CARSON, Calif. – Mike Magee's MVP campaign opened the door to a US national team call-up, his first since ... well, let's ask him.
“I can't even remember,” the Chicago Fire forward said this week as the Yanks began a monthlong camp at StubHub Center, the first step this year toward the World Cup. “Which tells you enough.”
It was actually 2005 under former US boss Bruce Arena, and Magee didn't see action, so he remains uncapped. His performances the past few years for the LA Galaxy, especially in the playoffs, might have gained him some international traction, but it took a splendid 2013 campaign in LA and Chicago, with 21 goals and that Most Valuable Player trophy, to get here.
That and perhaps some kind words from Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, who declared that Magee belonged on the US team – and if the Yanks didn't want him, Ireland would take him.
“Robbie Keane lobbying for you helps, especially in Chicago,” Magee said. “There's a lot of Irish people and they respect what he says. ... I doubt [the US were afraid I'd commit to Ireland], but that didn't hurt.”
Now it's up to the former US youth national-teamer to show he deserves consideration for one of the 23 roster spots when the World Cup kicks off in Brazil in five months. He should have ample time to do so in January, with two weeks' work in São Paulo before the USMNT return to Southern California for the Feb. 1 friendly against South Korea.
“This is my first camp [with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann], so he's only seen so much of me,” Magee said. “The more time I could play around him and show him what I'm all about, the better chances I have. ... We're all fighting for spots. In the back of everyone's mind, you're trying to make that roster.”
Klinsmann says he's “excited” to see what Magee can do.
“He did really, really well the last season or last two or three seasons, that's why he deserves to be here,” the coach told reporters earlier this week. “And for us, it's an opportunity to see him day in and day out perform with us, with some players that are established already in the senior group here. We're very curious to see [him].”
Magee was just 21 and the veteran of three season with the MetroStars when Arena called him into camp in January 2005, and he was forced to withdraw because of injury. It's taken nine years to get another shot, and he's a different, more mature, more capable player.
“I think when you're young, you feel like it's just a normal thing, and you might take [a call-up] for granted,” Magee said. “How many ever years later it is, it's definitely something I won't make that mistake again.
“[This is a] continuation [for me]. I feel like the last three or four years, I've established a lot of good habits and am just trying to get better every day.”