U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named an initial squad of 16 players that will begin reporting today to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The group consists largely of foreign-based players who have completed their seasons and are ready to prepare for the series of matches that culminates in the start of FIFA World Cup qualifying on June 8 against Antigua & Barbuda in Tampa, Fla.
As many as 13 additions will be announced May 20 and will be a mixture of domestic and foreign-based players to round out the training camp. The team will train in Orlando until May 25, when Klinsmann will select a final 23-man roster for the upcoming five matches. The group then departs for Jacksonville, Fla., in preparation for the match on May 26 against Scotland (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, Galavision). The team will host a public training session May 25 at EverBank Field.
“All the players coming now for this very special four-week period represent our core,” said Klinsmann. “It’s a clear signal to other players that right now it’s down to business. We’re playing World Cup qualifiers. It’s not about experimenting or seeing different players, it’s about who we think are the best. We are excited to start with this first group of players, and then welcome more at the beginning of next week. It’s the first time we will have our best players together for a longer stretch of time, so we have a chance to work very hard and go out and get results.” [More Quotes]
The nearly month-long series of training and games has been designed to mimic the circumstances the team will face in a tournament format, with meticulous planning dedicated to technical aspects, travel, nutrition, logistics and the rhythm of team movement to create a performance-driven environment.
INITIAL U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION - Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (4): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS (1): Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
May 15: Beckerman, Castillo, Cherundolo, Corona, Guzan, Johnson, Jones, Torres, Williams
May 16: Guzan, Morales
May 18: Bradley, Bocanegra, Dempsey, Edu, Howard
INITIAL ROSTER NOTES
- Clint Dempsey is coming off a record-setting season for a U.S. international in England, recording his 50th career English Premier League goal while setting a single-season mark for league goals scored (17) and goals in all competitions (23). He also tallied the USA’s lone goal in the 1-0 win against Italy on Feb. 29 in Genoa.
- U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra begins his second century of caps after collecting his 100th in the 3-2 win against Slovenia on Nov. 15, 2011, in Ljubljana, Bocanegra finished the season in Scotland wearing the captain’s armband for Rangers.
- Jermaine Jones helped Schalke 04 to a third-place finish in the Bundesliga and a spot in next year’s UEFA Champions League.
- Michael Bradley played in a career-high 34 league games in his first season at Chievo Verona in Italy’s Serie A, the Flying Donkeys finishing in 10th in the league table.
- Tim Howard sits in second place all-time for victories among U.S. goalkeepers, and tied for third in shutouts.
- Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando are the only MLS players reporting early, as Real Salt Lake have no games scheduled this week. The other MLS players selected will report after the weekend’s league matches.
- The Hoffenheim duo of Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams continue a regular run with the National Team after finishing in 11th place in the Bundesliga. Williams will be evaluated after injuring his shoulder last month.
- Jose Torres returns to the U.S. fold for the first time since last September, missing all of the subsequent camps due to injury.
- Joe Corona is the only player making his first appearance on the MNT roster. The midfielder and Development Academy product scored four goals for the U-23 MNT in the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.
- Bocanegra and Maurice Edu play for Scottish Premier League side Rangers alongside Scotland defenders Lee Wallace and Steven Whittaker and goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
The U.S. has collected four consecutive victories, including three straight shutout wins highlighted by the 1-0 triumph against four-time World Cup champion Italy. A total of 42 players have earned at least one cap since Klinsmann took the helm last July, and he and the coaching have now refined the player pool in advance of this summer’s crucial activities.
The team has lined up a series of friendlies in preparation for the start of World Cup qualifying. Following the match against Scotland, the U.S. continues its competition against the world’s top teams when it hosts five-time World Cup champions Brazil on Wednesday, May 30 in Landover, Md. Kickoff for the USA’s first-ever match at FedExField is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and TeleFutura.
For the last game before the start of World Cup qualifying, the United States will make a rare visit to Canada when it renews the rivalry June 3 at BMO Field in Toronto. Kickoff for the USA’s first match on Canadian soil since 1997 is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and Univision Deportes Network.
The United States will kick off the effort to qualify for its seventh-consecutive FIFA World Cup when it hosts Antigua & Barbuda on June 8 at Raymond James Stadium. The Semifinal Round opener begins at 7 p.m. ET live on ESPN, ESPN3 and Galavision. Four days later, the U.S. plays its first road match in group play this cycle when it visits Guatemala.