It’s that time of year again! An annual fixture on the MNT calendar, “January Camp” has provided a launching point for many an international career.
With the MNT forging ahead, this year’s gathering will continue to set the tone for the first phase of building for the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well as giving those who are summoned a jumpstart on their upcoming league seasons.
Learn more about the MNT’s January Camp.
In the nascent years of Major League Soccer, the league’s regular season schedule was much shorter, leaving the MNT’s domestic player pool with less opportunity to be prepared for games on the international calendar in the early part of the year. While the length of the domestic season has grown in the intervening years, January Camp has remained a fixture on the MNT calendar, serving as a preparatory exercise for official matches while providing youngsters and newcomers that stood out during the previous year an extended look.
JANUARY CAMP ALUMNI
Because the camp takes place outside of a FIFA international window, the full complement of MNT players isn’t available. Nonetheless, there is no shortage of examples of guys who launched successful international careers following a strong showing in January.
The list of players who made the leap is impressive and counts a number of guys who have a World Cup appearance on their resume (in bold): Pablo Mastroeni (2002), Tim Howard (2003), Jonathan Bornstein and Ricardo Clark (2007), Jozy Altidore and Maurice Edu (2008), Sacha Kljestan (2009), Geoff Cameron and Graham Zusi (2012), Matt Besler (2013), DeAndre Yedlin (2014), Gyasi Zardes (2015), Kellyn Acosta (2016) and Jorge Villafaña (2017).
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
The January Camp has always played a vital role in giving the regular members of U.S. Men’s National Team domestic player pool a leg up. More so than usual, this edition will provide a rising group of players an extended period to show their promise for the MNT as the program begins the early stages of building for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
THE ROSTERThis January Camp roster is primarily focused on the future. This time of year one normally sees a notable amount of young and uncapped players, this time around it’s even more pronounced. A total of 21 players on the 30-man squad selected by acting MNT head coach Dave Sarachan are 24-years-old and younger. In addition, 50 percent are hoping to make their international debut at the end of the month.
Most encouragingly, the group is heavily populated with youth national team experience. Twelve players have been included on the final U.S. roster at a FIFA Youth World Cup, including recent U-20 MNT graduates Danny Acosta, Tyler Adams, Justen Glad and Brooks Lennon, who were part of the team that reached the quarterfinal of the 2017 U-20 World Cup.
- READ MORE: Sarachan Discusses January Camp Roster
On the other end of the spectrum, Gyasi Zardes (37 caps) is the most seasoned player at the international level, followed by Juan Agudelo (27), Jordan Morris (24) and Paul Arriola (15).
Adding to the veteran component of the roster is reigning MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara at 28-years-old, along with Best XI selection and Toronto FC treble-winner Justin Morrow, who is 30.
Check out the full 30-man roster below:
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (4): Alex Bono (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN; 4/0), Cody Cropper (New England Revolution; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN; 3/0), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City; 0/0), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; 0/0), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club; 1/0)
MIDFIELDERS (11): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 15/2), Russell Canouse (D.C. United; 0/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Ian Harkes (D.C. United; 0/0), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 1/0), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution; 3/1), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 2/0), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 37/6)
FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 27/3), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City SC; 4/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 24/5), Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United FC; 0/0), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; 4/0), CJ Sapong (Philadelphia Union; 3/0)
Camp convenes Jan. 10 at the National Training Center in Carson, California. The MNT will conduct training sessions there as well as take part in multiple scrimmages leading up to its 2018 kickoff fixture against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Jan. 28 at StubHub Center (9:30 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas & UDN).
Tickets for the MNT's first match of 2018 are available here.