This article was originally published on USSoccer.com.
CHICAGO (Dec. 30, 2018) – Taking advantage of the opportunity presented by the annual January Camp, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has called 25 players to participate in a nearly month-long training stint. The USMNT will train and play closed-door scrimmages from Jan. 5-25 at the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar, before returning to Los Angeles to face Concacaf rival Costa Rica on Feb. 1 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
The match will serve as an important preparation opportunity for the rest of the year as the USMNT will compete in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal in June and the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which kicks off in September.
“At the start of an exciting year, this is a great opportunity to continue our process and build on the foundation established in the last 12 months,” Berhalter said. “At the same, there are a number of players getting their first exposure to the senior national team who will be provided the platform to make a positive impression. We appreciate all the support and cooperation from MLS and the clubs that released their players and gave us a chance to get a head start on the challenges ahead.”
USA DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS):
GOALKEEPERS (4): Bill Hamid (D.C. United; 6/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 10/0), Chase Gasper (Minnesota United FC; 0/0), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 16/3), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 11/2)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; 0/0), Christian Cappis (Hobro/DEN; 0/0), Bryang Kayo (Unattached; 0/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 13/2), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas; 1/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 19/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 6/0)
FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 32/5), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas; 0/0), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; 5/0), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg/GER; 0/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 39/10), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 55/12)
With the dates falling outside of the designated international calendar for national team competitions, the January Camp typically consists largely of MLS-based players who are not in season and this edition is no exception. A total of 22 on the roster ply their traded domestically, with fourteen MLS clubs represented. FC Dallas leads the list with three contributions.
Two players hail from clubs abroad, with Wolfsburg U-19 forward Ulysses Llanez joining midfielder Christian Cappis of Danish SuperLiga side Hobro on the roster. In total, there are 12 uncapped players and six earning invites to their first senior team camp. Having just represented the USA at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup, unattached midfielder Bryang Kayo also joins the squad.
NATIONS LEAGUE KNOCKOUT AROUND AND WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ON THE HORIZON
The January Camp, along with the friendlies against Costa Rica and away to the Netherlands in March, are the prelude to the important official competitions for the USMNT in 2020. Having won its group, the United States advanced to the final four of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League where it will face Honduras in a semifinal in the first week in June. The winner moves on to the championship match three days later against the victor of Mexico-Costa Rica.
From there, the road to Qatar begins with the start of the “Hex”, a six-team group that will be play a round-robin format to determine the three automatic entrants from the region for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The participants in the Hex will be determined by the June edition of the FIFA rankings, and the first six matches will be played on double-dates during the windows in September, October and November.
FIRST LOOK AT QATAR
With the confidence and anticipation of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the USMNT will take a first opportunity to experience the football facilities, customs, weather, and other logistical and performance considerations in the host nation. Utilizing similar opportunities prior to the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil proved extremely beneficial in the team’s planning and preparations for those tournaments.
- When camp opens in Qatar on Jan. 5, the roster will have an average age of 23 years, 83 days and eight caps.
- Twelve players are uncapped, while a total of 18 hold eight or less senior-team appearances.
- On the flip side, Gyasi Zardes (55), Jordan Morris (39), Paul Arriola (32), Cristian Roldan (19) and Aaron Long (16) are the most-capped players on the squad.
- Fourteen players are age-eligible for participation in the 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship in March.
- Additionally, fourteen MLS clubs are represented on the January Camp roster, with FC Dallas leading the list with three selections.
- Two players hail from clubs abroad, with Wolfsburg U-19 forward Ulysses Llanez joining midfielder Christian Cappis of Danish SuperLiga side Hobro on the roster.
- Having represented the USA at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup, unattached midfielder Bryang Kayo also joins the squad.
- Six players have earned invites to their first senior team camp: defenders Julian Araujo and Sam Vines; midfielders Christian Cappis and Bryang Kayo; and forwards Jesus Ferreira and Ulysses Llanez.
- The roster features four players from the U.S. squad that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup: Araujo, Llanez, Mark McKenzie and Paxton Pomykal.
- Cappis appeared in 19 of 20 matches for Hobro this season, collecting two assists prior to the Danish SuperLiga’s winter break.
- Ferreira comes off a breakout season with FC Dallas where he recorded eight goals and six assists across 33 regular season matches. The son of former FC Dallas attacker David Ferreira, Jesus was born in Colombia, but gained his U.S. citizenship on Dec. 16, making him eligible to represent the USMNT.
- Left back Sam Vines earned his way to USMNT camp after a 2019 MLS campaign which saw him make 27 regular season appearances for the Colorado Rapids.
- Veteran goalkeeper Bill Hamid returns to USMNT camp for the first time since June 2018.
- The LA Galaxy duo of Sebastian Lletget and Julian Araujo will have the opportunity to suit up for the USMNT in their home stadium of Dignity Health Sports Park with the camp-ending friendly against Costa Rica on Feb.1