CARSON, Calif – Just one day at a time.
That’s how far LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe is allowing himself to look into the future after being called into US national team camp for the first time on Saturday.
He replaces the Seattle Sounders’ Stefan Frei, who left January camp to rejoin his club team after suffering a right ankle sprain. Frei isn’t expected to be out long. Another goalkeeper, D.C. United’s Bill Hamid, left the USMNT earlier last week due to a knee injury.
For Rowe, who started his Major League Soccer career as a pool goalkeeper before working his way to the starting spot for the Galaxy, USMNT camp isn’t too different from what he’s used to. He worked under US head coach Bruce Arena and his staff for five years with LA, and with teammates Gyasi Zardes and Sebastian Lletget in camp with him, his club is the best represented of any MLS squad.
“It’s nice coming in and seeing some familiar faces,” said Rowe after practice on Saturday. “They’ve been helping me get the lay of the land so I know what to expect.
“Of course you have some pride, and it shows well in what the Galaxy have been doing.”
Earlier in the week Arena mentioned that the goalkeeper race is possibly more open than it’s ever been with seven different keepers under consideration going into a pair of crucial World Cup qualifiers in March. While there is that excitement at the opportunity, Rowe isn’t getting ahead of himself when it comes to greater possibilities.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time right now,” said Rowe. “Just trying to put in the same work that I have been doing and go from there.”
Rowe had a breakout year in 2016, playing in 31 of the Galaxy’s 34 regular season games after spending four years as a backup keeper. His nine shutouts and 113 saves put Rowe statistically on the level of the league’s best goalkeepers in 2016.
The call into camp was unexpected, but the level-headed Rowe doesn’t appear overwhelmed. Perhaps it can be chalked up to the familiarity of the StubHub Center surroundings, but wearing the US soccer crest for the first time isn’t weighing too heavily on the young 'keeper.
“It’s the same,” said Rowe. “It’s a little bit of a surprise coming back, just kind of jumping back into it when these guys have had five or six trainings so far.
“I’m jumping in a little late, but just trying to come in and do what I’ve been trying to do.”