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A Look at the USMNT’s January Camp Roster

A young and mostly inexperienced group head west for Gregg Berhalter’s first January camp.

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-Columbus Crew SC at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, the U.S. Men’s National Team released the roster for its annual January camp, being held this year at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in San Diego. With the camp not falling inside of an international break on the FIFA calendar, it has typically served as an opportunity for coaches to call in a combination of younger players and names that ply their trade in MLS. This year’s camp is no different, and the roster consists primarily of young U.S.-based players with a few familiar faces thrown in.

Most recognizable are the names of Michael Bradley, Gyasi Zardes, Kellyn Acosta, and Paul Arriola. All four have at least 15 national team caps each and saw varying amounts of playing time during the most recent World Cup qualifying cycle. There will be those who shout and wave their arms saying no one involved in the qualifying failure should wear the jersey again, but realistically that’s neither practical nor the best idea, and the four’s veteran leadership should help the very inexperienced squad settle in a bit.

Zack Steffen, Sean Johnson, Greg Garza, Marky Delgado, and Sebastian Lletget help make up the group of players with the next most experience at the national team level, although they still don’t have many appearances or minutes under their belts. Out of the group of players with minimal experience, the person with the most caps among them is Wil Trapp, with 11. Garza has 10 caps and then the numbers drop off to six from there. With that being said, most of the players in that category have a good amount of experience on their respective MLS teams. In total there are 11 players with between one and 11 caps.

The last group is made up of uncapped players. Comprised of 12 total players, the group is made up of a mix of players that haven’t been called up to the senior team before — like Corey Baird, Jeremy Ebobisse, and Daniel Lovitz — as well as players who have been called up but simply haven’t played. Some of those names include Keegan Rosenberry, Nick Lima, and Justen Glad. Again, while this group doesn’t have any caps to their names, they have all found themselves contributing regularly to their MLS club’s seasons. Ebobisse actually notched a goal and an assist during the Portland Timbers’ march to the MLS Cup final.

To wrap up the January camp, the USMNT will have its first game under new coach Gregg Berhalter when it faces Panama in Glendale, AZ, on Jan. 27. It will then play Costa Rica in San Jose, CA, bringing the 2019 edition of the camp to a close and marking the end of Berhalter’s first camp at the helm of the team. In truth, its difficult to know what to expect from this team.

For me, it feels much like things did when the first few rosters under Dave Sarachan were announced with lots of young uncapped players, and lots of uncertainty about what sort of product we would see on the field. It’ll be very interesting to keep an eye on the group going forward, especially considering the roughly established player pool that took place under Sarachan’s tenure. Given the expected emphasis on young talent moving forward, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see a few names on this 27-man roster still receiving call-ups a year or two down the road.