The European and Mexican club season is all but over but that doesn’t mean players get to take a vacation. In just 18 days, the top soccer nations in the Americas will face off in a special tournament all over the United States. The U.S. Men’s National Team is getting ready as manager Jurgen Klinsmann calls up 22 European and Mexican club based players to Miami for a “transition camp,” culminating in their first of three friendlies to prep for the Copa America Centenario against Puerto Rico on May 22.
The 22 players are a mix of experience and youth, USMNT veterans and newcomers, set to take on Puerto Rico in Puerto Rico for the first time ever. The 22 players include:
Brad Guzan – Aston Villa/England
Tim Howard – Colorado Rapids/United States (was on Everton)
Zach Steffen – SC Freiburg/Germany
John Brooks – Hertha Berlin/Germany
Geoff Cameron – Stoke City/England
Eric Lichaj – Nottingham Forest/England
Matt Miazga – Chelsea/England
Michael Orozco – Club Tijuana/Mexico
Tim Ream – Fulham/England
DeAndre Yedlin – Sunderland/England
Alejandro Bedoya – Nantes/France
Emerson Hyndman – Fulham/England
Fabian Johnson – Borussia Monchengladbach/Germany
Perry Kitchen – Heart of Midlothian/Scotland
Alfredo Morales – Ingolstadt/Germany
Caleb Stanko – SC Freiburg/Germany
Danny Williams – Reading/England
Paul Arriola – Club Tijuana/Mexico
Julian Green – Bayern Munich/Germany
Fabrice Picault – FC St. Pauli/Germany
Amando Moreno – Club Tijuana/Mexico
Bobby Wood – Hamburg/Germany
These 22 players will make up the transition camp in Miami. In total, 15 players attending the camp are part of the 40-man preliminary Copa America Centenario roster that must go down to 23 by May 20. Jurgen Klinsmann hopes that the transition camp will solve some of the issues that plagued them in the Gold Cup last year.
Speaking about the camp and the general pre-Copa America plan, Klinsmann said:
“We are doing this week in Miami and finishing off the week with a game in Puerto Rico because it’s really important in terms of transitioning our players coming in from Europe and some who are already done in Mexico to keep them in a flow, to keep them in a rhythm. One of our lessons from last year’s Gold Cup was because the tournament was pushed into July, we couldn’t transition our European-based players and some of the Mexican players perfectly.”
In case you are wondering where all the MLS players have gone, they will be placed on the team after the Puerto Rico friendly. MLS players who are selected for the final Copa America roster will be with the team after they are released by their MLS teams on May 23. They will then meet up with those who had been on the team in Puerto Rico and were selected for the Copa America to make up the final 23-man USMNT Copa America roster. Those 23 will compete in the final two friendlies on May 25 against Ecuador and May 28 against Bolivia. Their first Copa America group stage game takes place June 3 against Colombia in Santa Clara, CA.
This is certainly a different approach from Klinsmann and the national team and one that hopes to result in a good finish as well as provide further knowledge as the United States gears up to resume World Cup Qualifying this fall ending with the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This tournament will be a prime opportunity to face some of the top nations in world soccer in a competitive environment and will be an opportunity that the USMNT will surely not squander.