HOUSTON – Geoff Cameron is on the move again.
No, not physically – the former Houston Dynamo star can finally take a long-awaited summer vacation after a grueling English Premier League season and a long stint with the US national team.
But is he a defender or a midfielder? The same old question that faced the Attleboro, Mass., native during much of his five-year stint with the Dynamo has come to the forefront at the international level.
After a similar experience with Stoke City in the EPL this past season, Cameron may have fallen out of his supposed role as one-half of the center back pair of the future for USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Circumstances have him back to his wandering ways and looking to find a spot on the field wherever he can contribute.
“It was definitely difficult,” Cameron told MLSsoccer.com this past weekend while here to watch his old MLS teammates. “I was one of his consistent guys playing center back, but Omar [Gonzalez] and Matt [Besler] have been playing together at center back where I’m playing right back, central mid or right mid … so I understand why [Klinsmann’s] using them.
“I think my two best positions are center back and center mid and I want to be on the pitch for either of them, but it doesn’t matter. I just want to be in the starting XI.”
Cameron entered the latest stint with the US expected to start at right back while Besler and Gonzalez manned the middle. But a rough team outing against Belgium and a big performance at right back from Brad Evans left him on the outside of the starting XI in which, not even three weeks earlier, he was seemingly a fixture.
But fortune turned in his favor against Panama on June 11, and the utility man showed once again that his skills can translate everywhere while putting in one of his best performances in the red, white and blue playing next to Michael Bradley in the center of the park.
“I think Michael Bradley and I had a pretty good understanding,” Cameron said. “I said, ‘Hey, I’m going to sit in the hole behind you. You do your thing.’ He wants the touches on the ball so he can have that.”
The pair’s play drew rave reviews as they both notched assists on the game and introduced a debate on whether the Bradley-Cameron combination should supplant the latter’s pairing with German-American Jermaine Jones, which was reunited a week later vs. Honduras with Cameron taking a seat.
Cameron’s play helped the US to three straight wins in World Cup qualifying that put them on the doorstep of qualification for Brazil 2014, which is Cameron’s ultimate goal. After the long year, he’s confident that he’s firmly in the mix for the USMNT and his versatility will ensure that.
“You have a deep group of guys playing together and they’re developing an understanding of playing with each other. That helps in the games,” Cameron said. “We’re sitting on top of the table and probably one more win away from qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil and that’s something special.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.