Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
'Good brotherhood' at U.S. World Cup prep camp
by Mike Woitalla, May 16th, 2014 8:07PM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup


By Mike Woitalla

Jurgen Klinsmann's early start to World Cup training camp, which launched at Stanford University on Wednesday, isn't just about preparing for Ghana, Portugal and Germany. It's also a tryout for 30 players aiming to earn a spot on the 23-man roster by June 2.

“There are 30 guys here who all have a very good chance of being on this team,” says midfielder Graham Zusi, who’s considered a lock for Brazil. “The competition is probably unlike it’s ever been.”

Matt Besler, a central defense starter for more than a year, is also considered sure bet for the final 23.

“There’s not a lot of tension,” Besler says. “We’re all teammates at the end of the day. We’re working for one goal as a team. ...  It’s about finding the right balance between being competitive with each other, pushing each other, but also coming together as a team and trying to get better as a group.”

Zusi and Besler are eying their first World Cup. Defensive midfielder Maurice Edu played in three of the USA’s four games at the 2010 World Cup, where he famously scored in the 85th minute of a 2-2 tie with Slovenia but had the goal mysteriously called back by Mali referee Koman Coulibaly, who never explained why.

“I still don’t know what the call was,” says Edu. “After it happened, I watched the replay a few times, but I’ve put it behind me.”

Despite his experience, which includes 46 U.S. caps, Edu must battle for a ticket to Brazil. His infrequent playing time for Stoke City and an injury suffered on loan at Bursaspor resulted in Klinsmann limiting him to just three appearances in 2013. He moved back to MLS, with the Philadelphia Union, to improve his chances of getting back in the national team fold. But competition is stiff. If Klinsmann had not brought German products into the squad, Edu would be a shoo-in.

“That has never crossed my mind at all,” says Southern California-raised Edu says. “These guys are all very much a part of the team. … This team makes people feel as welcome as possible very quickly. It’s a good brotherhood among this group. The attitude is to make guys who come in from different parts of the world to feel part of the team quickly because we want this team to be as good as possible.”

While half the 32 World Cup teams announced final or nearly final rosters, Edu believes having a prolonged tryout will benefit the USA.

“It has to be intense,” he says. “This is crunch time. There are 30 players and only 23 spots for Brazil. Everyone is competing. You have to expect the level to be high. You have to expect hard tackles. At the end of the day it will just make the team stronger. Our job is to make Klinsmann’s job as difficult as possible in selecting the team but in doing that the process will bring out the best in the team.”

Proving himself at a tryout is of course nothing new for a player like Edu, who remembers his experience as a teenager when he aimed to become part of the youth national team program through the Olympic Development Program (ODP).

“It wasn’t that nerve-wracking because I was among a bunch of my friends and we all went through the process the same time, pushing and motivating each other to make the team,” Edu says. “It’s a similar situation here. I’m among friends I know well and trust and who have confidence in me. So for me it’s about going out there and showing what I can do.”

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Confidential
U.S, result against Mexico won't change issues swirling about Klinsmann's tenure    
Is the Concacaf Cup classico to be waged between the USA and Mexico Saturday at the ...
USA is better off without the hysteria surrounding El Tri    
The hiring of Juan Carlos Osorio marks the sixth time in the past two years that ...
Year of parity marks 20th MLS season    
There are certainly some poor teams in MLS this season for which parity seems a long ...
U.S. national team succession will begin sooner than you might think    
As Jurgen Klinsmann stated in his pre-Concacaf Cup camp interview with U.S. Soccer, Saturday's USA-Mexico game ...
MLS: Best of September    
More brilliance from the Atomic Ant, another top forwar.d robbed by the league's all-time shutout king, ...
Sporting KC isn't about to rest on its impressive laurels    
There is a lot to like about Sporting Kansas City. Its ownership group has built one ...
Does the Open Cup final need a home, too?    
Since closing of the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame building in Oneonta, N.Y,. five years ago, ...
MLS home teams are winning at a near-record pace    
Has the rapid pace of MLS expansion and corresponding increase in soccer-specific stadiums translated into better ...
MLS stars align at just the right time    
September was a crazy month in MLS. Not once but in two consecutive weeks the top ...
Western Conference race merits attention from all MLS fans, regardless of loyalties    
By expanding its playoff field from five teams per conference to six, MLS has broadened interest ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives