Quakes' fullback pair remain inseparable at USMNT camp

Split shot of San Jose's Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com

CARSON, Calif. – They don’t quite finish each others' sentences, but Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow are seemingly inseparable at US national team camp.

“He’s my P.I.C.,” Beitashour told MLSsoccer.com with a laugh following a recent training session. “Partner in crime.”

Together, the 25-year-old fullbacks have experienced success for the San Jose Earthquakes and are coming off their best professional seasons. They both started in the 2012 MLS All-Star Game against Chelsea and, now, look to continue their rise on the national scene.

Beitashour was named to US camp last August ahead of the important friendly against Mexico at Estadio Azteca, but he’s still searching for his first cap. This is Morrow’s first ever call-up and, though the defenders are relatively inexperienced, their growing friendship has only grown stronger.

READ: Klinsmann: Mexico no guarantee to make the World Cup either

“It’s been incredible to have a familiar face around,” Morrow told MLSsoccer.com. “Whether that’s at the All-Star Game, which we were lucky enough to be a part of, and now this as well. It’s been great just having a familiar face around, having someone to talk to.”

Said Beitashour: “It’s been fun, to say the least, when you have someone here you’re close to. Sometimes the scene is a little bigger than you imagined and, when you have a friend to be there with you, it’s just a lot easier. It makes it fun.”

Beitashour made a career-high 33 starts and had six assists this past season, while Morrow also posted career bests with a goal, four assists and 33 starts in helping the Earthquakes to the Supporters' Shield.

It was a quick turnaround from the holidays to arriving at the Home Depot Center, but the pair had San Jose teammate and three-time camp call-up Chris Wondolowski to pepper with questions. Maintaining high focus in a grueling environment was Wondolowski’s main bullet point, Morrow said.

And if what USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had to say is any indication, Beitashour and Morrow have taken Wondolowski’s advice to heart.

“Like all of the other guys, [they’ve shown] tremendous commitment, a great attitude, very hungry and very eager to be a part of this group,” Klinsmann told reporters this past week. “When you see them in the morning and they say good morning, you see that they’re ready for the day and they can’t wait to get out on the field. You sense their inner drive. Their commitment is excellent and their qualities are as well. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be here.”

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To improve, Beitashour and Morrow counsel each other with constructive tips and adjustments. They both admit they play similarly but have different parts to their games.

“We both teach each other a lot,” Morrow said. “Whether it’s defending or attacking, I can always look at him and say, ‘I like that about his game.’ And then I’ll take a part of that and try to put it into mine.”

Beitashour, a second-round selection (No. 30 overall) in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft out of San Diego State, is hopeful that his style of play fits what Klinsmann is looking for.

“I see myself as an attacking back and I know coach Jurgen is an attacking-minded coach, so I hope he likes my style and the way I play,” Beitashour said. “I defend first and make sure we keep the clean sheet in the back, but I love attacking.”

Together, the duo has ascended in the ranks rather quickly, but Morrow, who went just two picks ahead of Beitashour in the 2010 draft, is optimistic that it’s only the beginning.

“It’s everyone’s dream and it’s such an honor to be here in the first place,” Morrow said. “I hope this is just our springboard to a good career with the national team.”