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Llanez, Pomykal and Ferreira headline young USMNT squad for January camp

The first U.S. Men’s National Team camp of the new year will feature a very young squad, with an eye toward Olympic qualifying and looking ahead to the 2022 World Cup qualifying cycle

Ulysses Llanez, Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira headline a young contingent being called into the USMNT January camp, which will take place in Doha, Qatar in January. A total of 12 uncapped players are being brought in, with 14 players on the squad age-eligible for the upcoming Olympic qualifying cycle.

Llanez and Hobro midfielder Christian Cappis are the lone inclusions who currently play outside MLS. Llanez is at Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, where he has enjoyed success on the club;’s U-19 team, while Cappis plays for Danish side Hobro, which is currently in its offseason.

Ferreira will take part in his first USMNT camp after having recently secured his U.S. citizenship. The 19-year-old son of former MLS MVP David Ferreira, Jesus Ferreira is coming off a breakout season with FC Dallas, registering eight goals and six assists as a regular starter for the Western Conference club.

One veteran who has made his way back into the USMNT mix is Bill Hamid, who will take part in his first camp under Gregg Berhalter. Hamid is coming off an outstanding season with D.C. United, a season which helped precipitate his permanent transfer back to D.C. United from Danish club Midtjylland.

The USMNT squad features just a handful of first-choice regulars, with Aaron Long and Jordan Morris the lone regular USMNT starters in the group. A nucleus of roster regulars such as Sean Johnson, Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola, Reggie Cannon, Cristian Roldan and Sebastian Lletget make up the veteran nucleus of the group.

U.S. Under-17 national team midfielder Bryang Kayo, a D.C. United academy product who is currently without a club, is the youngest of the new faces, which will convene in Qatar for training camp from January 5 to January 25 before heading to California for the February 1 friendly against Costa Rica. Kayo first trained with the USMNT as a guest training in the team’s pre-Gold Cup preparation camp back in May. Kayo has reportedly been linked to a potential move to Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, but any move to Europe would have to wait until he turns 18 in July.

Here is the full 25-man roster for the January USMNT camp:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

DEFENDERS (8): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Chase Gasper (Minnesota United FC), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Christian Cappis (Hobro), Bryang Kayo (Unattached), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)


  1. I will say this. The USSF is organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (and non-taxed) entity. They have an obligation to transparency in this regard. For the most part, they do the bare minimum to satisfy this and should be unsurprised by the recent news and Glassdoor insights detailing the toxicity of the organization.
    Having said that, I would simply love to see an accounting statement of this capricious “January in Qatar” trip. Because it seems to me this would necessarily add hundreds of thousands of dollars to our previously frugal January camps in LA. Flights, hotels, and training facilities for a distant (and expensive) city. It all adds up. And that’s before we fly everyone 8,000 miles *back to LA* for a friendly that makes no sense.
    I sure hope the answer is simply that “the USSF decided to invest significantly more money in January camps”. This would be great to hear, and sure I think getting familiar with the lay of the land in Qatar might offer some benefit for 2022 (though this would really be ridiculously early to be thinking this way…. whatever hotel we might stay at probably doesn’t exist yet). Still, If the final accounting showed that the USSF spent an extra million bucks (or more) to maximize the value of the January camp, it would be just find with me.
    Is that really what’s happening, Ives? If an accountant were to ask for the receipts for this trip, would we find that our team and staff had paid market price for a group of 30-40 soccer-playing adults to fly/lodge/eat/train in Qatar. Or would we find that some of these expenses were “comped” or deeply discounted as a “gift of friendship”, and that the whole camp scarcely cost a dime more than Camp Cupcake in Carson?
    I have no idea why this would not be a valid question. But you can delete this comment (again) if you like.

  2. It is silly to spend time in Qatar, only to fly back to play on the US West Coast. Further this list of young players could face a much better team in Costa Rica, never mind the jet lag. This whole thing is a recipe for failure; It is hardly a format to see which young players are best, the only bright side I can see is that it may inform the coaches who travels well and who does not.

    • Careful Dennis! The moderators take disparagement of the Qatar idea very seriously around here. One more outburst like this and you may find your comment goes poof!

  3. With certain household names off this list makes this camp a whole lot more interesting / exciting….and the development of the USMNT a lot more real and optimistic.

    Camp Cup cake or not, a breath of fresh air for once in a very long time. Thank goodness

    • Agree with breath of fresh air, new faces, new team and all that. The flip side of the coin is a sobering look at how thin and weak the talent pool is. We just don’t have seasoned 1st team, 1st division guys to fill a second string roster. Given that, I think its the right move to look at the young talent in this camp, and hope several can make the fast track jump to senior USMNT level in the next two years.

  4. Excited that Llanez is going but disappointed because it probably means Wolfsburg doesn’t have any plans for him with first team anytime soon. I agree with I Scored would bet he isn’t going to LA

  5. Is it me or is this a very odd selection of players? There are still some decent/interesting options who will have a chance to stake a claim on some positions for the future.
    I’m happy to see some new faces at some of our positions of need:
    Gasper & Vines getting a shot at one of our weakest positions (LB). Considering it’s not a FIFA date and the top 3 or 4 options at the position (Dest, A. Robinson, Ream, Gloster) were never going to be released.
    Aaronson and/or Pomykal will hopefully step up and surpass Roldan at the Attacking Midfield role.
    Looking forwards to seeing what Ferreira & Llanez can bring to the table. Our wide midfielders/attackers have not been very impressive. We need someone to emerge who can be a threat on the opposite side of the field of Pulisic. We need players to challenge Arriola & Morris… Would be nice if one of these 2 along with Weah could make a real challenge.
    Still need depth behind Adams at the CDM position so I’m glad to see Yueill back & Cappis get a shot.

    Not really impressed with the CB options called. Glad & McKenzie are fairly far down the pecking order IMO. None of the EU guys were going to be available, but I don’t see either as a 1st choice option at the U-23 level….let alone able to contribute at the Sr. Level

    Happy that Trapp, Bradley, & Jozy were left home. It finally looks as if Trapp has potentially been surpassed. Bradley will likely still be part of the team in 2020….but his time is coming to an end. Nothing against Jozy, and he probably be part of the team going forwards….but his injury history makes it hard to count on. Exploring other options is important.

    • Glad and McKenzie started at least half the U23 friendlies this fall. May not be first choice for the Olympics but might be first choice of guys who will be released.

  6. Good mix of guys for a January camp especially with a good frienly against Costa rica. It will be interesting who from the youth stands out I would bet on llanez a very gifted 1 v 1 player with speed. Would have brought in Soto but I’m sure his club didn’t let him come because he wants out of contract. Kayo who? never heard of this kid why he gets a call idk. That being said good young prospects called but I insist Soto or another up and coming forward needed to be called. Zardes won’t be the solution he has a lot of limitations but fortunately for him gregs system makes him look good when he scores.

  7. GB is still leading us straight to NOWHERE. Why waste another minute on Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola, Reggie Cannon, Cristian Roldan and Sebastian Lletget? None of them are good enough. Morris? Why is he at this camp? Everybody knows what he brings. Is Trapp now history?

    I now have a yellow flag at half mast. At 3/4 mast, it turns red. I am seeing nothing from GB that makes me have any confidence that we will qualify. Yeah there’s some new ones but way too many ones we’ve seen before. Maybe if that friendly with CR will get some attention if we get smoked? Somebody at US Soccer has to wake up. I read Hunter Biden is available? Might be better than what we have now with GB

    • You can only call in guys who are released or not in season. We beat CR last year 2-0 with a similar roster so your wish may not be granted. CR will not have their best roster either.

  8. Still think I would like guys like Bradley and altidore called in for this camp, get more integrated into the group. Only 2 camps after this one before WCQ starts, can’t really waste time, and those guys are gonna be involved whether we like it or not. Other than that happy to see some of these faces.

  9. I think that Zimmerman has a good shot of being a starter. Doesn’t matter if you think person A or B is better, they need to be healthy and consistent.


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