With European and Mexican teams in the middle of their seasons, Klinsmann filled his 20-man roster for January’s training camp with young, U.S.-based players. All but two play in Major League Soccer, and more than half of the players announced Thursday have two or fewer appearances with the senior national team.
“They are the next in line behind the established players, and this is a chance to prove themselves,” Klinsmann said. “We will spend the next few weeks introducing them to our ideas on how we want to play and what it means to be a part of the national team. Ultimately, it will create more depth for us, which you need at this level.”
MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez got his first call-up, as did the league’s rookie of the year, C.J. Sapong. Gonzalez, who made his U.S. debut against Brazil in August 2010, was a key part of the defense for the MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy, who tied a league record with 17 regular-season shutouts and allowed just 38 goals. Sapong, a forward, led all MLS rookies with five goals and five assists.
“The European-based players and the Mexican-based players aren’t available, so this is their shot,” Klinsmann said. “Their goal has to be to move ahead of the guy in front of him in their position, and the only way they can do that is to show how good they are.”
The camp will be held Jan. 3-26 in the U.S. and Panama. The Americans will play two exhibitions, facing Venezuela on Jan. 21 in Phoenix, and traveling to Panama for a Jan. 25 game.