On selecting the final roster:
"I think we have a roster that is absolutely capable to do really well in this Copa America. Our goal in this Copa America is, first of all, obviously to get out of that difficult group with Colombia, Paraguay and Costa Rica. We believe we will do that, because we proved that two years ago in Brazil coming out of the group of death with Portugal and Ghana left behind and we went into the next round with Germany. So the goal is coming out of the group and then obviously, we said after Brazil, we have to learn how to win knockout games. We have to learn how to get in a tournament really to the next level. And the next level is – and at Copa America now – is to win your quarterfinal. Win your quarterfinal against whoever that will be in order to make the final four. This is our goal, so we want to be in that tournament very long. We want to play six games in this tournament, and we believe that this roster is very, very hungry, very determined and very aggressive going into these games."
On the tough choices that have to be made:
“Obviously when you get down and you decide on the final 23-man roster, a lot of people always think about the players that are not part of it. It’s never against a player that is not there. They are very close, tight decisions to make, a lot of 50-50 decisions where you can argue or you can debate who should be on and who should be off. The moment when you decide on the roster, it’s about definitely who you feel the strongest about. We believe that this is a very, very strong roster. We feel that these 23 players going into the very special Copa America really deserved to be on the roster. But it’s not against the players that are not on the roster. You want them all to do well. You want them all to be part of the inner circle, to be part of a big tournament, but at the end of the day you have to make a decision."
On the goals for the tournament:
"This roster really was put together based on what we saw over the last year that makes us the strongest team possible to compete in Copa America and to hopefully surprise a lot of people. Obviously we start with the number four in the world with Colombia. Are the they favorites? Yeah, probably they are. But so was Ghana. So was Portugal.
We have to prove that we are progressing. We have to prove that we are capable to deal with the big nations around the world, and we did that very well the last couple of years in friendly games, beating Germany, beating Holland, beating Mexico in Mexico. So we are capable to play with them, but in a tournament it’s all different. A tournament has its own rules. A tournament has its own facets, and facet number one is the group stage. Get out of your group, manage it somehow to go through these three games and Get enough points to go into the knockout stage. And after the group stage, really another tournament starts, because the knockout phase is something very, very different. Every game is a one-off, it’s a final, and then hopefully another final and then hopefully another final. So this is a learning curve for us, and we want to do better there than we did in Brazil where everybody was so excited how we did. That’s why I think, and we coaches believe, this is a group of players that want to prove a point. A group of players that has a lot of different faces. Some faces they are over 30, so take this Copa America and make it yours. There are some younger players coming in to the group that are challenging the older ones and they want to steal their spot, so there’s a lot of energy there. There’s a lot of different dynamic elements in that roster, and that hopefully takes us through a very successful Copa America."
On what factors went into roster selections:
"We believe that players really played their way into that roster, and it’s difficult. There are some situations that probably the fans will now discuss. Why not Jordan Morris and Wondo is in there? Well, because Wondo proves all the time that he’s just is so hungry for goals, and Jordan is on his way through the ranks coming up. At the center back position, or other positions in midfield, the fans will talk a lot the next couple of days about the choices, and that's really cool. We look over the last two years who progressed coming through that was not in Brazil, and we also know who are going to be the future faces of the Men’s National Team going forward. But as of today, this is the strongest group of players we believe we can have, and we still give all the compliments and respect to the players that are left out. I think you have players that we are excited about. We are excited about John Brooks proving now that he matured, that be became stronger. Christian Pulisic is coming through the Dortmund system in a Champions League team and breaking through, so we want him to confirm that and we give him all the help to do that. Darlington Nagbe, who became part of the National Team after waiting so many years for that opportunity. Bobby Wood, who broke out last year. DeAndre Yedlin who became a consistent starter in the Premier League, and so on and so on. We believe they have the tools and they have the capabilities to do well, but obviously it’s a huge tournament and when you have teams with big names like Brazil to Argentina to Uruguay or Colombia, they are big names, but there’s nothing better than playing them and testing yourselves."
On the goalkeeping situation:
“The goalkeeper situation is a very kind of particular situation because it’s a unique position. Obviously we now left out Nick Rimando, who we admire a lot and an upcoming goalkeeper like David Bingham and a William Yarbrough who have a bright future ahead of them, but we decided to really go with Tim Howard and Brad Guzan as the two leaders still because we believe their experience and their leadership will help us a lot. We brought in Ethan Horvath as a third goalkeeper to build him for the future, to learn from Tim Howard and Brad Guzan but also to get his first taste of what such a tournament means. We go into the tournament with Brad Guzan being the number one. That’s been communicated clearly to Tim and Brad. We believe that Brad deserves it. Brad, throughout the last two years, played very consistently and very solid with us. He had a very tough year with Aston Villa, there’s no doubt it, but he knows that, and for many, many reasons. But it’s also a different environment. Tim Howard finished a huge, huge chapter in his career with Everton Football Club. He’s always going to be a legend for Everton, and he did wonderful things with that club. But he wasn’t with us for a year after the World Cup, and he also lost his starting spot the last half of the year with Everton, so we think that in that moment Brad has a little bit of an edge and deserves it. Having Tim on board, being there to push Brad, to help him, and obviously if something goes wrong he’s always there anyway, is big for us because his presence and his confidence and his leadership is vital for our group.”
On players being versatile in their positions:
“I think one of the facets of international soccer over the last eight or ten years is definitely that the positions are kind of melting. You cannot clearly define anymore who is purely a defender, who is only a midfielder and who is only a striker. I think you saw that through the Spanish National Team over the last 10-12 years, that they played so fluid that everybody could play different roles. So when you today name a player only by his pure position as a midfielder, you might be wrong, because in the next moment, we need him up front. An example is Gyasi Zardes. He can play as a winger in midfield, or he can play up front as a forward. Clint Dempsey, the same thing. Christian Pulisic can be a striker, he can be a midfielder. That’s simply how it went over the last 10 years in international soccer, that you see so much movement that players can play different roles, different positions in specific moments based on what is needed for that team. Fabian Johnson can play left back, right back, left midfielder, right midfielder and so on. This is definitely a change over time now that we have got to get used to. It’s good to know they can play those different roles based on what is needed.”