MIAMI -- This past Sunday, US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann touted what he calls an “open-door policy,” in a Q&A released by US Soccer. And that element of potential surprise is certainly evident in the 23-man roster he announced for the team’s pair of upcoming friendies, vs. Cuba on Friday (4 pm ET, ESPN2, UniMás) and vs. New Zealand on Oct. 11 (8 pm ET, UniMás).
No position seems more up-for-grabs for opportunity than goalkeeper. Klinsmann declined to call up stalwarts like Tim Howard and Brad Guzan this time around. Instead, in a relatively rare opportunity for ’keepers, he named a trio of younger faces: FK Molde’s Ethan Horvath, Leon’s William Yarbrough, and the San Jose Earthquakes’ David Bingham. And as he warmed up to hit the training pitch at USMNT camp at Miami’s Barry University on Monday, the latter said he knew he was battling for a closer look.
“It’s definitely a reward,” Bingham said of his call-up, noting his performance in the national team’s January camp. “You’ve [also] gotta keep playing well with your club team, and I’m definitely doing that.”
It’s at the Quakes, specifically, that Bingham says he’s been trying to improve his skills to raise his international profile.
“I think it’s more the small aspects that people don’t really notice that I’ve improved on the most,” he said. “We all make mistakes; I make mistakes every day. But [it’s about] learning from those and trying not to duplicate those the following week.”
In particular, he said he’s aimed specifically to improve his decision-making. “It’s the biggest thing for goalies. It’s something that sets the national team goalies apart,” he said. “You have to make mistakes to improve. You’ve gotta test your boundaries, and I do that a lot. You learn what you can do and what you can’t do, and kind of grow from it.”
As far as bagging that number-one ’keeper slot on the squad, with legends like Howard in fine form, it seems like a long shot, even with Klinsmann's open door policy.
But Bingham’s still ready to stake his claim. “I think there’s always a possibility,” he said. “There’s three goalies here -- so obviously we’re here for a reason, and it’s up to us to take the chance that we’re given.”