United States soccer fans have gotten used to the month of January being a time when new players begin their attempts to impress the Head Coach and work their way into more prominent roles with the Senior National Team. At least in 2013, they will get a second chance in August.
Oftentimes, “Camp Cupcake” has a healthy dose of Major League Soccer products, as well as a few who are plying their trade overseas. For instance, the center back partnership Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler forged in the January camp has carried over into a successful qualifying stint thus far.
Well, Yank supporters who enjoy seeing the future of the team are in for another treat a week from today. On August 14th the USMNT will travel to Sarajevo to face Bosnia-Herzegovina in a friendly (2:30 pm: ESPN2, WatchESPN, Unimas).
Typically this would seem to be a throwaway date, with players gearing up for the commencement of their club seasons. But this season, we’re seeing a number of exciting young talents who are ready to declare their intentions for representing the United States. The Bosnia friendly will give Jurgen Klinsmann, as well as fans, a chance to see some new faces jump-start their efforts towards participation in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
While the US roster will not be made public until early next week, some club teams have already confirmed a few players have received their invitation—including these young men who have yet to feature for the Senior squad.
John Anthony Brooks – The tall, lanky German-American has been on the radar of many USMNT fans. At 20 years of age, he has a chance to be a mainstay within the US setup for many years. He helped Hertha Berlin secure promotion to 1. Bundesliga earlier this year, and thus it is an exciting time to see a well-pedigreed center back put his name into the hat for the US. Gonzalez and Besler have been a reliable center back pairing in qualifying, but Brooks could throw a wrench into the works. One has to assume that Klinsmann will want to give him a full run-out against Bosnia.
Aron Johannsson – Last week, the news came out that Johannsson wanted to put in for his one-time switch from Iceland to the United States. Iceland was understandably angered by this decision, but the 22-year old AZ Alkmaar forward was apparently influenced by former teammate Jozy Altidore to declare for his birth country.
In three seasons with Danish club AGF Aarhus, he scored 23 goals in 65 appearances. With Altidore’s transfer to Sunderland A.F.C., Johannsson figured to be getting plenty of time in a squad that facilitated Altidore’s ascendency to America’s preeminent forward in Europe. It seems that USSF jumped at the chance to bring Johannsson into the fold, and he might be an insurance policy should Altidore go cold.
Bobby Wood – Another forward, Wood grew up in Hawaii, but eventually ended up in Germany via California. A knee injury kept him out of action with TSV 1860 Munchen in the 2. Bundesliga for a good stretch of 2012. He recovered from surgery and has done well for Munchen since his return. The 20-year old was called into the camp for the Gold Cup, and it appears that Klinsmann wants another look at him.
Of course, there may be others who end up called into this camp that would excite fans. After a tough spring in Qualifiers, it would be nice to see Timothy Chandler back in the fold at one of the outside back positions. Josh Gatt has endured some ill-timed injuries in recent years, keeping him from participating with the team in key situations. And after his showing at the Gold Cup, many will want to see Mix Diskerud get a chance to coordinate the attack with a full squad.
And we mustn’t forget Terrence Boyd, the Rapid Vienna forward that broke onto the scene last year, but didn’t get much of an opportunity to perform in the Qualifiers. He could be getting a move to England, with reports that Watford F.C. is interested in his services.
If you can’t get home in time to watch the match on Aug. 14, make sure you set your DVR.