The U.S. Men’s National Team’s annual January Camp has provided many players a kickstart to their international careers – DaMarcus Beasley, Pablo Mastroeni, and DeAndre Yedlin to name a few. It’s also provided a host of memorable moments along the way.
Here are five of the best:
USA Defeats Germany 3-0 - Feb. 6, 1999
Head way back to 1999. We were getting ready for Y2K, Bill Clinton was still President and the U.S. MNT was under new management as former D.C. United head coach Bruce Arena took over the previous November following the team’s performance at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Arena led the team in two prior matches, scoreless draws against Australia the previous November and at Bolivia weeks earlier. He gathered the side in Jacksonville, Fla., in preparation for the MNT’s first domestic match of the year against the same German side that dominated the U.S. just months earlier in Paris.
Able to utilize the MNT’s German-based contingent, the lack of scoring in Arena’s first two matches in charge disappeared thanks to a Bundesliga trio. In the 16th minute, Jovan Kirovski scored perhaps one of the best goals of Arena’s first tenure in charge of the MNT, as the Fortuna Koln attacker received the ball on the left from Jeff Agoos before cutting to the top of the box and ripping his effort past Oliver Kahn and inside the top right corner.
High pressure from Tony Sanneh on German World Cup veteran Jens Jeremies led to the Hertha Berlin defender’s first international goal in the 24th minute before a clever setup from Chris Armas and Eddie Lewis gave Wolfsburg attacker Claudio Reyna an easy finish into the empty net.
The U.S. saw out the match, handing Arena his first of a record 71 wins as U.S. manager.
U.S. Wins 2002 Gold Cup – Feb. 2, 2002
Early in Arena’s first tenure with the MNT, the U.S. used January Camp to prepare for the CONCACAF Gold Cup which went through a period of being held in the winter.
DaMarcus Beasley’s stoppage time strike led the U.S. to a 2-1 win against guests Korea Republic to open the tournament before a Brian McBride penalty kick gave the MNT a 1-0 victory against Cuba to win the group.
In the Quarterfinals against El Salvador, McBride scored a natural hat trick inside the first 21 minutes before Ante Razov added one in the second half to push the U.S. to the Semifinals with a 4-0 win. There, the U.S. played a scoreless 120 minutes with Canada, but Kasey Keller made two saves in the shootout to send the U.S. back to the Gold Cup Final.
Taking on Costa Rica, Josh Wolff used his speed to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead before halftime and Jeff Agoos’ 63rd minute free kick provided the insurance goal as the MNT lifted its second Gold Cup title and began its momentum towards that summer’s FIFA World Cup.
Taylor Twellman Hat Trick – Jan. 29, 2006
After having a number of apparent goals waved off early in his international career, Taylor Twellman had a memorable beginning to 2006 when his hat trick led the U.S. to a 5-0 win against Norway.
Twellman cleverly finished off a feed from New England Revolution teammate Clint Dempsey in the fifth minute, before Todd Dunivant’s curling free kick from the right picked him out at the back post to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead in the 17th.
After Eddie Pope took the scoring to 3-0 in the 67th, Twellman would get his hat trick, as Revolution teammate and current U.S. assistant coach Pat Noonan found him lurking again at the back post.
Chris Klein’s goal in the 87th gave the U.S. a 5-0 win, which still stands as the MNT’s record margin of victory against a European opponent.
A New Leading Scorer – Jan. 19, 2008
Opening 2008 against Sweden, the U.S. went ahead in the 15th minute when a scramble in the box led to Eddie Robinson scoring on his debut with the U.S. team and send the MNT into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Three minutes into the second half, young MNT forward Jozy Altidore drew a penalty kick, allowing Landon Donovan to step up and make history. The take was as routine as it gets, with Donovan converting his 35th international inside the right post, officially surpassing Eric Wynalda as the MNT’s all-time leading goal scorer as the U.S. earned a 2-0 victory against Sweden.
Donovan broke the record just a month-and-a-half shy of his 26th birthday and would go on to extend the U.S. record to 57 international goals.
Sacha Kljestan Hat Trick – Jan. 24, 2009
The U.S. again entertained Sweden a year later, with current January Camp invitee Sacha Kljestan making a real case for inclusion throughout a busy 2009 when he tallied all three goals in the MNT’s 3-2 victory.
Following a foul on Brian Ching 30 yards from goal, Kljestan sent a screaming free kick inside the left post in the 17th minute. After Marvell Wynne was tripped up in the box, Kljestan stepped up to convert a 40th minute penalty kick, beating Sweden goalkeeper Johan Dahlin inside the lower, right corner.
Kljestan grabbed his hat trick in the 74th minute when a ball out of the back from Danny Califf was taken down in the box by Ching. The veteran target forward held up and found Kljestan in stride before he buried past Dahlin.
The kicker? The trio of goals were the first of his international career, making him just the second MNT player after Aldo “Buff” Donelli in 1934 to notch a hat trick in the same game of his first international goal.