Bruce Arena made his first call-up for his return to the head coaching position of the United States Men’s National team, calling in 32 MLS based players. This time period is not an official FIFA window, which would allow European based players freedom to be released from their respective clubs, allowing Bruce the opportunity to observe a new set of players, as well as bringing some of his favorites back into the fold.
With over half of the 32 players having less than 10 caps, it is a good opportunity to showcase skills in a different environment than their normal MLS club. Many MLS fans often chime in about this player or that player deserving USMNT time, especially Sebastian Lleget, Darlington Nagbe, and Walker Zimmerman, to name a few. With Arena’s extensive time in MLS, he has a good understanding of the talent many of these young players have, as well as their capacity to fit within his system down the road.
One player with great potential in his USMNT future already had to withdraw from the camp as Bill Hammid will not be attending camp due to injury. Nick Rimando leads the goalkeepers currently in camp with 21 caps, but three other goalkeepers, Bill Hamid, David Bingham and Luis Robles, each have 2 caps, leaving the claim to the back up spot to remain undetermined.
Also of note, there are 2 MLS players who are currently not attached to any MLS club. DaMarcus Beasley’s contract with the Houston Dynamo has expired, leaving him as a free agent, along with Jermaine Jones, most recently with the Colorado Rapids. The LA Galaxy have recently acquired Jones’ rights by way of trades in the SuperDraft, but a contract has not yet been signed by the two parties. As far as Beasley’s club future, there are not many clues at this time.
Primarily, this camp is to allow Bruce Arena to build roster depth in positions where he sees there is a void and weed out the weaker players before any meaningful games are played. He has called in several seasoned veterans to challenge the up-and-comers to be able to prove their worth for the future and ultimately earn a roster spot for future tournaments.
Photos by ISI. Story by BJ Pergl.