clint Dempsey we’ve been needing another of? Being only 12 when the 06 world cup rolled around I had my eyes on Donovan Beasley McBride and Reyna, so when Dempsey scored that goal against Ghana I was like’ GOOD JOB DEMPSEY!…..wait who the **** is Dempsey?’

  14. Interesting that out of all those names, there’s only about 5 that get regular MNT call-ups, one of which has since retired from international play.

    I also find it interesting that the MNT seems to let so many guys go from regular consideration, but yet so many of the guys we do play are spotty performers.

    This all tells me that the talent pool from 2005 was shallow, but also that there may be some problem with assessment of long-term player potential.

  15. Clyde Simms was invited while in the USL because of the other training camp for the USMNT that took place when the USSF and the Union were at an impasse over their contracts. They were renogiating the appearence fees, win bonuses, etc. There was a World Cup Qualifier coming up and Arena faced the possibility of having to qualify with none of the players available from the national team pool. So he had a January-type training camp of nothing but USL and indoor players. Out of that group Simms was a standout. Right after that camp, the contract was hammered out, and Bruce was able to call in the full batch of pool players. But Simms did so much to impress that he was included as Arena wanted to see how he compared to better players. Not long after that, DC swooped in for Simms.

  16. if you all recall that was right after the threatened USMNT player strike and they called some scrubs in while it was going on, Simms stood out and was offered a camp spot as a bone to those that filled in. That is the only reason Simms ever wore a US shirt and i think he may even have got a consilation cap from Arena as well.

  17. There are quite a few players in the ’09 camp that will be in the picture from this point forward:

    Franklin, Wynne, Holden, Rogers, Cooper and Davies

    Players who won’t be heard from again:

    Wingert, Cameron, Carroll, with 2009’s Cory Gibbs playing the role of 2005’s Clint Mathis

    The thing I find most interesting, is that two players, Busch and Marshall, really hadn’t been called in much since 2005 until this most recent camp. I think Will Hesmer and Clarence Goodson are your best bets for that role.

  18. whoa… i didn’t pay attention to the “2005” in the headline and just about blew a gasket trying to figure out what was going on.


Leave a Comment