UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream has consistently been a part of US national team camps since earning his first cap in a 1-0 win over South Africa in November, and that doesn't look like it's about to change with a new coach in charge.
Ream was named to the national team for next week’s friendly against Mexico in Philadelphia on Thursday, giving the youngster his first chance to impress new US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
The young center back has spoken only briefly with his new coach but looks forward to getting a better feel for Klinsmann next week.
“It is an exciting time, especially considering the change in direction," Ream said. "Personally, I am looking forward to meeting him, learning from him, and working with the entire coaching staff—whoever that may be. I’m glad, happy, and honored to be called in to the first camp [Klinsmann] is involved in.”
Klinsmann was the head coach of Germany for their run to the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup, and the former star striker for Die Mannschaft is promising a new direction for the United States. For a player such as Ream, known for his distribution and poise on the ball along the backline, Klinsmann’s philosophy could be a chance to shine for the national team.
“I think Jurgen’s going to bring a different approach. I think it will be good for some guys,” Ream said. “The German team he coached liked to keep the ball — keep possession all over the field.”
Klinsmann boasts World Cup experience and has played in the English Premier League, Italy's Serie A and the Bundesliga of his native Germany. That kind of résumé has Ream eager to pick Klinsmann's brain.
“He’s played at the highest level, so he knows [what he’s talking about]," Ream said. "I don’t know if he’s a player’s coach per se, [but] that’s something that is going to benefit the players."
Ream admitted there’s much at stake both personally and for the US team when they face off against Mexico in the rivals’ first meeting since El Tri beat the Americans in the Gold Cup final in June.
“There is definitely still a sour feeling after being up 2-0 against them in the Gold Cup final," Ream said. "Being able to go up against them again so quickly after a tough loss, I think there is a lot more motivation. Personally I want to get out there, take it to them, and get revenge on them.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer