U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made the primary goals of this January camp clear. For veteran players, it’s a chance to hit the ground running in 2015. For the nearly dozen Olympic-age players, it’s a development opportunity as they get extended exposure to the National Team environment and build toward Olympic qualifying. But the ultimate prize for all this year is the CONCACAF Gold Cup, since winning the title in July would qualify the United States for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
- Klinsmann Calls 28 Players for First Training Camp of 2015
- Q&A: Jurgen Klinsmann Discusses Training Camp Roster and First Games of 2015
So how often does an opportunity in the January camp immediately after the World Cup lead to a roster spot in the Gold Cup? The squads from the previous two cycles offer some insight.
In 2007, the U.S. collected a 3-1 victory against Denmark at the then Home Depot Center under interim head coach Bob Bradley. Among the five players who featured against the Danes who also landed on that year’s Gold Cup winning roster later that summer were Jonathan Bornstein, Ricardo Clark, and Justin Mapp. Bornstein made his international debut that day against Denmark – and scored his first goal – while Clark earned just his second cap. Both went on to feature in the 2010 FIFA World Cup for the USA.
Four years later – in the same venue – the United States dueled Chile to a 1-1 draw. The New York Red Bulls duo of Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream each picked up their second MNT appearance that day, having played in the last game of 2010 when the USA beat South Africa 1-0 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup in Capetown. Additionally, Nick Rimando started in goal and San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski made his MNT debut against the Chileans; the pair going on to be a part of Klinsmann’s squad at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. All four were part of the team that reached the 2011 Gold Cup final.
One of Klinsmann’s most common themes is that “the door is always open.” During the next five months, fans will find out who steps in.