There are nearly a million traditions in baseball, including one of the oddest and greatest customs. Every spring, there is special day nationally known as “Pitchers and Catchers Report”, the first day of Spring Training.
I live in the Midwest, a land of cold, dreary, mushy weather all throughout February. The day that pitchers and catchers make the trip to their warmer locals put me in a better move — it marks the first sign of Spring.
The soccer equivalent of that moment will come this Monday on January 6th, when Jurgen Klinsmann will open the first World Cup training camp. All right, it’s a little early for it to be showing signs of Spring, but, just.. ya’know… work with me here.
The twenty-six man roster is made up of twenty-five MLS players (exception being Mix Diskerud) and includes ten of the guys who helped in the World Cup qualification campaign. Now that their seat is reserved for Brazil, the Yanks must begin training early, since the coming onslaught of Ghana, Portugal, and Germany cannot be taken lightly.
The camp will start in Carson, California, where all twenty-six members of the training squad will get to know each other and shake off any winter cobwebs that may have been creeping up. After six days, the team will be shortened to twenty-three men, and take a journey down to Sao Paulo, Brazil for an early look at what the atmosphere will be like in June. The Brazil session of training will be held from January 13th through the 25th.
The USMNT campers will then return to southern California and finish the camp on the 1st of February with a friendly match against Korea Republic. The game is set to start at 5 PM Eastern and will be shown live on ESPN2, WatchESPN, and UniMas. It is one of only two games that are scheduled so far before the official naming of the World Cup roster, which will be released in May.
Chicago Fire’s Mike Magee, winner of the 2013 MLS MVP, will be trying to get the call-up to become part of the USMNT, a position that has alluded him so far.
There is a lot of young, high-potential studs on this list. Players like DeAndre Yedlin, Luis Gil, and even Michael Harrington may very well find themselves on future U.S. rosters.
Also, let me add that five of these players are from Sporting Kansas City, the winners of the MLS Cup, and my favorite team.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (10): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)