CHICAGO (Jan. 23, 2017) – FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta and defender Matt Hedges, along with Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Kekuta Manneh, have departed the U.S. Men’s National Team’s January Camp. The roster currently stands at 28 players ahead of the upcoming friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica. [TICKETS]
Acosta has been diagnosed with a mild left ankle sprain, while Hedges has a mild right knee sprain. Meantime, Manneh will join Vancouver Whitecaps FC on their preseason tour in Wales.
The U.S. will begin the 2017 campaign with a friendly against Serbia on Jan. 29 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. Kickoff for Arena’s first match back in charge of the U.S. MNT is set for 1 p.m. PT, and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and UniMas.
Five days later, the MNT will make its first visit to Chattanooga, Tenn., on Feb. 3 when they host regional rival Jamaica. Kickoff in front of an expected capacity crowd of 20,000 at Finley Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on FS1 and UniMas (simulcast on UDN). Follow both matches on U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@ussoccer) and Instagram (@ussoccer) accounts.
The MNT’s 28-player roster can be found below:
GOALKEEPERS (4): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls), Brian Rowe (LA Galaxy)
DEFENDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Taylor Kemp (D.C. United), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)Read more
CHICAGO (Jan. 23, 2017) — U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team head coach Omid Namazi has called 28 players for the program’s initial training camp of 2017. The camp, which will run Jan. 23-30 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., marks the beginning of the second year of the group’s U-18 cycle, which consists of players born Jan. 1, 1999 or later. The team last gathered at a joint domestic training camp with the U.S. Under-19 Men’s National Team in November.
“The purpose of this camp is to identify new talent and expand our pool of players,” Namazi said. “For this camp, we have invited back some of the core players that we’ve identified through the last year. More than half of the players are either newer players we are inviting back to see how they’ve developed since our player identification camp last January, or brand new players who have never been invited to a previous Youth National Team camp.”
Namazi has set up a few games for the team during the week against the U-17 National Team players currently in Residency at IMG Academy. The games will provide opportunity for the U-18’s to prove themselves against a talented and cohesive side. The camp as a whole will provide supplemental player development to the players in the pool outside of their club environments.
The U-18’s next meeting will be a domestic camp in March when the team will begin preparations for the Slovakia Cup, set to take place in April in Trnava, Slovakia.
Development Academy Ties:
- Of the 28 players called into this camp, 24 have spent time in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Twenty-three currently play in the Development Academy.
- The two players who have spent the most time in the Development Academy are New England Revolution forward Justin Rennicks and LA Galaxy goalkeeper Eric Lopez, both of whom have been involved since the 2012-2013 Academy season.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Trey Muse (Seattle Sounders; Tukwila, Wash.), Alec Smir (NC Fusion; Greensboro, N.C.)
DEFENDERS (10): Jose Alfaro (Chicago Fire: West Chicago, Ill.), Jonathon Esparza (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Daniel Jones (New England Revolution Academy; West Hartford, Conn.), Jack Maher (Scott Gallagher; Caseyville, Ill.), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union; Bear, Del.), Jake Morris (Seattle Sounders; Kirkland, Wash.), Stirling Russell (Seattle Sounders; Bellevue, Wash.), Aedan Stanley (St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC; Columbia, Ill.), Angel Uribe (Club Tijuana; San Diego, Calif), Aristotle Zarris ( LA Galaxy; Casa Grande, Ariz.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Abdi Faris (IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.), Christian Cappis (Texans SC Houston; Katy, Texas), Jose Carranza (D.C. United; Manassas, Va.), Andrew Paoli (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif.), Brian Perez (Club Tijuana; San Diego, Calif.), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas; Brimingham, Ala.), Noah Verhoeven (Vancouver Whitecaps; Surrey, B.C)
FORWARDS (8): Shaft Brewer (FC Dallas; Sacramento, Calif.), Griffen Dorsey (Colorado Rush; Evergreen, Colo.), Ernesto Espinoza (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Will Inalien (Portland Timbers; Taramac, Fla.), Justin McMaster (Philadelphia Union; King of Prussia, Pa.), Alfred Perez (Weston FC; Miami, Fla.), Emanuel Perez (CASL; Garner, N.C.), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution Academy; Hamilton, Mass.)
Photos from the U.S. Soccer Pro Course on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in Los Angeles, California. The group’s first of three collective meetings, the first meeting provided a program overview, course introduction and served as a gathering between candidates and the U.S. Soccer coach educators. The cohort begins a year-long coaching education and development program that will also include two individual club visits from U.S. Soccer coach educators and a final presentation.Read more
Back in U.S. Men’s National Team camp for the first time in 18 months and having penned a loan deal with M.L.S. expansion side Atlanta United FC, 2017 is all about new beginnings for left back Greg Garza.
The Grapevine, Texas product was last a part of MNT camp in Sept. 2015, but continued problems with his hips kept him from playing a part in friendlies against Peru and Brazil. It was during that camp where the defender, along with the MNT’s coaching and medical staff, made the decision for him to address the ongoing problem.
“It was at a point where every training session I was going through a lot of pain,” he told ussoccer.com. “I just wasn’t moving right anymore and just little things off the field – I was having difficulty playing with my little kid – just doing father-like things that my hips and hernia weren’t allowing me to do anymore.”
Diagnosed with hip impingement, Garza underwent surgery to have golf ball-size bone spurs removed from both hips. Doctors then did a procedure to reconstruct the bone on both sides and also removed a number of hernias from his groin area and abdomen.
“It was excruciating pain for a while,” Garza said. “I was glad to get the surgery over with.”
While the procedure was done, the road to recovery had only begun.
“I knew from the beginning it was a 10 to 12-month process to actually play again. I was in a wheel chair for a couple months, on crutches for a couple months and then had to learn to walk again in a pool – just doing basic exercises to get me to walk again and start striding out.
“It was a big game of patience, not just for myself but for my family, with my wife bathing me every day and my kid not understanding that dad couldn’t play with him for a while.”
Recovered for the start of the Liga MX Apertura last July, Garza made a couple of appearances for Club Tijuana before a concussion suffered on July 24 at Puebla forced him back out of the lineup. When he returned, the 25-year-old found it hard to get back into a Xolos side that finished top of the table, but he said he’s still very thankful for the club’s support throughout his rehabilitation.
“I do have Xolos to thank to actually get me back fit 120 percent of what I wanted to be,” he said. “The past six months were also difficult, not getting that opportunity after coming off a pretty big surgery. There were no complaints - the team was just doing really well and I never really had the opportunity to come in and make the impact to what I was used to. It’s understandable, and it’s been a great journey in Mexico. Now I’m ready to take on the next step and come back here to M.L.S. and strive here as well.”
Just before Christmas, Garza was acquired by incoming expansion side Atlanta United FC on a one-year loan. While the team will be coached by former Argentina manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Garza said he was most encouraged by the conversation he had with Atlanta Technical Director and long-time U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra, who like himself often lined up at left back for the MNT.
“Knowing there were M.L.S. teams very interested was delightful for myself knowing that I’d come off such a long injury and getting back fit again. Carlos made it clear when we did speak over the phone that he wanted their left back to be the National Team left back, and I really hope I can live up to his word over the next couple years and hopefully give them the option to buy this next year.
- READ MORE: Graham Zusi Embracing Right Back Switch
“Once you do come off a long time off the field, you really have to gain that confidence and I really think they’ve shown me how they want to play. Carlos put me on the board, and you couldn’t really ask for a better opportunity than working under Tata Martino.”
First things first though. Garza’s call-up to January Camp means he still hasn’t set foot in Atlanta. With head coach Bruce Arena saying he wanted to see more in terms of depth at both full back spots, Garza’s sole focus is towards picking up where he left off with the National Team in 2015.
“I’m motivated. It was very surprising for me to get the call after being out so long and not really getting so much playing time these past five months in Tijuana. I’m very grateful and thankful that they’ve called me back in. It just gives me that extra motivation and confidence to boost myself back up there. Left back was a position I had straddled down a bit two years back, and hopefully I can do that once again. The opportunity is there and it’s up to me to make the most of it.”Read more
For the past two years, the U.S. Women’s National Team has kicked off the new year with a clear goal in mind. In 2015, it was the FIFA Women’s World Cup. In 2016, the Olympic Games came calling. But in 2017, there is no world championship and qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup won’t take place until late in 2018.
After hitting the highest of highs in 2015 and becoming world champions, 2016 did not unfold as anticipated. Despite winning the Olympic Qualifying tournament and the inaugural SheBelieves Cup, the USA’s early exit in the Olympic quarterfinal was heartbreaking for a team that always expects to be at the top of the podium.
So what’s the next goal? What are the objectives for this team over 2017 and 2018?
After the U.S. returned from Brazil, the team took the field for six final matches in 2016 - all wins -- and then quickly closed the door on the year and started looking ahead. At the 2017 January Camp, Ellis immediately imprinted on every player one of the key themes for the team from this point forward: evaluating players and deepening the pool.
“Post-Olympics, our main goal is to play as many top-10 teams as possible,” Ellis said. “We want the most competitive schedule, and this year, it will be the strongest teams we’ve ever played in the year following a world event. This is a big difference for us. It’s never happened before.”
Ellis has consistently talked about calling up new players and challenging everyone to earn their spot. She will use these two years to create a versatile and deep squad that will once again compete for a World Cup title in 2019, hardened by a schedule of matches against elite teams over the course of the cycle.
“At the end of last year we continued pushing the expectations on the field and challenging players with different formations and playing based on principles,” Ellis said. “I think that sets an expectation of how we want to play. We want to increase our defensive pressure and attack in multiple ways.
“We are emphasizing beating lines and quicker ball movement to shift the defense. We don’t want to be a team that just relies on one phase of our game, we want to be a complete team. For example, not solely relying on our attacking transition, but relying on all components of play. Our team development is our No. 1 priority this year. Getting results is important, but getting better is crucial.”Read more