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Who should the USMNT call in for January camp?

The looming end of 2019 brings us closer to a new year and fresh start for the U.S. Men’s National Team, which is looking at a very busy 2020.

That busy year should kick off with the traditional January training camp, which hasn’t been formally announced yet, but should make its return as Gregg Berhalter begins preparations on a make-or-break year for him and the USMNT program.

What sort of squad will Berhalter bring to his January camp? Will it be a young one, with plenty of uncapped players and new faces? Will he bring in many of the same MLS-based options who were part of his regular rotation in 2019?

Expecting to see a full roster of new faces isn’t realistic, but we should see some new blood, along with the nucleus of top MLS contributors who became regulars during Berhalter’s first year in charge.

As a reminder, the January camp traditionally consists almost exclusively of MLS-based players and some players from the Scandinavian leagues that aren’t in season during January and February.

Here is a look at the players who could be called in to the January USMNT camp:


Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson, Matt Turner, Jesse Gonzalez

Guzan emerged as Berhalter’s second-choice goalkeeper behind Zack Steffen in the second half of 2019, and it will be interesting to see if that remains the pecking order in the new year. With New York City FC scheduled to take part in the Florida Cup in January you wonder if that will lead to Johnson skipping the January camp.

If he does, then that could open the door for someone like Miller, though Miller’s club situation is in limbo at the moment. Bill Hamid remains a player who is worthy of a look, but questions remain about whether he is a good stylistic fit in Berhalter’s possession-based system, which requires goalkeepers to be busy and sharp passers, something Hamid has never been accused of being.

Another goalkeeper to consider is MLS Cup winner Stefan Frei. He was arguably the best goalkeeper in MLS in 2018, and in 2019 his playoff heroics were key to Seattle’s run to the title. Chances are Berhalter goes with younger options, but the 33-year-old Frei is definitely an intriguing possibility.


Reggie Cannon, Aaron Long, Miles Robinson, Ryan Hollingshead, Auston Trusty, Walker Zimmerman, Nick Lima

There are some easy calls in this group in Cannon and Long, two of the USMNT’s breakout players of 2019, but things are much tougher to call beyond those two.

Robinson was having an outstanding year for Atlanta United before going down with a hamstring injury. He is a safe bet to be a big part of the January camp. Walker Zimmerman is another central defender who Berhalter saw plenty of in 2019 and should be back in the fold.

What about new faces? Ike Opara was the best defender in MLS in 2019, but he turns 31 in February and Berhalter could decide to stick with younger options. Trusty fits the bill, not only as a good Under-23 prospect, but also as a left-footed central defender.

The fullback position is one with plenty of young options in the pool. Will Berhalter stick with the Cannon-Lima tandem at right back, or might he have a look at someone like Keegan Rosenberry, Brooks Lennon or Aaron Herrera? Lennon and Herrera are U-23 options as well.

One player who should have played his way onto the radar is Hollingshead, who had an outstanding 2019 with FC Dallas. There are some younger left back options, such as Chase Gasper and Sam Vines, but Hollingshead has the attacking quality that could fit well in Berhalter’s system.


Cristian Roldan, Sebastian Lletget, Jackson Yueill, Brandon Servania, Paxton Pomykal, Emerson Hyndman, Hassani Dotson

Those looking for a youth movement will want to consider midfield an area where Berhalter can incorporate some new blood. Roldan, Lletget and Yueill are the carryovers, but young options like Pomykal and Dotson are particularly interesting.

Hyndman’s permanent move to Atlanta United should make him available for the January camp, and the former Bournemouth midfielder is a good fit in Berhalter’s system.

Dotson’s versatility make him someone Berhalter should have a look at, though his status as a U-23 player could lead him to take part in a U-23 camp instead of one is held at the same time as the January USMNT camp.

Servania is another U-23 player who merits a look as a defensive midfield option at a position where new blood is needed. You will notice both Michael Bradley and Wil Trapp are absent from this list. That doesn’t mean we won’t see them again down the road, but it seems unlikely that Berhalter would call in those two veterans when there are so many young options to consider.


Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes, Mason Toye, Paul Arriola, Emmanuel Sabbi, Jonathan Lewis, Jesus Ferreira

Jozy Altidore could easily be included in the January camp, but you probably couldn’t blame Berhalter for wanting to minimize the workload on his top striker heading into such an important year. If Altidore is left out, that can open the door for a young striker option like Toye, who showed some very good qualities in 2019.

Jeremy Ebobisse would be in this group if he hadn’t recently had surgery, but with him sidelined, Toye gets the nod. Of course, if there is U-23 camp at this same time then Toye could wind up taking part in that camp instead.

Ferreira is one of the more interesting prospects on the list. He recently secured his U.S. citizenship, making him eligible now to play in official competitions. He should be a factor in Olympic qualifying, and Berhalter will want a closer look at Ferreira to see where he could fit best in the USMNT setup. He saw plenty of time as a striker with FC Dallas even though he isn’t your traditional striker.

On the wing, Arriola and Morris are two of the top options in the entire pool and should lead this group. Lewis is someone Berhalter has been intrigued by for some time. Lewis impressed in last year’s January camp and should see another look.

Sabbi is a very compelling wing option, but it remains to be seen if he will be available for the January camp because he could be sold by Hobro this winter. If he isn’t sold, or stays in Scandinavia, then he would be available for the January camp, and is absolutely a player Berhalter will want to see more closely because of his goal-scoring ability and positional flexibility.


  1. I think right now, if I were GB, I would call Jozy in only as a likely sub. I think he s just too injury prone to be a reliable starter. Toronto, similarly would be smart to find a full time starter to be ahead of him, if nothing else because Jozy will miss too many games.

  2. I’d like to see Hamid finally get a call up for Berharlter. He definitely deserves it. I’d also like not to see Trapp or Zardes. Heres another name I would like to see: Conrad de la Fuente. He’s a intriguing prospect.

    • Barcelona will not release Konrad in January. Zardes led the US in goals scored last year and was one of the leading US goal scorers in MLS in all MLS camp he deserves to be there. Unfortunately I don’t see Trapp and Bradley not being called. Hamid talked trash about the other goalkeepers on ESPN last year I don’t see Berhalter messing with that problem with Steffen firmly in place as the starter.

  3. For me the question of who gets called will depend on if there is also a U-23 camp.
    Overall I don’t have any serious complaints with the players SBI selected so long as some of the new faces get a real opportunity. Guzan, Jozy, & Roldan are known quantities, and shouldn’t be the focus. The focus should be finding players who have a future with this team and start giving them experience.

    • That’s the question, I don’t know how many U23s in Europe would be released so a Jan U23 camp would be mostly MLS players. I think it will be similar to JKs combined camp with some regulars and some U23s. Guys like Sabbi and Soto who are likely to move may be released since their clubs don’t have plans for them, but if their transfers are done early they’ll be with their new club.

  4. Why is there the delusion that Jozy Altidore is our top striker? Haha, like how?? He is an OPTION and in the CONVERSATION for US strikers but not the best….nowhere near the best!!! Does he just LOOK THE PART or something, because I know it’s not because of his stats and performance in MLS. Over the past 4 years he is not even the TOP US PLAYER AT STRIKER in MLS, and who do we REALLY have in MLS to compare him to!!!! Zardes? Retiree Wondolowski? Jordan Morris? Where is this “TOP US striker” title coming from when he has NEVER been the highest scoring US striker in MLS? EVER. And when he is not taking up space on the team look how well other players like Morris and Zardes are performing on the National stage. Tally up his goals and/or assist in the last 4 years… a league like MLS….and he is not the best at anything, EVEN A SINGLE SEASON. And yet we act like an injury prone player, that’s not even the best in his daily craft in MLS in the last 4 years, who cannot get a better goal tally in a season than players considered too old for the national team… like the TOP US STRIKER WE HAVE???? Hahaha…

    • The reason for those stats is limited time do to injury if you average his goals per 90 or goals per match, he’s at or near the top. If you want to argue we can’t count on him being fit that’s a valid argument.

      • Johnnyrazor I call BS. A player is judged by his “TOTAL OUTPUT / PRODUCTIVITY / CONSISTENCY / LONGEVITY” over a period of time. For you I will ONLY go back 4 years?

        G – GOALS
        A – ASSISTS

        Chris Wondolowski…SJ……F……32……24…..1982…..15…..2
        CJ Sapong……………….CHI……F…..32…..29…..2551…..13…..2
        Gyasi Zardes…………..CLB……F…..28…..28…..2478…..13…..2
        Jozy Altidore…………..TOR…..F…..22…..18…..1691…..11…..7

        Gyasi Zardes………… CLB…..F…..33…..33…..2948…..19…..0
        Dom Dwyer…………..ORL…..F…..26…..25…..2244…..13…..0
        Teal Bunbury…………NE…….F……32….30…..2566…..11…..4
        Chris Wondolowski….SJ……F……34…..23…..2289….10……5
        Jozy played 13 games (877 mins)

        CJ Sapong……………….CHI…..F…..33…..30…..2794…..16…..5
        Jozy Altidore…………..TOR….F…..27……25….2194……15….6
        Christian Ramirez…..HOU….F…..30……27.….2392…..14….3
        Chris Wondolowski…SJ……..F…..34……34……3041…..13…8

        Dom Dwyer…………….ORL….F……33……31….2823……16…..3
        Chris Pontius…………….LA….M…..33……32….2571……12…..6
        Jordan Morris…………SEA…..F……34…….32…2856…….12….4
        Chris Wondolowski…..SJ……F……30…….30…2697…….12….3
        Jozy played 23 games (1487 mins)

        So you have made my point, if you have NEVER been the highest scoring US STRIKER in MLS, NEVER been fully healthy to play more than 30 games a season, Never lead in any category what so ever in the league against US PLAYERS IN A SINGLE SEASON (especially with the kind of competition you are up against)…….then how on God’s green earth is he deemed the best or TOP US STRIKER for the USMNT…..when he is not even in the top 3 IN MLS????!!!!! To call Jozy Altiore the TOP US STRIKER or the BEST OF ANYTHING is absolutely asinine

        He is only an option for the USMNT nothing more

      • Thanks for doing the research for me:
        2019: 2nd in goals per minute, 1st in goals per appearances
        2018: 1st goals per minute, 2nd goals per appearances
        2017: 1st in both categories
        2016: 1st in goals per minute 2nd in goals per appearances
        So as I said your argument should be he’s not consistently healthy enough to be our best striker that’s a viable argument. That he doesn’t produce when available is not a valid argument.
        Dennis: Zardes and Morris’s seasons were shockingly similar. Zardes 13g 2a 28 matches goal every 190 minutes, Morris 13g 6a 30 matches goal every 184 minutes. Zardes 6g 1a for NT Morris 5g 7a. Obviously the assists are important but you expect more assists from a wide player. Should also be remembered Zardes did not play in either Cuba match were 3 g 3a came for Morris.

      • Johnnyrazor,
        Who is the player with the most goals per minute or 1st in goals per appearances in Bundesliga, English Premier league, Serie A and La Liga?

        What trophy, plaque or recognition is given for goals per minute or 1st in goals per appearances in these leagues?

        “Confidence is the prize given to the mediocre”
        ― Robert Hughes

      • Hmmm…..maybe you are on to something Johnnyrazor and goals per appearance should be the metrics used to evaluate the greats US striker.

        The Chrisitan Ramirez is our TOP US STRIKER!!!! 1 goals for every 2 appearances!!!!

        Yeah, Mediocre at its best….

    • It is always a struggle to agree with bizzy’s rants, but it is pretty clear that in the last year Morris has improved his game significantly and is now a better option than Jozy. Morris was always fast and because speed is such a potent weapon, he did not have to develop so much in the way of soccer smarts. He has improved in that regard and I think is now clearly better than Jozy. Zardes seems to be to be a guy who sometimes plays very well and sometimes not, I would rate Jozy ahead of him.

      • Dennis,
        1. “It is always a struggle to agree with bizzy’s rants”…….Yet here we are,,,,agreeing with bizzy’s rant.

        2. “Zardes seems to be to be a guy who sometimes plays very well and sometimes not”….haha, did you just skip through EVERYTHING I said about Jozy??? In terms of recent “ OUTPUT / PRODUCTIVITY / CONSISTENCY / LONGEVITY”….who is he superior to in the realm of US strikers in MLS? Who? Maybe there is some hidden league somewhere he’s scoring goals in……but in MLS – Wondolowski, Zardes and Sapong are his Daddy.

  5. Maybe give Zardes and Morris a break try some the kids from Northern Europe: Amon, Sabbi, Llanez, and the kid from Arsenal.

    Please, no more Roldan!

    • Euro players are not available. Danish players are technically not in season but they will be in club training in warm countries playing club friendlies. The only guy I can remember being released from Europe recently was Kiesewetter who was then benched the rest of the season in Germany and only a few years later is in the USL.

      • what Johnny said. for example, this is Hobro’s winter schedule (as per their club website):
        January 6 at 5 p.m. 10.30am: First training session in 2020.
        January 27 at. 13.00: Test match: Hobro IK – AC Horsens.
        January 29 – February 7: Training camp in Belek, Turkey, where two test matches are played.
        February 11 at 1 p.m. 4.30pm: Test match: Hobro IK – Slice IK.
        On February 16, the first match will be played in the 3F Super League in 2020, where Hobro IK meets SønderjyskE on the field.

    • Amon has been injured since June. Tried to make a return in September and reinjured himself 36 minutes later and has been out since.
      i don’t know if he’ll be healthy in time for Cupcake

  6. If you want clicks….you should make the article: Who should the US NOT invite from MLS?
    Or which player will they invite that you hate. The last one might be some long posts.
    I would like to see Pomykal, first of all he seems like he is going to be good. Second, the US needs someone to feed the stallions on the wing. What the US doesn’t need is another sort of stallion that plays the wing. It doesn’t even seem like that have someone in mind even.
    The other thing that I want to see. Is someone better than Jozy at forward. He is on the decline and there is no replacement in sight. Can Toye improve? Ferreira the answer?
    Both of those need to be solved and have needed to be for quite a while now.

    • Toye isn’t there yet (not really close if Jozy is fit) and Ferreira played as a midfielder for most of the season last year. Jozy needs to be in camp if fit, if he plays in the one friendly that is supposedly close to being finalized who cares.

      • “Toye isn’t there yet (not really close if Jozy is fit)”………saying “if Jozy is fit” is like saying when Freddy Adu loses weight, gains match ready fitness and makes up for years lost. It could happen but not any time soon……and time has run out. He is not going to miraculously find “fitness” are 6+ years of being injury prone……sorry that shiphas sailed

  7. have we heard if were even having a January camp? Last I heard was in Qatar, but we’re two weeks out and have nothing scheduled here.

    • Supposedly it was closed to being finalized as of last week. Matches are typically the last week of January first of February. Wikipedia says El Salvador and Iceland for what it’s worth.


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