Gonzalez, Zusi among new faces called to USMNT
Jurgen Klinsmann is on the verge of his first January camp as head coach of the US national team, and he’s sticking to the script.
The annual camp has become a proving ground for up-and-coming international hopefuls, and Klinsmann has included several new names in his roster of 20 players, including LA Galaxy centerbacks Omar Gonzalez (pictured above) and A.J. DeLaGarza, and uncapped Sporting KC players Graham Zusi and CJ Sapong.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing all these guys," Klinsmann told USSoccer.com. "I’ve heard a lot of things from their club coaches and received a lot of recommendations. These guys are leaders in their MLS teams, and now they have the chance to show themselves on another level.”
The camp will begin on January 3 in Phoenix, Ariz., then move to the Home Depot Center from January 13-20. The USMNT will host Venezuela in Phoenix on January 21 (GET TICKETS) and then travel to Panama for a friendly on January 25 in Panama City.
Fans and pundits have long clamored for Gonzalez, who was voted Defender of the Year in MLS, to be called by Klinsmann. The same calls have gone up to bring in Houston centerback Geoff Cameron (pictured right) and FC Dallas centerback George John, who will both likewise be making their first appearances at a USMNT camp since Klinsmann took over last summer. Interestingly, New York's Tim Ream, who was with the US team several times this fall, was left off the roster.
Gonzalez, Cameron, and John are among the 10 players on the roster who have two or fewer caps for the national team. Five players are uncapped, including John, DeLaGarza, Sapong, Zusi, and D.C. United 'keeper Bill Hamid.
These newbies will be joined by a handful of veterans making returns to the national team after long absences. Eintracht Frankfurt's Ricardo Clark and New England's Benny Feilhaber, both members of the 2010 World Cup team, are back for the first time in more than a year, and veteran Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce is in for his first Klinsmann camp.
Among the recent stalwarts under Klinsmann are Dallas attacker Brek Shea, fresh from his training stint with Arsenal, and New York's Juan Agudelo, who has just completed a training stint with Liverpool.
"This is a very important opportunity for these players," Klinsmann said. "They are the next in line behind the established players, and this is a chance to prove themselves. We will spend the next few weeks introducing them to our ideas on how we want to play and what it means to be a part of the national team. Ultimately, it will create more depth for us, which you need at this level. I'm very curious and excited to see this group."
GOALKEEPERS: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), George John (FC Dallas), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Stay with MLSsoccer.com for complete coverage of the US national team January camp and the friendlies with Venezuela and Panama