CARSON, Calif. – Jonathan Bornstein has come a long way on the international soccer scene.
A little over three-and-a-half years ago, he was an uncapped and untested left defender getting his first invitation to train with Bob Bradley and the United States national team. He was young and quick, but nobody knew if the success he found during his first year in MLS would translate to the international game.
Fast-forward to today, and Bornstein is a World Cup veteran with 35 caps for the national team. He has appeared in the Gold Cup, the Copa América and the Confederations Cup. He has even scored two goals, including the now famous 95th-minute header against Costa Rica to put the US atop the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
In short, the kid has become a veteran – and it’s a role that he’s very eager to play.
[inline_node:312584]“Hopefully, I can transition into that veteran role,” Bornstein told MLSsoccer.com after a Chivas USA training session Tuesday. “I can be part of that group of guys that have been around for a while. The more you play on the national team, the more you have to share your knowledge with the guys who haven’t been there.”
With a new World Cup cycle just underway, Bornstein is excited about a fresh crop of American talent on the team and excited about the role he’ll play in their development.
“The more players that you have coming up every year and proving themselves on a high level, it’s better for the team in terms of competition and in terms of finding the right chemistry among the group,” he said.
“I’m excited about the new guys. It’s great that they get a chance. Hopefully they’re able to carry over their successes from MLS or other leagues to the camp.”
Bornstein was left off the national team roster that will compete in friendly matches against Poland this Saturday and Colombia next Tuesday. He’s been battling a minor hip injury for the previous few weeks, so the snub came as no surprise.
“I really didn’t expect to be on the national-team roster,” he admitted. “I hadn’t played. I don’t think I was in shape enough to be playing. Some of the other guys have been healthy and have been playing well, and I think they deserve to get the call-up.”
But while he understands his absence on the October roster, Bornstein has no intention of missing out on the team’s trip to South Africa for a friendly in November.
“I obviously want to be there and I’m competing with those guys directly for a spot,” he said. “For me, it’s motivation. If anything, the newer guys push me a little harder to play well and get back on that roster list.”