Jurgen Klinsmann has called 20 players in for the U.S. Men's National Team's January camp. The selections leave many nodding their head in agreement as several players who have been left out will finally get their shot. Barring injury or schedule conflicts, the current group to take on Venezuela and Panama looks like this:
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (DC United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), A.J DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) George John (FC Dallas), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Richardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution) Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Of the 20 players called in, 18 are from Major League Soccer. Notable inclusions include Omar Gonzalez, Geoff Cameron and Michael Parkhurst, who has long been overlooked on the national team. Cameron and Gonzalez have each had an impressive year in MLS and many were wondering why Klinsmann had neglected to select them in the previous friendlies. Now though, each is getting their chance to impress.
The group will train at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California to prepare for matches against Venezuala on January 21st and Panama on January 25th.
"We have an internal ranking of players in each position based on how we want to play and many of these players are next in line," said Klinsmann on U.S. Soccer's website. "The European based plaers and the Mexican based players aren't available so this is their shot."
Some may appreciate Klinsmann's candid nature while others might be put off with it. On the plus side, players know where they stand. It's good to see that players like CJ Sapong and Graham Zusi are getting a crack at the team, though there is surprise in seeing Feilhaber listed on the roster. Here's hoping Benny Feilhabers mediocre season with the Revolution had more to do with a poor surrounding cast than his own form. Feilhaber is a player with fantastic potential and having it realized would be a fantastic step forward for both club and country.