Jurgen Klinsmann announced on Thursday that he will stretch the race for World Cup roster spots down to the last possible moment by calling the US national team's entire 30-player preliminary roster into his training camp later this month at Stanford University.
Faced with the arguably the deepest USMNT player pool in history, Klinsmann and his staff can only take 23 players to Brazil next month, so he's using the squad's pre-departure training camp to help him decide who will earn the final spots on the plane to São Paulo rather than leaving his likely alternates at home.
“We definitely will go with 30 players,” he said in a video interview released by US Soccer, “because of the situation that the timing is still complicated. Some come back from injuries, some we need still to see and evaluate in the camp then itself, so we decided to take advantage of this whole 30-man roster.
“It makes it a little bit more tricky with the training sessions, but we prepared them already, so we have good, quality work prepared for them.”
Klinsmann left little doubt that he faces some knotty decisions with his final picks, so he's holding out the opportunity to witness his players' up-to-the-moment status with his own eyes.
“For us coaches, it's really, really important to see every one of them, in every training session, in scrimmages, and over the stretch of two and a half weeks, to be sure that we really have the right 23 going to Brazil,” he said, calling this summer's showcase “the biggest tournament ever to be played.”
“In soccer it's a lot about momentum, it's a lot about timing,” he added. “And the players know that, so we are obviously very, very curious to see their performances in camp. But that way we make sure we cover all our bases, as they say, and then have a good feeling about the 23.”
The USMNT boss, himself a three-time World Cup participant with West Germany and Germany, predicted an intense fortnight in Northern California with invitees eager to make the best possible final impression.
“We expect the players coming in in a good mood and with lots of energy – and also with a lot of confidence, to prove that they deserve to go to Brazil,” said Klinsmann. “So it's going to be a very competitive camp.
"A preparation camp is always about a lot of work, that's just normal, but if you approach it with the right attitude and you embrace it and say, 'Let's get going, let's get started,' then it's going to be a lot of fun as well.”