CHICAGO -- Jurgen Klinsmann is looking to add some depth to the U.S. soccer team.
With European and Mexican teams in the middle of their seasons, Klinsmann filled his 20-man roster for next month's training camp with young, U.S.-based players. All but two play in Major League Soccer, and more than half of the players announced Thursday have two or fewer appearances with the senior national team.
"They are the next in line behind the established players, and this is a chance to prove themselves," Klinsmann said. "We will spend the next few weeks introducing them to our ideas on how we want to play and what it means to be a part of the national team. Ultimately, it will create more depth for us, which you need at this level."
MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez got his first call-up under Klinsmann, as did the league's Rookie of the Year, C.J. Sapong. Gonzalez, who made his U.S. debut against Brazil in August 2010, was a key part of the defense for the MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy, who tied a league record with 17 regular-season shutouts and allowed just 38 goals. Sapong, a forward, led all MLS rookies with five goals and five assists.
Dallas midfielder Brek Shea, one of only three players to appear in all seven matches since Klinsmann was hired in July, is on the training camp roster. So is Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who has made five starts and six appearances under Klinsmann. Klinsmann also called up Ricardo Clark, who has not played for the U.S. since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Beckerman will be joined by RSL teammate Nick Rimando.
Courtesy of his mid-year return to the USMNT fold after the appointment of Klinsmann in July, Beckerman will be relied upon to help set the tone for the 20-man group during the upcoming camp and friendlies. The RSL captain, who spent two weeks training with German Bundesliga side FC Kaiserslautern in November following the end of RSL’s campaign, has earned starting nods in five of the USA’s seven games under Klinsmann, including the squad’s most recent contests at France and Slovenia last month. The 29-year-old Beckerman has collected 18 “caps” for the U.S. Senior team and will be making his fourth January camp appearance in the last six years (2007, 2008, 2010 & 2012). The Crofton, Md., native will be the fourth-most-capped player in camp, behind only Benny Feilhaber (38), Heath Pearce (33) and Ricardo Clark (32).
Rimando is also no stranger to the USMNT’s January gatherings, as the upcoming stint will mark his third consecutive year as part of the camp collective. Rimando will serve as the elder statesman of the gathering for a second straight year, as the 32-year-old netminder will anchor a goalkeeping corps that also includes up-and-comers Bill Hamid (21) and Sean Johnson (22). The 12-year MLS veteran was called into the U.S. Senior team side on three occasions during 2011, most recently in October in advance of friendlies against Honduras and Ecuador. Rimando’s last USMNT appearance, a spotless 45-minute starting spell on Jan. 22 against Chile, marked the Southern California native’s fifth cap for the Red, White & Blue.
"The European-based players and the Mexican-based players aren't available, so this is their shot," Klinsmann said. "Their goal has to be to move ahead of the guy in front of him in their position, and the only way they can do that is to show how good they are."
The camp will be held Jan. 3-26 in the U.S. and Panama. The Americans will play two exhibitions during the training camp, facing Venezuela on Jan. 21 in Phoenix, and traveling to Panama for a Jan. 25 game.
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago), Nick Rimando (Salt Lake)
Defenders: Geoff Cameron (Houston), A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles), George John (Dallas), Zach Loyd (Dallas), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland, Denmark), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Benny Feilhaber (New England), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorad), Brek Shea (Dallas), Graham Zusi (Kansas City)
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New York), Teal Bunbury (Kansas City), C.J. Sapong (Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).