While the prime focus among players in Men’s National Team camp is preparing for next month’s CONCACAF Cup, four players in the group have recently settled their club situations for the newly started European campaign.
Winger DeAndre Yedlin was the latest player to clarify his club situation after finalizing a loan move from Tottenham Hotspur to fellow Barclays Premier League side Sunderland on Monday morning. After a month of uncertainty about where he’d be spending the season, the 22-year-old admitted relief at finding a landing spot.
“This last month has been tough,” he said Tuesday. “It’s been pretty stressful. There have been so many different teams that have come up and then gone. A lot of it is out of my control, that was tough, but I’m relieved it’s over.”
After seeing the young American attacking talent fail to get first team minutes during his initial time with Spurs, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsman told reporters he was pleased with the loan move.
“Hopefully it gives him more playing time,” Klinsmann, himself a former Tottenham striker, said. “It looked pretty much that he didn’t get that playing time with Spurs because of their roster situation. With that move to Sunderland, things open up for him and hopefully they give him more opportunities to be on the field, to play Premier League minutes and that’s why we’re happy for him.”
DeAndre Yedlin will look to get a long run of games when he returns to English club Sunderland after the USMNT's friendlies against Peru and Brazil.
While there were rumors of suitors for Yedlin outside of the Premiership, the player agreed with Klinsmann about the opportunity to get Premier League minutes this season.
“I think it’s a league that you really have to get used to,” Yedlin said. “I think getting the experience playing in a Premier League team and hopefully getting consistent games is huge for me.”
Elsewhere in England, defender Tim Ream recently transferred from Bolton Wanderers to fellow English Championship side Fulham FC, despite being closely courted by the Cottagers’ cross-London rivals Queens Park Rangers.
“The move to Fulham came about pretty quick,” Ream told ussoccer.com. “QPR was interested and then Fulham kind of jumped in at the very last minute.”
What made the difference in Ream’s choice of destination? He admitted the past exploits of players like Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra at the club went a long way.
“Comparing the two clubs and knowing the American guys that have played there before and seeing the success they’ve had, it kind of pushed it over the top for me. It just seemed like a good fit not only for me personally and professionally, but it felt like a family club and that was something that was important to me.”
Despite going to a club that seems to have an affinity for American players, Ream admitted that it was difficult to leave Bolton.
“It was hard. There’s no doubt about it. I spent three and a half years there. Had some lows, had some highs, got relegated and struggled in my first year in the Championship, but all of a sudden things change and you have two really good seasons, the fans vote you Player of the Year two years in a row.
“My last day there, I was the very last one to leave the training ground that Thursday before the transfer went through. I choked up. It was home for me for three-and-a-half years and we met some really great people along the way.”
Having only secured his move a few weeks ago, Ream admitted he hasn’t fully settled at his new locale, but it didn’t take him long at all to make his way into the team.
“I’ve only been there 10 days now, but off the field stuff takes a bit. On the field, I feel good. I’ve trained four or five days and was thrown right into a Cup game, played 80 minutes and we won 3-0 against Sheffield United and then 90 minutes a few days later when we won 3-1 at Rotherham on Saturday. I’m right back to where I want to be and once camp is done here, I’m looking forward to getting back to Fulham.”
Tim Ream is the next MNT player to follow the well-trodden path of U.S. internationals at Fulham.
Perhaps the highest profile of the MNT moves this summer saw striker Aron Johannsson, whose late season goals helped AZ Aklmaar qualify for the UEFA Europa League, move from the Dutch side to German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen.
Because of Gold Cup duty, Johannsson didn’t get a full preseason with his new club, but has begun to find his way of late after starting the team’s last two matches and scoring his first goal – a 39th minute penalty kick – in Bremen’s 2-1 victory over Monchengladbach on Sunday.
“It was difficult not to get a full preseason with the team and sort of get thrown in with my teammates rather than get to play with them more and show them,” Johannsson told ussoccer.com. “This is football, this is life. It’s more challenging now and it’s been nice. Of course I need some more time to adjust 100 percent with the team, but with every game and every training session things get better and better.”
U.S. forward Bobby Wood returned to camp this week, hoping to replicate the strong showings he put in with game-winning goals in the early summer friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany.
Rather than continue with the team at July’s Gold Cup, Wood and Klinsmann agreed it would be best for him to stabilize his club situation over the offseason, with the 22-year-old forward eventually signing for 2.Bundesliga side Union Berlin.
“I think it’s really important that I got my move,” Wood told ussoccer.com. “It was a chaotic last season and it was good to be able to start fresh. It was important for me mentally to set myself up for a new beginning and I was thankful for the chance to do so.”
The decision to focus on his club situation over the summer seems to have worked out so far, with Wood starting each of the club’s five league matches thus far and scoring his first goal two weeks ago in a 2-2 draw with Kaiserslautern.
“Everything is going good, I’m settled in and I’m trying to make my way and hopefully that translates here with the National Team.”
As Men’s National Team camp convened Sunday in Washington, D.C., U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called for all players to “prove a point” that they belonged on the roster that will face Mexico in next month’s CONCACAF Cup.
With Clint Dempsey absent from the first part of the international window – he scored seven goals in the 2015 Gold Cup - the opportunity is even greater at the striker position where Klinsmann has summoned five players all aged 25 years or younger. Heading into this camp, Klinsmann said “so far, nobody has a real big advantage over another guy.”
With 83 caps and two World Cups under his belt, Altidore isn’t just the most experienced of the current forward crop, but also one of the most seasoned international players on the team. While the veteran striker departed the team following the Gold Cup group stage, he’s returned to the side after scoring three goals in his last two matches for Toronto FC.
“It’s nice to come back into camp with some goals,” Altidore said. “You put the work in. You have to train to get back to how you were and get your fitness back. I’m feeling better and excited to have the chance to come back into camp and hopefully I can get on the field and make a difference.”
With the match against Mexico looming on Oct. 10 and CONCACAF World Cup qualifying kicking off the following month, Klinsmann has said it’s crucial for the next generation of forwards to step and claim their place.
“There's a time period to break in and make yourself comfortable and be a part of a group, but there's also a time to understand the moment to step up and build your future in the team,” he continued. “Now after a year that we called a transition year where we developed young forwards like an Aron Johannsson and a Bobby Wood and obviously some others, we are eager to see the next generation of forwards becoming consistent. By that I mean first of all scoring goals.”
Senior Men's National Team debutante Andrew Wooten has his eyes set on his first full international appearance with the USA.
Johannsson and Wood are joined in camp by two familiar faces in Altidore and Gyasi Zardes, as well as newcomer Andrew Wooten. The debutant 25-year-old earned his first National Team call by starting off the 2.Bundesliga campaign with five goals in five matches for Sandhausen.
“I always dreamed of playing one time in the Men’s National Team,” Wooten told ussoccer.com. “I’ve worked really hard in my club and I’m very happy now to be called up for my first time. Hopefully I can put on some good performances to stay here and play maybe in the next camp and next games.”
The striker with the best goal scoring form coming into camp, Wooten has already provided a new spark to the competition up top according to Johannsson.
“It’s always difficult to get on the field for the full team, especially now with a new face coming into the camp who is going to try and get some minutes,” the newly minted Werder Bremen striker said.
“It’s the National Team. Every time you come to camp, it’s going to be difficult to get in the starting 11. We have good players. Jozy is obviously the most experienced, and so it’s going to be interesting to see who he plays. On the other hand it’s nice as well because we have some good competition and everybody is fighting every training to prove to the coach they should be playing.”
Bobby Wood unleashes a shot during MNT training in the lead up to the team's Sept. 4 friendly against Peru.
Few players in world soccer can say their first two international goals came against the Netherlands and Germany, and even less can say they were game winners. Bobby Wood can.
After two magnificent strikes at the beginning of the summer, the 22-year-old was given time off during the Gold Cup to work on establishing himself at his new 2.Bundesliga side, Union Berlin.
With his club situation clarified, Wood will hope games against Peru and Brazil help him build off his early summer performances and earn another roster spot for the team that faces Mexico next month.
“These are two awesome games in the U.S. and I’m just going to take advantage,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how much time I get, whatever it is I’m going to do my all to prove that I want to be here. We’ll see what’s up from there.”
Despite the hefty international experience he holds over his fellow forward counterparts, Altidore has embraced the open competition Klinsmann has put in place.
“The competition is lovely,” he said. “It’s part of being at this level with the National Team, and it’s something we all have to acknowledge. It’s part of the job. It’s been part of the job for my whole career.”
Recent Men’s National Team call-up and IMG Academy alum Aron Johannsson netted his first goal for Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on Sunday. Scoring a penalty kick in the 39th minute, Johannsson helped his side to a 2-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. The American forward, who has made three appearances for Werder Bremen this season, will meet up with fellow Development Academy alums Joe Corona (Nomads SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Crossfire Premier & Seattle Sounders), and Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) in Washington D.C. when the U.S. MNT takes on Peru on Sept. 4 at RFK Stadium.
Youth National Teams
- U-23 MNT Set for England, Qatar Friendlies: Thirteen players from this roster have ties to the Development Academy: Luis Gil (Pateadores), Ethan Horvath (Real Colorado), Emerson Hyndman (FC Dallas), Benji Joya (De Anza Force), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Eric Miller (Minnesota Thunder Academy), Boyd Okwuonu (FC Dallas), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids), Marc Pelosi (De Anza Force), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy & Pateadores), Zack Steffen (Continental FC DELCO), Wil Trapp (Crew SC Academy).
- U-20 MNT Heads to Czech Republic Tournament: Twenty-two players from this roster have ties to the Development Academy: Amir Bashti (San Jose Earthquakes), Coy Craft (FC Dallas), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake-AZ), Christian Hererra (Real Salt Lake-AZ), Nicholas Hinds (Kendall SC), Cameron Lindley (Chicago Fire & Indiana Fire Academy), Andrew Lombard (New York Red Bulls), Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo), Victor Mansaray (Seattle Sounders FC), Abuchi Obinwa (Chicago Magic PSG), Christian Onalfo (LA Galaxy), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City), Pablo Palaez (San Diego Surf), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire), Nash Popovic (Vardar), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic PSG), Martin Salas (FC Dallas), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake-AZ), Ben Swanson (Crew SC Academy), Justin Vom Steeg (Real So Cal)
Across Major League Soccer
- Tim Parker (Albertson SC) helped the Vancouver Whitecaps earn a new piece of silverware with with a goal in the 53rd minute of a 2-0 win over the Montreal Impact in the Canadian Championship final last Wednesday.
- Conor Doyle (Dallas Texans) scored a 90th minute goal to punctuate a 3-0 victory for D.C. United over Montego Bay and all but secure passage to the knockout rounds of the 2016 CONCACAF Champions League last Tuesday.
- Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids) assisted Kevin Doyle’s game-winning goal in the 79th minute for the Colorado Rapids’ 2-1 victory over Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.
- Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution) scored the game-winning goal against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. The 20-year-old Fagundez became the youngest player in MLS history to score 25 career goals.
- Wil Trapp (Crew SC Academy) assisted Federico Higuain in the 10th minute off a corner kick in Columbus Crew SC’s 2-1 victory over New York City FC on Saturday.
- Sheanon Williams (FC Bolts Celtic) assisted Ricardo Clark in the 34th minute to help Houston Dynamo in a 2-0 league win over the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps.
As the U.S. Men’s National Team convenes in Washington, D.C. on Sunday to prepare for their final friendlies before taking on Mexico in the October 10 Confederations Cup playoff, the message from head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is clear: “Prove a point that you want to be at The Rose Bowl.”
The two friendlies against Peru and Brazil have taken on a new meaning from the time when they were originally planned. Scheduled with an eye on preparation towards November’s World Cup qualifying matches and next year’s Copa America Centenario, the two games now serve as the ultimate proving ground for veteran and young players alike to make their case for the October playoff.
“This is now a huge opportunity for the players to show us that they deserve to go to the Mexico clash,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “With these games, it is not the time to be patient. This is really now time for the guys to make a really strong impression that they understand the situation because of what happened in the Gold Cup. Experience or no experience, this is not about developing things. This is about proving a point.”
While 15 players return from July’s Gold Cup roster, Klinsmann’s eye towards more competition in the team has seen the return of four World Cup veterans in goalkeeper Tim Howard, midfielder Jermaine Jones and center backs Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron all returning after varying levels of absences over the last year.
Besler and Cameron rejoin a U.S. center back pool that also features Gold Cup starters Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks as well as Omar Gonzalez, Michael Orozco and Tim Ream.
MNT defender Tim Ream battles Panama's Adolfo Machado during the 2015 Gold Cup.
With seven options providing a good mix of youth and experience, Klinsmann made clear, “The heat is on in that position.”
“Some positions are definitely there to grab, but you've got to grab them with a lot of determination and a lot of ambition,” he added. “That's why bringing back Tim Howard now and Jermaine Jones and Geoff Cameron kind of signals the fight and the competition now happening between the older established ones and the new wave of players. This is what we want to see from Sunday on in training. We want to see competition, and then we're going to make some calls. Obviously the most crucial calls come for the roster that goes to the Rose Bowl.”
After taking the summer off following strong performances in the June friendly wins against The Netherlands and Germany, forward Bobby Wood and midfielder Danny Williams also returned to the fold, while the lone newcomer in camp is forward Andrew Wooten. The 25-year-old striker has been tracked by Klinsmann and his staff for two years and has started the 2.Bundesliga season off strong, scoring five goals in five matches for Sandhausen.
“We like how dynamic he is and we like his nose for goals. He has a very good instinct of where the ball will drop in the box and knows how to finish things off. We don’t look at him as a youngster coming in because he's 25 years old and in a certain way he's a late bloomer. For him it's important not to lose one second of time to impress his teammates and obviously the coaching staff. It's a chance that he has been waiting for for a long time, and because he’s on a good run right now he deserves that chance, but he needs to jump in the cold water right away and swim really fast.”
Wooten’s good form and entrance into the National Team picture has come at an opportune time for the striker as he comes into the fold with no clear cut pecking order after Clint Dempsey. Though the U.S. veteran won the Golden Boot with six goals at the Gold Cup, injury issues will force him out for at least the Peru match, leaving Wooten, Wood, Aron Johannsson, and Jozy Altidore a chance to prove they belong in the squad come October.
“I think the situation with our forwards is wide open,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously the most consistent player over the last years with us has always been Clint Dempsey, but Clint right now also has some injury issues and is obviously not the youngest anymore, so we constantly try to develop the next wave of forwards and so far nobody has a real big advantage over another guy. This is really crucial for them to understand. There's a time period to break in and make yourself comfortable and be a part of a group, but there's also a time to understand the moment to step up and build your future in the team.
“Now after a year that we called a transition year where we developed young forwards like an Aron Johannsson and a Bobby Wood and obviously some others, we are eager to see the next generation of forwards becoming consistent. By that I mean first of all scoring goals.”
MNT forward Aron Johannsson controls the ball in the USA's match against Jamaica during the 2015 Gold Cup.
While Dempsey and captain Michael Bradley will miss out on the Peru match, other regulars that would have otherwise been part of the camp were ruled out due to injury.
“Of course this is normal whenever we have international games,” Klinsmann said. “Unfortunately for Fabian Johnson he got injured a couple weeks after a very good start to the season with Monchengladbach. We have some cases where guys are nursing some injuries, like Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman in Salt Lake.”
Originally slated to continue with the National Team after coming out of international retirement last month, veteran DaMarcus Beasley was also forced to pull out of the squad after suffering an injury over the weekend with the Houston Dynamo.
With the experimental period following the World Cup now coming to an end, Klinsmann put an impetus on the younger players that have received opportunities over the last year to sink or swim with established veterans back involved with the team.
“We gave the younger generation a lot of confidence and a lot of support and a lot of help, which is our job from a coaching standpoint,” he said. “Now the moment comes and they have to prove it. They have to go face-to-face with the established guys and try to steal their spot. This is what it’s about now. We will find out if they are ready for it. We have the playoff game for one, and then we have World Cup qualifying which is not experimenting any more. In a certain way you can tell that the transition phase comes to an end and now they need to prove if they are still in the top spot or not.”
ussoccer.com: What was the approach to putting this roster together?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “The bigger picture is to get some answers for how we put things together for Mexico game a month from now. Obviously we want to continue to have a good flow of guys from the Gold Cup, but also to bring back guys who are in position to compete for a spot on the roster for Oct. 10. Our message to these guys is simple: prove a point that you want to be at the Rose Bowl.”
“With these games, it is not the time to be patient. This is really now time for the guys to make a really strong impression that they understand the situation we’re in because of what happened in the Gold Cup. These games are not about developing things for the future. This is about proving a point towards the Mexico game.”
ussoccer.com: What is the objective for these matches?
JK: “Coming into two games like this against Brazil, whose accomplishments speak for themselves, and Peru coming off a third place finish in Copa America, this is now a huge opportunity for the players to show us that they deserve to go to the Mexico clash. Initially with the games – and also going back to the games against Holland and Germany – our goal was to get these experiences for World Cup qualifying and Copa America next summer. Now obviously the focus has shifted and we are zoomed in on the CONCACAF Cup and qualifying for the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia.”
ussoccer.com: How will having some of the veterans back help this team in camp?
JK: “We will just want to make it very, very intense and competitive from the first day on in training, so the veterans need to set the tone and they need to understand that there's a high energy there. The ones that were not a part of the Gold Cup, and the other ones that were with us before like a Danny Williams or a Bobby Wood, they need to prove a point now. This is really now about truly competing. It’s about competing for spots, competing for the Rose Bowl and obviously also towards the World Cup qualifiers.”
ussoccer.com: You said that you have been tracking Andrew Wooten for a while. What do you like about him and what kind of opportunity does he have with this camp?
JK: “We've been watching him for more than two years now and we like how dynamic he is and we like his nose for goals. He has a very good instinct of where the ball will drop in the box and knows how to finish things off. We don’t look at him as a youngster coming in because he's 25 years old and in a certain way he's a late bloomer. For him it's important not to lose one second of time to impress his teammates and obviously the coaching staff. It's a chance that he has been waiting for for a long time, and because he’s on a good run right now he deserves that chance, but he needs to jump in the cold water and right away swim really fast.”
ussoccer.com: Is there an opportunity for a player to step up in the striker position?
JK: “I think the situation with our forwards is wide open. Obviously the most consistent player over the last years with us has always been Clint Dempsey, but Clint right now also has some injury issues and is obviously not the youngest anymore, so we constantly try to develop the next wave of forwards and so far nobody has a real big advantage over another guy. This is really crucial for them to understand. There's a time period to break in and make yourself comfortable and be a part of a group, but there's also a time to understand the moment to step up and build your future in the team. Now after a year that we called a transition year where we developed young forwards like an Aron Johannsson and a Bobby Wood and obviously some others, we are eager to see the next generation of forwards becoming consistent. By that I mean first of all scoring goals.”
With a tremendous knack for creating scoring chances and having a nose for the goal, Johannsson was thrown into the fray for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad in the late summer of 2013. Shortly after his application to FIFA for a change of association was approved on Aug. 13, the former Iceland U-21 forward made his U.S. MNT debut the next day against Bosnia-Herzegovina. After starting his pro career at Aarhus in Denmark, he moved to AZ Alkmaar and the club of U.S. international teammate Jozy Altidore where he promptly led the team in scoring. His efforts for club and country led to his inclusion on the roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
- A part of the roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he entered as a substitute for Jozy Altidore in the 2-1 win against Ghana in the USA’s opening group match
- Scored a stoppage-time, game-winning goal in the USA’s 3-2 victory against Panama on Oct. 15, 2013, in the final match of the Hexagonal
- Finished his first full season at AZ Alkmaar with 21 goals in all competitions
- Garnered the fastest hat trick in the Danish Superliga with three goals in the first 3:50 of a 4-1 AGF Aarhus victory against AC Horsens on Aug. 27, 2012
- A member of IMG Academy’s 2007-08 Development Academy squad
Named to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster...Has played in three matches for the MNT this year, starting all three... Made his first start since 2013 against Denmark on March 25... Tallied his third career goal in the same match, his first of 2015... 2014: Appeared in two games in 2014, subbing on in the 61st minute against Azerbaijan in the first game of the Send-Off Series on May 27 and also subbing on in the MNT's first game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Ghana on June 16 in the 22nd minute when Jozy Altidore went down with an injury … Scored in the 81st minute against Azerbaijan off of a corner kick from Brad Davis to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead … 2013: Johannsson earned six caps, two starts and tallied a goal in 213 total minutes in his first year with the U.S. MNT … Made his U.S. MNT debut as a second-half sub during the USA’s 4-3 victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Aug. 14, just one day after his application to FIFA for a change of association was approved … Scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time of the USA’s 3-2 victory against Panama on Oct. 15 to cap off World Cup qualifying.
2014: Recorded 21 goals in all competitions … Had five multiple-goal matches, including a hat trick in the second round of the KNVB Cup … Tallied the game-winning goal in the Europa League Round of 16 first leg against Anzi … 2013: Signed with AZ Alkmaar in January, joining forces with future MNT teammate Jozy Altidore … Scored 11 goals in 18 games in the 2013 portion of the 2013-14 Dutch Eredivisie … 2012: Scored the fastest hat trick in the Danish Superliga, scoring three goals in the first 3:50 of a match – and tallying a fourth later in the first half – as AGF Aarhus defeated AC Horsens 4-1 on Aug. 27 … Scored 14 goals in Superliga play in his final season with AGF Aarhus … 2010: Joined AGF Aarhus in August … 2009: Scored 12 goals during the Urvalsdeild campaign … 2008: Made his professional debut for Fjolnir in the Urvalsdeild in Iceland.
Date of Birth
Nov 10, 1990
Werder Bremen (Germany)