The USA had its share of issues at center back this summer. Starters Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks struggled at times in the Gold Cup, which ended in a shocking semifinal loss to Jamaica.
One option the U.S. did not have available was Geoff Cameron, a starter at center back and center midfield for Jurgen Klinsmann's side over the previous few years. Cameron was left off the roster entirely, and in an interview with Goal, he explained that it was a decision encouraged by his club team.
"I had some injuries towards the end of the season and Stoke wanted me to rest this summer to get fully healthy and be ready for preseason," Cameron said. "It’s been a long three or four years since I came over from the MLS, signing in England I haven’t really had an offseason – World Cup qualifiers, the World Cup, friendlies.
"I wanted to go, but I had a conversation with Jurgen [Klinsmann]. We both understood that I was in a tough position – I wanted to play for the U.S., but at the same time I wanted to respect the club, they are the ones who pay my wages every weekend. It’s hard to be a player in that type of situation, but at the same time we have to respect Stoke’s wishes. I think it worked out well. I feel good, healthy, sharp and I have come in really well."
Though he wasn't a part of the USA's Gold Cup roster, Cameron still followed his teammates on their ultimately ill-fated journey through the confederation championship.
"I was watching the games from afar – in Singapore, when I was waking up, they were kicking off," the 30-year-old said. "I am obviously disappointed."
Mexico's Gold Cup final win over Jamaica set up a showdown between the USA and El Tri on Oct. 10 at the Rose Bowl, with a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup at stake. Though Cameron missed out on the Gold Cup, he's hoping to be a part of the one-game playoff.
"There is no doubt that we will put together a good team for the Mexico game and that’s going to be a big rivalry. Hopefully I'll be called up for that one."
Samindra Kunti contributed reporting to this story.