Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
The next step in selecting the team that will be charged with qualifying the United States for the Olympics is underway, as United States Under-23 coach Caleb Porter holds his December training camp in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. A group of 30 players has been called in for the next week, where they'll aim to catch Porter's eye and build a foundation for the coming months.
Among the players called in are Philadelphia Union midfielder Freddy Adu, Duisburg camp standouts Terrence Boyd and Mixx Diskerud, Mexican-American attacker Joe Corona, collegiate standouts Andrew Wenger, Kelyn Rowe and Sebastien Ibeagha and first-time call-in and FC Nurnberg German-American forward Jann George.
The road to roster selection has been carved out by Porter, who has turned his full attention to the U-23 team after finishing up another season at Akron.
Porter said that in addition to this camp, he'll be holding 10-day camps in January and February prior to a final camp that leads into March's qualifying matches. Following the January camp, Porter said he is planning on taking a group to Central America for a pair of friendlies.
"Training is important, but we need to get games," Porter said in an interview with U.S. Soccer. "We need to be tested. Ultimately, the results are what matter, and in qualifying you’re building toward getting results in games.
"We need to start seeing the group and the individuals in games so we can evaluate them and work out tactics, the way we're going to play, the way that we're going to plan for games. We want to get a couple hard games, in hopefully an uncomfortable environment, where we’re playing teams that are similar to the level we’re going to see in qualifying."
SBI will be providing coverage from Lakewood Ranch throughout the next week.
In the meantime, which players are you hoping to see excel and cement their places on the qualifying roster? What do you think of Porter's comments and plan for the months ahead?
Share your thoughts below.