Several positions for the U.S. Men’s National Team are up for grabs as new head coach Gregg Berhalter tries to get a glimpse at a wide range of players. One position that could very well be locked down is right back, with veteran DeAndre Yedlin currently the team’s clear-cut starter.
With Yedlin not a part of January’s USMNT camp in Chula Vista, California, MLS right backs have had their chance to prove their worth to Berhalter and his coaching staff. Keegan Rosenberry is coming off a strong campaign with the Philadelphia Union and has been rewarded with a call in to Berhalter’s first camp as U.S. coach.
“I’d say we’ve made a lot of progress for one week together with a brand-new group in the first week of an offseason,” Rosenberry said. “It was definitely something I was coming in a little nervous about not having been in a team or competitive environment for a while. The staff and Gregg does a great job of that and bringing everybody together and creating a culture here. It’s been a good first week.”
The 25-year-old has yet to win a cap with the USMNT, with his only prior call-up coming in Jan. 2017 under then head coach Bruce Arena. That came after an All-Star rookie season that saw him emerge as a top-notch fullback prospect.
The 2017 MLS season was a rough one for Rosenberry, who lost his starting job and started just 14 matches, but he rebounded in 2018, returning to a regular starting role as he helped a young Union defense lead Philadelphia to a playoff berth.
That didn’t keep the Union from trading Rosenberry to the Colorado Rapids this winter, and now he heads into 2018 with new coaches to impress, both for club and country. Though it’s still early, Rosenberry is enjoying his time working under Berhalter.
“Gregg’s approach to our style of play has been awesome,” Rosenberry said. “It’s been really fun for me learning his coaching style and what he wants from his staff and players on a daily basis. Just from a preparation standpoint, it’s exciting. I think we’re really looking forward to these tests at the end of the month with these games and seeing how these tactics translate because at this point we’re just training against each other.
“I think it’s one of the best ways to learn is you having that dialogue with a coach and them wanting that,” Rosenberry said. “I think that back and forth is important in any relationship, especially a coach and player one. I think when you speak up as a player and talk through the things you’ve been learning, it gives you more responsibility and makes you understand it even better.”
Rosenberry is one of three right backs in USMNT camp, along with Reggie Cannon and Nick Lima. All three defenders are considered promising prospects, with Rosenberry boasting the most experience of the three. If he can build on his bounce-back 2018 with a strong 2019, Rosenberry will have a chance to earn more looks from Berhalter as the year goes on, even when European-based options like Yedlin work their way back into the mix.