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Walker Zimmerman replaces Tim Ream on USMNT October WCQ roster


Walker Zimmerman has been included in the U.S. men’s national team roster for the upcoming trio of World Cup Qualifiers.

U.S. Soccer announced Friday that Zimmerman has replaced Tim Ream, who withdrew from international duty due to family reasons. It is a like-for-like replacement in Gregg Berhalter’s 27-player roster, with one veteran centerback replacing another.

Zimmerman has made 17 appearances and scored two goals for the USMNT since making his debut in 2017. Winner of the 2020 MLS Defender of the Year Award, the 28-year-old center back has made 18 appearances for Nashville SC this MLS season.

He has registered two goals and one assist to help Gary Smith’s side to  a current second place spot in the Eastern Conference.

The USMNT opens its qualifying schedule on October 7 vs. Jamaica before traveling to Panama on October 10. The three-match window concludes on October 13 vs. Costa Rica in Columbus.


  1. “It is a like-for-like replacement”

    I want whatever you’re smoking!

    Ain’t nothing like for like between these guys. Yeah they both told my guys but that’s about it. Zimmerman is physically more down dream, he is faster than dream, he scores with his head in his much more of a score incorrect and rain… Ream is older and is a better pass.

    • my deal is every team is going to have some marginal choice or two that the coach is paid to make, with fans each side — donovan being a classic example — but those were usually closer calls where the opponents of a decision would have to admit the other player offered something as well. he’s got several where i think he’s the only possible US coach who would make that choice, because the player objectively flat sucks and only has him convinced.

      personally i believe in talent over system and that the idea is get your best players out there then figure out tactically how to maximize them. to me he wants a bunch of square pegs for what he wants to do. every coach has their system but the inefficiencies are usually a single bornstein or olsen. to me this team should be qualifying first with a few games like honduras, we have talent, it’s a down cycle for most of concacaf. that this is even a test reflects the tactics and the fact we’re not just one but several picks shy of ideal.

      but, yeah, far as i am concerned, ream is useless and this should have moved on to zimmermann vs miazga vs sands vs mckenzie vs CCV vs EPB vs Richards, you know, the actual meat of a current debate, not a nostalgia fest or some sort of system driven silliness. and what’s telling is we could have a version of this discussion at a few other positions as well. like there is a list of exciting players, and then there’s his list. that’s not well-coached.

  2. As slick as Ream is on the ball and picking passes, Zimmerman is a much better defender, a dominant athlete, and great on set pieces. This feels like an upgrade.

    • Totally agree…and Zimmerman’s gotten a whole lot better in his distribution out of the back anyhow.

      He’s not the fastest CB…but then, neither is John Brooks. Neither, for that matter, was John Terry.

      Knowing the guy personally how I do – especially his leadership, work ethic, and just overall INTENSITY – because man, the dude is intense and an insane competitor and it’s infectious – it’d be hard for me to leave Walker off the plane. He might give up something on occasion because of his speed but overall he’s just too much of a net bonus to leave off your roster. And that’d be pretty much any roster.

    • Ream wasn’t going to see the field much if any, and I think Zimmerman is in that same category, so I don’t think it matters much who he called in as a replacement!

      • He well might, actually. Dings and red cards happen all the time, especially in CONCACAF, and I feel a whole lot better about him than I do about Ream.

    • the snobs overrate the tangible contribution from “slick” backs. you give up goals on defense and then if you watch the stat lines ream is good for a goal or assist about every 9 caps. it doesn’t net out positively.

      IMO this aesthetic discussion is also rife with insincere subjectivity. when healthy, Long is the most productive creative back by far. but picking for this characteristic seems to favor European based.

      pick players for defense first. then you can tiebreak among pool choices actually competent at their primary job, for secondary things you want. moore, cannon, etc., there are plenty of capable defenders who can also attack. we go about this all backwards.

      forward is the same thing in reverse. sargent should not be beating productive players because of intangibles. forwards are out there to score. defenders are out there to defend. when you fudge that bad things can happen.

  3. Did I read correctly that players in EPL and Championship will be allowed to play in red list countries but vaccinated players will still have to stay in quarantine facilities when they return? They can still train and play with their clubs but won’t be allowed to live at home for 10 days. Unvaccinated will have to completely isolate in quarantine hotel and not train or play. Don’t think this caused Ream to pull out since he wouldn’t have been expected to fly to Panama before this change.

    • as i understand it vaccinated players traveling to red list countries will be released and allowed to return to club practice and games but will have to reside for a period of time after return in some sort of quarantine setup, hotel or something. i don’t think this makes a ton of public health sense — breakthrough infections, interactions with your teammates, etc., but i think UK decided to climb down from what happened last window.

      this was announced 3 days ago and you’d think GB would add to the roster some more but i think he views such roster adjustments as reflecting upon him. stubborn as a mule.

      • GB got lucky last time in that injuries and suspensions forced him to play others than his stars in that last game and the result was a blowout for the USA. Had that NOT happened, the screams for GB’s head would have been deafening. I still have zero faith that GB will do anything that results in us getting to the WC.
        I think Ream may have felt its a long trip to make only to ride the bench and bowed out. Zimmerman will do it but wont play unless its and emergency. Kinda dont want to see Brooks anymore either. I wish GB would learn from what accidently worked for him in the last game and embrace it. Stars are only good if they come to play and give a damn. Will GB learn anything? Nope… too dumb and too stubborn.

      • the nice version of critique is under standard USMNT coaching retention protocol, he won’t get fired unless advancement is at risk, and the pool is probably too good for that to happen. the nasty version is he wants to turn us into a barca xerox without their golden generation players, and we now see barca ain’t much with the system but not the talent. which, if one is paying attention, suggests it’s more a star vehicle for talent than a blueprint someone else can follow. without the stars it’s punchless offense and a soft defense.

        to me the first discussion reflects that we are historically a mediocre worlds team, and thus we do not impose high standards for hiring and firing. not sure how you move up as we aspire to do, without pushing upwards the expectations and the sort of performance that is not tolerated. to me with this talent we should be destroying the region this cycle — most of our competition is in an off period.

        on the second point, the Old Ways, while not pretty, were well-married to the task at hand, and a practical, optimizing response. like, here is what i see as my best chance with these players to win. the New Ways are like some aesthetic goal that we naively hope connects up to success. maybe if we play a way we look better and win more. there is little proof of concept that is true, after 3 years. we don’t have to regress completely into bunkered kickball but i would like to see the tactics tailored to the players on hand — as opposed to wishes about some future type we could develop — and premised on, what formation and style wins me the game today. i think current tactics have nothing to do with current players and dodge accountability by saying, “well, we are trying to change things.” most tactics don’t take years to work. this is not that clever. it’s just not a match.

    • Are you talking adjustments for this cycle or since they slightly relaxed the rules Thursday? By my reading we now have 3 more players than we had before for Panama. Antonee and Zach now could travel and no restrictions for Walker.

      • surely you grasp the idea is show up with your best players and not just making numbers. if i was calling my 4th best option at a position because of a practical concern that no longer exists, you’re right, it’s not yet a numbers issue, but a coach trying to win games might prefer having his 3rd option instead. who i think should really be the second option. to me it’s a tad arrogant to not bring in the people you really wanted when the rules are liberalized in your favor, and to just push through with what is on hand — which rhymes with the complaint last time, one injury swap when we lost several. the insistence on his original choices just radiates control freak. this is who i picked and this is who we are showing up with. media can’t tell me what to do and i am not admitting i would really have called horvath instead given the choice. which is emotional. rational is if i have a weaker player and get access to my stronger one, i call the people to maximize the roster, because it’s what the team deserves, and i don’t worry about my relationship with my 4th best keeper, or how it makes me look. you know what really makes me look best? winning games.

      • just like the whole running conflict over System for 3 years has increasingly become about his image and perseverating about the theory it’s gonna fix everything. klinsi had no problem abandoning old concepts when he thought he had a better fit that gave us a better chance to win. but klinsi, as a world cup winner rather than a system poseur, didn’t have his identity caught up in selling a system as a fix-all. berhalter has shown some awareness of his tactical bind and willingness to temporarily drop it, but IMO he keeps reverting back because “it has to work” and he sees himself as its missionary. there are coaches who can adjust and then there are one-note mourinhos who are selling one way. coaches who are a long term solution eg SAF are usually tactically flexible and bend the direction the roster drives them. he can’t be that because at some point he committed himself to being Barca JV. but a good coach knows tactics are a tool to win games and would follow the roster and what works where it takes him.

        to give him some credit, he does at times bend. to take it right back, the next window we will be reverted. so we don’t learn in any lasting way. ditto personnel eg zardes, yedlin, roldan. over time he learns. then fanboys start touting their form and they are back again. like a bad penny.

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