New US national team head coach Bruce Arena will rely on MLS for far more than the team’s upcoming January camp in Southern California.
Speaking in a live Facebook Q&A with fans on Friday, Arena said that “two-thirds” of the USMNT player pool comes from MLS.
“Probably two-thirds of the pool is comprised of players from Major League Soccer,” he said. “So this camp's going to be very important. US Soccer has anywhere [from], by anyone's count, 10 to 20 players that are outside the US, and by that I refer to players in England, Germany, Scotland and Mexico. Therefore, we are going to depend on a lot of players from Major League Soccer. The January camp is...going to answer some question marks we have.”
According to Arena, those question marks include the outside back positions, a No. 10 and a box-to-box center mid, all positions he’ll look closely at during the January camp.
Arena also weighed in on the enduring debate of whether playing in MLS or in Europe is better for USMNT players, with the former LA Galaxy manager saying that the league doesn’t matter as much as a player getting regular playing time.
“I want to encourage our players to play in the best environment possible to develop them, whether that's Major League Soccer or a club abroad,” he said. “For me, it makes no sense if a player is playing on a reputable club abroad and doesn't get on the field. So we have to find the right balance when recommending clubs for our players to sign with.”