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USMNT prospect Julian Araujo focused on continuing to improve, not on his national team decision


Questions about Julian Araujo’s international future may be persistent right now, but the youngster is insisting he is focused on the here and now. Both with club and country.

Araujo is poised to make his international debut on Wednesday night with the U.S. Men’s National Team, and that is what he is currently concentrating on. Even with him experiencing a club coaching change at the LA Galaxy. Even with his international future still being very much in the air given both Mexico and the USMNT’s interest in the dual national.

“I am just focused right now with (the) U.S. and the game against El Salvador,” said Araujo ahead of the friendly at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Obviously it is a tough decision and it is something that is really hard for me, but I do not think about it too much. Right now I am just focused and I just want to grow as a player and continue to get better each and every day.”

The 19-year-old Araujo took further strides in his development this past MLS season, racking up 1,298 minutes in the 17 starts in as many appearances that he had with the Galaxy. Along with playing time, Araujo benefited from the experience of playing in multiple positions, and not just his natural right back spot under now-former Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

“Playing right mid was definitely something that helped me,” said Araujo. “To be able to play multiple positions at a professional level is definitely going to catch a coach’s eyes. I am someone that likes to run and help the team as much as possible and we needed someone at right wing so I was happy enough to do the job and help our team out. I learned a lot at right wing and getting that opportunity to play my game and be myself. I am thankful for that.”

Still, the American native of Mexican descent prefers playing as a defender.

“To be honest, right back is just where I feel most comfortable,” said Araujo. “I know I played right wing throughout the season and had some games there. It was difficult for me to adapt to, I did it but I am most comfortable at right back.”

It seems likely that USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter will deploy Araujo in the prospect’s preferred position on Wednesday night given the players that are available in this rare December camp. Regardless, Araujo is hoping to make an impression, especially after not getting the chance to see the field back in February in the national team’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica.

“It’s a big game for all of us young players and all the players that are going to be playing in the game to prove ourselves and show what we can do,” said Araujo. “If I get the opportunity, I just want to go out there and help the team and do my job.”

Araujo may be focused on this bout vs. Los Catrachos, but he has longer-term goals, too. He admitted on Monday that he wants to be a regular starter for whomever is the next Galaxy coach in 2021, and that he also would “love” to go to Europe to ply his trade and chase his “dreams” at some point in the future when the timing is right.

Of course, he will have to pick a national team to pledge his future to at some point as well. Right now, however, he is staying in the moment, focusing on the present.

“The national team has given me confidence,” said Araujo. “Last year going into January camp and after January camp going into the season, it gave me a lot of confidence of just being able to be myself and just working on things that I know I needed to work on. Even just getting advice with the coaching staff here in the U.S. and them helping me with what I need to work on has been something very helpful for me.

“It’s been a good camp so far. I’ve learned things that I didn’t learn in January, but I’m thankful for that as well.”


    • Having lived in both Honduras and El Salvador, this would be a fatal insult. Los Guanacos will never forget this slight.

  1. I would not care nor any hard feelings if he chose Mexico. We need more CB’s and Strikers so Araujo playing RB and RW is not a position we need stacked up, who knows might change in future.

      • Dude is not all that if he was Europe would be knocking on his door. Dest, Cannon, Yedlin, Richards, etc.I am trying to say in a nice way if you missed it that he is not all that good. I view him same as Jonathan Gonzalez. So dont get a headache

      • You’re arguing two different things. You said we’re stacked at RB. I don’t think we have enough actual RB defense and dispute this. I don’t think a bunch of “attacking” RBs is “stacked” because most can’t defend. I say roughly that, and you respond, essentially, he’s not that good. Fair enough as your assessment, but a different argument. My response, give him his 45-90 and let’s see.

      • I also think he could play RW and considered putting him there in my lineup. But we have a lot of people to try out and I didn’t see him as the best option there.

    • He’s 19 and a good prospect with all kinds of potential. The schedule of games next year will be coming fast a furious. An injury or 2… which we’ve all seen before and… suddenly the cupboard is bare. We’d be well served to be 3-4 players deep at every position. Fortunately it seems we are seeing the beginnings of having some depth…. in the past, the drop off past the 1 or 2 was pretty severe.

      • I agree with your talent and depth assessment. What I disagree with many about is the qualities we should be seeking in backs. I look defense first and see offense as gravy. Despite the talent boom and how it will impact the offense I am still waiting for us to find 3-4 defenders who can, you know, defend. I think that is critical to whether we will reach the heights the people looking at the offensive talent theorize. We can’t ship 2 goals to Panama and 3 goals to Mexico and 4 goals to Colombia and get much better competitively. If you tighten that up at the same time as the offense improves then we lift off. If you don’t fix the defense it’s debatable if we can surpass Mexico regionally much less become globally competitive. And FWIW I think the offense of Dest and Robinson is sporadic and overrated. As I said 20x after Wales I thought our offense that game turned into aimless wingback crossing and a 0-0 tie. While I think overlaps are useful I prefer the offense in general be coming through the specialist attackers like Pulisic Reyna Morris Ledezma, people who can play precision balls. I think if the wingbacks are trying to run the offense they should send Berhalter a xmas gift basket.

      • I also think if we feel overwhelmed with talent the way to resolve such issues is you isolate the qualities you really want from that position. A lot of the supposedly redundant talent has different qualities and if you pick for the ones you really want the herd thins back down. For example, while we have several 9 candidates, at this point we should be looking for a 9 who can finish with some foot speed. Finishing rules out Zardes. Foot speed would hurt some people like Sargent. I find this exercise focusing. I think the US since about 2014 has been run too much like an all star team where we try and field the best 11 club resumes or reputations and not the best XI who do their jobs for the NT and are good at what their position demands. To me the US has a talent boom but the question is if we’re going to (a) have enough defense and (b) optimize the lineup to the formation. To me people have forgotten the role of defense in the 2009-10 team that was probably our most successful based on Confed Cup and winning a group at world cup with England.

      • “I agree with your talent and depth assessment. What I disagree with many about is the qualities we should be seeking in backs.”

        Well… I was responding to comment kind of insinuating we are set- we don’t need more RBs. My main point was I think we need to think about developing well beyond a number 1 and a back up. As for Araujo… he is most definitely promising enough to show interest in/put on the list of hopefuls. As with most 19 year old defenders- he is far from a finished product his mind and body will mature. As well- I wouldn’t characterize him as a one dimensional go forward back. His man on man defense is already pretty good and will certainly get better as he has a good work rate and tenacity.

      • “I think the US since about 2014 has been run too much like an all star team where we try and field the best 11 club resumes or reputations and not the best XI who do their jobs for the NT and are good at what their position demands. -IV”

        On this we 100% agree. The pieces need to fit the style of play as well as compliment each other. Bradley and JJ would be a prime example of 2 players w/ talent that merited playing time, but both together was a poor blend. I actually think we have parts that compliment each other more than we have for a while. It’s why I am so hopeful for Dike and McKenzie as they fit the mold of how GB wants to play as well as areas of need in our depth chart.

    • Right Back isn’t as deep as you may think….
      Dest – clearly the Best RB we have, but he’s also the Best LB we have. Will most likely be our starting LB based on Robinson’s most recent performance.
      Cannon – Likely the starting RB, but is not exactly perfect.
      Yedlin – Currently 3rd string due to his lack of playing time. Not as technical as Gregg would like the backs to be.
      Robinson – Yes has played RB for Bayern, but more likely our starting RCB in the very near future.
      The Rest are in a Free for All. All are looking to get into the conversation as depth options and possibly overtake Yedlin as the 3rd string option.
      Araujo, Moore, Duncan, Olosunde, Reynolds

      • Stop with the age excuse. People did the same when I bought up Kyle Scott, who has been a scrub at New Cas. No first team mins just, U 23 mind after leaving Chelsea. Reyna, Musah, Dest, and Kik Pierie are around that 19 age range and are getting hella minutes. Richards* not Robinson. Araujo barely played in 20 wc. Rb is only one player if you have 5 to 6 good options that is depth and deep. Love how you all on this site, try to make an opinion a fact; you all have got to learn the difference.

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