After declining a call-up to the US national team in September, FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd hoped another opportunity would come. Just four months later, the 24-year-old has once again been invited to join the team – and this time, he’s healthy and rested.
Loyd was called in by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the team’s January camp and two friendlies against Venezuela (Jan. 21) and Panama (Jan. 25). Teammates Brek Shea and George John also got the nod.
“I am just really excited,” Loyd told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “It’s always an honor to get called into camp and to be a part of the US men’s national team.”
Though not a rookie with the senior team, Loyd has had few opportunities to impress Klinsmann. His first and only cap with the team came in January of 2010 under former head coach Bob Bradley, a game in which he earned man-of-the-match honors in a 1-1 draw with Chile. He made Klinsmann’s roster for the Aug. 10 friendly vs. Mexico, but did not play.
The former Tar Heel was called in for a pair of friendlies in September, but was nursing a right hamstring strain that left him unable to attend.
“It was frustrating because of the injury, but I made that decision talking to FC Dallas,” Loyd said. “It was probably the best decision because I didn’t want to go into a camp at less than 100 percent and not be able to show Klinsmann what I can do.”
After making the decision to forego the opportunity, Klinsmann reached out to Loyd by phone to reassure the defender that his chance would come again under the right circumstances.
“I just knew that if the team was successful and did well then I would have a good chance of getting called back in,” said Loyd. “I’m just glad the team had a pretty successful season and Jurgen noticed and gave me another opportunity to come in and play.”
The camp, which runs from Jan. 3-26, was described by Klinsmann as an opportunity for many less established players to prove themselves and learn the team’s system and ideas. But Loyd, having witnessed the transformation under the new coaching staff, thinks his talents fit in well with the squad.
“At Dallas, we kind of play that attacking style out of our right and left backs, so that has prepared me fairly well to get up and down the field when I see my opportunities to get forward,” said Loyd. “I think I could fit in the system, but I haven’t been there long enough to really know exactly how Jurgen’s system works.”