By FRANCO PANIZO
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Michael Bradley wants to have a bigger impact this cycle than he did during the last four years.
Bradley was one of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s most important players during the run-up to the 2014 World Cup, but he still wants to shoulder even more of the load as he officially kicks off a new cycle on Tuesday. The 27-year-old midfielder was called into his first post-World Cup camp this weekend ahead of the Americans’ clash with Honduras, and he hopes the game at FAU Stadium will be the start of a four years that will see him serve as an even bigger leader than he was on the road to Brazil.
“You’re trying to take what you do and make it count for even more,” said Bradley before the U.S.’s first training session in South Florida on Sunday. “Be a better player, be a better leader, have a bigger imprint on things – on the field, off the field. For me, it’s no different than trying to be a guy who can be counted on to be a big player when needed and to make sure we’re moving this thing in the right direction.”
Here are more notes from USMNT camp:
ALTIDORE UNAWARE OF BURNLEY RUMORS
If the latest batch of rumors are true, someone forgot to inform Jozy Altidore.
A mere hours afters reports in England stated that Premiership club Burnley were keen on acquiring Altidore, the 24-year-old striker said he knew nothing about the purported interest.
Altidore confessed last week at the start of the U.S.’s October camp that he would seek a move away from Sunderland this winter if his playing situation did not improve soon, but he is unaware of any interest from Burnley.
“I have no idea. I don’t know,” said Altidore. “I haven’t heard anything. No, I have no idea.”
Currently in his second season with the Black Cats, Altidore has struggled for regular minutes. He has just four league appearances, none of them starts, for a combined 53 minutes.
Altidore has started and gone the distance in two Capital One Cup games this campaign, scoring in one of them.
RIMANDO ENJOYING SOUTH FLORIDA RETURN
While the entire U.S. squad appears to be taking pleasure in the trip to South Florida, one player in particular seems to be doing so more than most.
Nick Rimando is back in Ft. Lauderdale and enjoying his time in the place where he began his professional career. Rimando played for the now-defunct Miami Fusion from 2000-2001, starting the 47 regular season matches he appeared in while recording seven shutouts.
“It feels good to be back,” said Rimando from inside Lockhart Stadium, where the Fusion played their home games. “This is where it all started for me, 15-plus years ago. It (is a) little different, the stands and field a little bit, but I have a lot of respect for this place and South Florida because they’re obviously my first stepping stone to where I am today.”
Since leaving the Fusion, the 35-year-old Rimando has put together one of the more impressive goalkeeper careers in MLS. He continues to shine in between the pipes for Real Salt Lake on a consistent basis, and his impressive form has him competing with Brad Guzan for the U.S.’s vacant No. 1 spot ahead of next summer’s Gold Cup.
It is down to Rimando’s hard work that he is in this situation, but getting his start in Ft. Lauderdale more than a decade ago also helped him.
“Times passed for sure,” said Rimando. “To come back here full circle and to be with the national team, it’s something that feels right.”
What do you think of Bradley wanting to take on more responsibility? Should Altidore consider Burnley? Impressed with the career Rimando has carved out since starting with the Fusion in 2000?
Share your thoughts below.