January camp is upon us once again. A staple of the U.S. Men’s National Team calendar, this year’s training camp officially kicks off a huge cycle which will culminate in the USA co-hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
- READ: Check out the USMNT’s January Camp roster
- Q&A: Anthony Hudson Discusses the 24-Player USMNT Squad
And as is always the case, the 2023 January camp will provide an opportunity for a number of young players to begin carving out a place with the USMNT, an effort that could ultimately lead to a World Cup roster spot on home soil in three-and-a-half years. That last sentence may seem a bit heady, but history tells us it’s a prescient statement.
That’s because since 1999, 30 players who either debuted or earned their second cap during the team’s first camp of a calendar year have gone on to make at least one FIFA World Cup roster. Of those, 17 players made the World Cup squad for that particular cycle, with at least one player doing so in each of the five FIFA World Cups the USMNT has participated in since 2002.
And of the 26 players that were part of the USA squad at the recently concluded World Cup in Qatar, nine players earned either their first or second cap during a January camp match, among them Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Tim Ream, Matt Turner and Walker Zimmerman.
Also included among the 30 players are five who went on to earn 100 or more caps for the USMNT: Landon Donovan (157), Clint Dempsey (140), DaMarcus Beasley (126), Jozy Altidore (115) and Carlos Bocanegra (110).
So while the January matches won’t allow a full first-team USMNT squad to assemble, the last 20+ years of team history indicates at least one newbie player that faces Serbia or Colombia this month will be on the 2026 FIFA World Cup roster. Play it out a bit further. Whether you attend the Serbia or Columbia matches or watch them live on television, fans of the program you can say that you saw ______ earn his international debut three-and-a-half years before he represented the USA in the World Cup on home soil.
Here’s a breakdown of the 30 USMNT players that earned their first or second cap in camps prior to the start of the MLS season and went on to make a FIFA World Cup roster:
|Player||Cap No.||Date||World Cup Years|
|Ben Olsen||2||2/21/1999 vs. Chile||2006|
|Carlo Llamosa||2||2/21/1999 vs. Chile||2002|
|Clint Mathis||2||2/21/1999 vs. Chile||2002|
|DaMarcus Beasley||1||1/27/2001 vs. China PR||2002, 2006, 2010, 2014|
|Landon Donovan||2||1/27/2001 vs. China PR||2002, 2006, 2010|
|Carlos Bocanegra||2||1/19/2002 vs. Korea Republic^||2006, 2010|
|Nick Rimando||2||1/18/2003 vs. Canada||2014|
|Clint Dempsey||2||2/9/2005 vs. Trinidad and Tobago*||2006, 2010, 2014|
|Brad Guzan||1||2/19/2006 vs. Guatemala||2010, 2014|
|Ricardo Clark||2||1/20/2007 vs. Denmark||2010|
|Kyle Beckerman||1||1/20/2007 vs. Denmark||2014|
|Jonathan Bornstein||1||1/20/2007 vs. Denmark||2010|
|Jozy Altidore||2||1/19/2008 vs. Sweden||2010, 2014|
|Alejandro Bedoya||1||1/23/2010 vs. Honduras||2014|
|Geoff Cameron||1||2/24/2010 vs. El Salvador||2014|
|Chris Wondolowski||1||1/22/2011 vs. Chile||2014|
|Omar Gonzalez||2||1/22/2011 vs. Chile||2014|
|Mix Diskerud||2||1/22/2011 vs. Chile||2014|
|Tim Ream||2||1/22/2011 vs. Chile||2022|
|Sean Johnson||1||1/22/2011 vs. Chile||2022|
|Graham Zusi||1||1/21/2012 vs. Venezuela||2014|
|Matt Besler||1||1/29/2013 vs. Canada||2014|
|DeAndre Yedlin||1||2/1/2014 vs. Korea Republic||2014|
|Kellyn Acosta||1||1/31/2016 vs. Iceland||2022|
|Walker Zimmerman||1||2/3/2017 vs. Jamaica||2022|
|Tyler Adams||2||1/28/2018 vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina||2022|
|Cristian Roldan||2||1/28/2018 vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina||2022|
|Jesús Ferreira||1||2/1/2020 vs. Costa Rica||2022|
|Brenden Aaronson||1||2/1/2020 vs. Costa Rica||2022|
|Matt Turner||1||1/31/2021 vs. Trinidad and Tobago||2022|
|*Notes World Cup Qualifier; ^Notes Gold Cup Match|