As the World Cup gets closer, the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) will invite a full 30 players to try out for one of the 23 roster spots. USMNT head coach Juergen Klinsmann was expected to send invitations to 26 or 28 players originally. With the injuries that have plagued potential World Cup players from the USA, the head coach decided it would be better to look at 30 players.
Klinsmann must submit a final roster to FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, on June 2. With the training camp starting on May 12, that leaves less than a month for the head coach to evaluate the players to finalize a roster to represent the United States in Brazil this summer. Having 30 players in camp will make it more difficult to fully evaluate all the players in a short time. However, the coach feels confident that with the training sessions planned for the camp, he will put together the best possible team for the final roster.
The training camp will be held at Stanford University, which will lead into the first of three international friendlies at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on May 27. This first tune-up game will be against Azerbaijan. It is not known if Klinsmann will have made any cuts to the roster at this point. The team will have a second tune-up game on June 1, a day before the final roster is due to FIFA. While the head coach may not make any cuts prior to this game, it will be the last time for him to look at the team to decide on the final roster that will head to Brazil.
With 30 players set to try out for the USMNT Wold Cup roster, the invite list will be primarily made up of players from last years Gold Cup tournament team. With the large camp, the sideline general will also be able to take closer looks at some of the younger players that may have the potential to earn a spot on the final squad. Bayern Munich’s Julian Green, who played in his first match for the team in the April friendly against Mexico, is expected to be in camp. Green is one of the young players that will be a part of the future for US soccer. With injuries or a poor performance during training camp by any veteran member could open the door for the rising star.
After the final roster is submitted to FIFA, the team will face off against Nigeria for the teams final warm up match prior to the World Cup. The match will take place in Jacksonville, Florida on June 7, nine days before competition begins in Brazil. While the match is a friendly, you can expect the USMNT to play hard the full 90-minutes. When the USMNT starts World Cup play on June 16 with group play. With the US drawing a group that includes two of the top three world ranked teams, it is important that head coach can put together the strongest and the healthiest team possible for Brazil.
The US will face off against Ghana in the first match. The USMNT is ranked higher than Ghana, however, the USA has struggled against the country in the past. After Ghana, the next opponent will be Portugal, the third ranked team in the world. To close out group play, the United States will face the number two ranked team, Germany. Having both Portugal and Germany along with a tough Ghana team has given the group is being referred to as “the Group of Death” by the soccer world. This means that it will be a rough start to the tournament, making it tough for the USMNT to survive the first round of play.
With an invite sent out to 30 top players, most with USMNT experience, the athletes are expected to fight hard as they try to earn a spot on the World Cup roster. With Green dreaming of this first chance to play in a World Cup trying out with veterans like Landon Donovan hoping to compete in one final tournament, it will be an interesting tryout. Klinsmann may already have an idea of what the team will look like, however, anything can happen during training camp. There may be some surprising names that are left off the roster.
Commentary by Carl Auer