Klinsmann names 28-man roster for January Camp

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s January gathering is traditionally called “Camp Cupcake” for its propensity to call up young, unproven players and allowing them a taste of the international game.

This year is no different.

U.S. veterans Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler and Jermaine Jones are paired with 18 other MLS players and several youngsters for the camp.  Nick Rimando is the veteran presence amongst goalkeepers, which includes Syracuse keeper and Generation Adidas standout, Alex Bono.  After a standout season with DC United, Steve Birnbaum gets the nod along with Vancouvers Christian Dean, Colorado’s Shane O’Neill, LA’s Oscar Sorto, Tesho Akindele of FC Dallas and Gyasi Zardes.

NASL is once again represented by Miguel Ibarra.  Liga MX, meanwhile, has Club Leon’s Dennis Flores representing their competition.  Free agent Mix Diskerud is once again in the pool as is 1860 Munich scorer, Bobby Wood.

Camp begins on January 12th, going through February 8th. After 12 days in California, the team will head to Santiago (Jan. 25-29) in preparation for their first friendly of the season against Chile on Jan. 28. They then return to LA with a focus on Panama on Feb. 8 in Carson (4 pm ET, ESPN, UniMas and UDN).

Here is the roster breakdown, along with roster notes.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Alex Bono (unattached), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (out of contract), Dennis Flores (Club Leon), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (6): Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julio Morales (Tepic), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

ROSTER NOTES (Provided by U.S. Soccer)

  • Seven players on the camp were members of the 2014 FIFA World Cup roster that traveled to Brazil and helped the USA advance out of the “Group of Death”: Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Nick Rimando and Chris Wondolowski.
  • Dempsey, Bradley and Jones were the only three that started in all four matches for the USA during the World Cup.
  • Dempsey became the first U.S. player to score in three World Cups after scoring seconds into the USA’s opening game versus Ghana on June 16. Dempsey’s goal became the fifth-fastest in World Cup history.
  • Jones scored his first World Cup goal and fourth with the U.S. MNT against Portugal on June 22, an equalizer in the 64th minute from well outside the box after he picked up a loose ball from a U.S. corner kick
  • Fourteen players enter camp having previously been capped. After Dempsey (110 caps/39 goals), Bradley is the most experienced member of the camp with 91 career caps and 12 goals. Conversely, 14 players will be looking to earn their first cap for the Senior Team.
  • Rimando, who will be participating in his seventh January camp, was born June 17, 1979. He is exactly 15 years older than midfielder Marc Pelosi (born June 17, 1994) who will be appearing in his first camp with the Senior Team.
  • Thirteen players have ties to the Development Academy: Steve Birnbaum (Pateadores), Bono (Empire Revolution), Dean (De Anza Force), Flores (Arsenal FC), Gil (Pateadores), Kempin (Sporting KC), O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Pelosi (De Anza Force), Serna (Colorado Rapids), Sorto (LA Galaxy), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Bobby Wood (Strikers FC) and Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy). Bono received 2011-12 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Eastern Conference Starting XI honors.
  • Twenty two of the 28 players on the camp roster represent 15 different Major League Soccer teams, with no team having more than two members each.
  • Miguel Ibarra, who earned his first cap for the U.S. team in 2014, is the reigning MVP of the NASL.
  • Christian Dean, Dennis Flores, Dillon Serna and Oscar Sorto were all members of the Under-23 Men’s National Team that most recently held a camp in October in Brasilia. The group has been preparing for qualification for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Sorto, along with Luis Gil, Shane O’Neill and Wil Trapp, were all part of the roster that traveled to Turkey to represent the USA in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The U-20 MNT was unable to advance out of the Group Stage, but it did play eventual tournament champion France to a 1-1 draw. During the tournament in Turkey, Gil scored against Spain and O’Neill against Ghana. Gil started all three matches of the tournament while O’Neil started the final two.
  • Alex Bono, Dean, Flores, Gil, Jon Kempin, Julio Morales, O’Neill, Marc Pelosi, Serna, Sorto, and Trapp would all be age-eligible to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.
  • Tesho Akindele, the 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year, Morales and Gyasi Zardes will be making their first camp appearance for the USA.  None of them have ever appeared for a U.S. National Team.
  • After a terrific 2014 MLS season, midfielder Lee Nguyen was named to the MLS Best XI and was a finalist for the MLS MVP award. He returned to the U.S. MNT on Nov. 14 during a friendly against Colombia at Craven Cottage in London when he replaced Diskerud in the 78th minute. It marked his first appearance since 2007 and his fourth cap overall.
  • Eight players were also in attendance at last year’s January camp: Besler, Diskerud, Brad Evans, Gil, Sean Johnson, O’Neill, Rimando and Wondolowski.
  • The camp will mark the third-straight January camp call-up for Besler, and second-straight for Gil and O’Neill.
  • Nineteen of the 28 players on the camp roster were born in the 1990s, including three in 1990, two in 1991, three in 1992, seven in 1993 and four in 1994.