U.S. men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named an initial squad of 16 players that will begin reporting today to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. As many as 13 additions will be announced May 20.
The first group consists largely of foreign-based players who have completed their seasons and are ready to prepare for the series of matches that culminate in the start of FIFA World Cup qualifying on June 8 against Antigua & Barbuda in Tampa, Fla.
“All the players coming now for this very special four-week period represent our core,” said Klinsmann. “It’s a clear signal to other players that right now it’s down to business. We’re playing World Cup qualifiers. It’s not about experimenting or seeing different players, it’s about who we think are the best.
The remaining roster additions will be a mixture of domestic and foreign-based players to round out the training camp. The team will train in Orlando until May 25, when Klinsmann will select a final 23-man roster for the upcoming five matches. The group then departs for Jacksonville, Fla., in preparation for the match against Scotland on May 26.
"We are excited to start with this first group of players, and then welcome more at the beginning of next week," Klinsmann said. "It’s the first time we will have our best players together for a longer stretch of time, so we have a chance to work very hard and go out and get results.”
The nearly month-long series of training and games has been designed to mimic the circumstances the team will face in a tournament format, according to the team.
“During the next four weeks, we want to see players stepping up and confirming what they achieved throughout the year, which has been becoming leaders in their clubs," Klinsmann said. "We have five players now who are captains on their respective club teams. We want to see even more players become proactive, not looking only at the coaching staff to see what is expected, but that they actually sense what is next and take ownership of our program."
INITIAL U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (4): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS (1): Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
May 15: Beckerman, Castillo, Cherundolo, Corona, Guzan, Johnson, Jones, Torres, Williams
May 16: Guzan, Morales
May 18: Bradley, Bocanegra, Dempsey, Edu, Howard