KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Benny Feilhaber has finally joined his new club – even if he has to wait until the end of the week to get on the training pitch with his teammates.
The midfielder, acquired by Sporting Kansas City in an offseason trade with New England, is coming off his first US national team duty in a year. He will take part in strength and conditioning work this week and travel with Sporting to Orlando, Fla., on Thursday.
“It's exciting to meet all of the guys I haven't met,” Feilhaber told reporters after Monday's weight session, “and the guys I know already, it's good to see again.”
While Feilhaber expects to have a little catching up to do after his USMNT duty, he doesn't expect that to take too long.
“Preseason is a lot about fitness, and I think I got a lot of fitness in the national team camp,” he said. “So now it's more about soccer and getting used to the style of play. I know this style's going to be different from what I was used to in New England, but I think there are some similarities to the national team. So the three-and-a-half weeks I was in camp there will hopefully help me.”
Feilhaber was one of three Sporting Kansas City players called into US head coach coach Jurgen Klinsmann's January camp. But while winger Graham Zusi and defender Matt Besler were kept on for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier in Honduras, Feilhaber was released to join his club.
“You always hope for the best, but I don't think anyone can always expect to be called in for national team games,” said Feilhaber, who came on as a second-half sub in last week's scoreless draw with Canada. “It's a privileged few that get the honor of being able to play for the United States in qualifying for the World Cup.”
Feilhaber was just glad for the opportunity from Klinsmann after his one-goal 2012 season with the Revs.
“To be completely honest, because of how I played last year, the fact that I didn't play my best soccer, I really wasn't expecting a call-up to the January camp,” he said. “So it was quite a pleasant surprise, and just another opportunity for me to show Jurgen what I can do.
"I thought I had a pretty good camp, but unfortunately, we didn't beat Canada. The most important thing now is to be a consistent player week in and week out with Kansas City.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.