Monday, March 20, 2023
FIFA 2022

Walker Zimmerman headlines USMNT’s first post-World Cup roster

The United States males’s soccer workforce would not have a full-time coach, however it does have its first roster because the 2022 World Cup after interim boss Anthony Hudson on Wednesday named a 24-player squad for this month’s pleasant video games towards Serbia and Colombia in Los Angeles.

Midfielder Kellyn Acosta and central defender Walker Zimmerman are among the many 5 holdovers from the U.S. workforce that went undefeated within the group stage at Qatar 2022 earlier than being eradicated within the spherical of 16 by the Netherlands. All 5 play in MLS, which kicks off its new marketing campaign subsequent month; many of the key American World Cup members, equivalent to Juventus’ Weston McKennie and Leeds’ Tyler Adams, are in the midst of the European season with their golf equipment and subsequently unavailable for this camp.

Still, the listing Hudson — an assistant to Gregg Berhalter in Qatar who took the helm this month as U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart weighs resigning Berhalter although the 2026 occasion hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico — chosen contains seven gamers who characterize golf equipment exterior the U.S., probably the most within the 20-plus yr historical past of the nationwide workforce’s annual January camp. It additionally comprises 13 gamers who’ve by no means seen a minute of worldwide motion.

Below is the total squad plus three takeaways following Wednesday’s announcement.

Goalkeepers:Roman Celentano, FC Cincinnati; Sean Johnson, free agent; Gaga Slonina, Chelsea (England)

Defenders: Jonathan Gómez, Real Sociedad (Spain), Julian Gressel, Vancouver Whitecaps; DeJuan Jones, New England Revolution; Aaron Long, LAFC; Jalen Neal, LA Galaxy; Sam Rogers, Rosenborg (Norway); John Tolkin, New York Red Bulls; Walker Zimmerman, Nashville SC

Midfielders:Paxten Aaronson, Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany); Kellyn Acosta, LAFC; Aidan Morris, Columbus Crew; Paxton Pomykal, FC Dallas; Alan Soñora, free agent; Eryk Williamson, Portland Timbers

Forwards: Paul Arriola, FC Dallas; Cade Cowell, San Jose Earthquakes; Jesús Ferreira, FC Dallas; Matthew Hoppe, Middlesbrough (England), Emmanuel Sabbi, Odense (Denmark); Brandon Vazquez, FC Cincinnati; Alejandro Zendejas, Club America (Mexico)

A golden alternative for USMNT hopefuls

It’s simple to dismiss the January get collectively as a junior varsity health camp or “camp cupcake,” however loads of future World Cup standouts started and/or kick-started their worldwide careers on the year-opening occasion, together with all-time U.S. greats Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. 

“There’s some really, really big names on that list,” Hudson stated in an interview with U.S. Soccer. “They need to appreciate the opportunity in front of them.”

Although many of the 2022 U.S. World Cup squad must be younger sufficient to return in 3.5 years, this mid-winter get-together might characteristic one or two future stars, too. Teenagers Paxten Aaronson, the youthful brother of Leeds’ Brenden Aaronson, and keeper Gaga Slonina headline the unusually excessive variety of European-based prospects launched by their golf equipment to take part this month.

The youthful Aaronson simply joined German Bundesliga aspect Eintracht Frankfurt from the Philadelphia Union whereas Chelsea signed Slonina from the Chicago Fire. But with each nonetheless a methods from first workforce motion abroad, getting two high-level video games on house soil this month is mutually helpful for all events.

It’s not simply the European guys who’ve the chance this month to start their worldwide careers on the correct foot. Brandon Vazquez led all Americans in scoring in MLS final season and can be keen to indicate that Berhalter made a mistake by no more significantly contemplating the uncapped goal ahead for a visit to the World Cup. The U.S. struggled mightily to complete in Qatar, managing simply three objectives in 4 video games.

Matthew Hoppe among the many greater surprises

The most established European-based participant summoned is former Schalke and Mallorca ahead Matthew Hoppe. Hoppe moved to England final summer time to spice up his enjoying time forward of the World Cup. Instead, the 21-year-old striker, a standout throughout the USMNT’s Gold Cup win in 2021, has barely featured for second tier Middlesbrough, showing in simply six of 27 league matches.

“He’s a really good lad, he’s been terrific in training, so he’s just got to be patient,” ‘Boro manager Michael Carrick said last week. Getting some action — and ideally a goal — against the Serbs and Colombians would boost Hoppe’s confidence, expose him to interested buyers and send him back to his club with some badly needed match fitness under his belt.

Alejandro Zendejas headlines the dual nationals

Six players on Hudson’s squad are also eligible to represent Mexico internationally: Vazquez, Cade Cowell, Jonathan Gomez and Alejandro Zendejas. And while it’s no guarantee that any of them will ultimately commit to the U.S. long-term — LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo earned a senior cap for the Americans in 2020 before switching allegiances to El Tri — having them in camp can’t hurt. (German-born Julian Gressel also snared his first invite since becoming a U.S. citizen, while Alan Soñora can also play for Argentina.)

Right back Gomez is a particularly intriguing talent but Zendejas, 24, is the closest to being able to contribute to the USMNT right away. The winger has made more than 100 top-flight appearances in MLS and Liga MX, with 12 goals in 39 outings since joining Club America last year. He was also a member of the U.S. entry at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he lined up alongside Adams and three other 2022 World Cup team members in Christian Pulisic, Luca de la Torre and Haji Wright.

“He’s an exciting player, a technical player who plays out wide on the right or left, and has a really good final product,” Hudson said of Zendejas. “He’s just super excited to come in and obviously has history with the youth national teams.”

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and ladies’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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