As the domestic-based U.S. Men’s National Team roster gathered for January Camp in Carson, Calif., this week, a fellow international took up residence to seek treatment and rehab.
Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron arrived this week to work with the MNT medical and training staff on an MCL strain he suffered during the dying moments of his club’s 2-0 victory against Hull City on Oct. 22.
Originally believed to be a minor injury that would only keep him out a few weeks, the veteran center back has been sidelined ever since, forcing him to miss important league games for the Potters as well as the MNT’s two World Cup Qualifying matches in November.
“It’s just been a tough 10 weeks because it hasn’t healed as fast as I wanted it to,” he told ussoccer.com. “I’m out here because I wanted to see our National Team doctors and just get a second opinion and get their thoughts. I think we’re on track now. I’m on the path to getting back on the pitch.”
A mainstay ever since joining Stoke City in 2012, Cameron’s current layoff is the longest he’s experienced in his five years at the club.
“For me it’s frustrating because I’m usually never injured, so to be out this long obviously is a little worrisome because it wasn’t healing properly. Hopefully with this trip and the treatment I’ve received, I’ll get back soon."
Just as frustrating for the 2016 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year finalist was having to watch on television as the MNT fell to Mexico and Costa Rica during November’s World Cup Qualifying matches.
“It was tough to watch because you wanted to be there, but unfortunately my injury kept me back. In qualifying you always have your ups and downs, and we’ll get back in a positive frame of mind and a positive situation to get the momentum going again.”
While he’s been on his own rehab and therapy schedule this week, Cameron has joined the team for meals and taken the opportunity to get acquainted with new MNT head coach Bruce Arena.
“Bruce has welcomed me in. We’ve had a conversation, and our focus obviously is the two upcoming games in March.”
Cameron is set to return to Stoke early next week, and with those crucial World Cup Qualifying matches looming he’ll do so with the aim to be part of the team that takes on Honduras (March 24) and Panama (March 28).
“That’s the goal. I want to get back on the field playing for Stoke and get back in the rhythm of things and also be available for the National Team. To get out here, do rehab and get treatment with the people that I trust, it’s good to get the assurance. They believe I’ll be back on the field soon and then we’ll go from there.”