FRISCO, TX - MARCH 19: Zach Loyd #19 and George John #14 of FC Dallas clear the ball away from Cory Gibbs #5 of the Chicago Fire as Ugo Ihemelu #3 and Daniel Hernandez #2 of FC Dallas look on during the second half at Pizza Hut Park on March 19, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
It's finally happened for George John. The big central defender, along with Brek Shea and Zach Loyd, has been called up to the January camp taking place in Glendale, AZ and Carson, CA. They will also be eligible to feature in the US Men's National Team games against Venezuela and Panama.
I'm very excited for George John to get his chance to impress Klinsmann while for Loyd this callup has to be very exciting given his having to miss a previous camp due to injury.
Jump for the full national team squad and press release
FRISCO, Texas (Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011) – FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea and defenders George John and Zach Loyd are among 20 players invited to January training camp with the U.S. National Team, U.S. Soccer announced today.
The camp will run Jan. 3-26 in the United States and Panama. The U.S. will host Venezuela on Jan. 21 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Four days later, the U.S. faces Panama at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. Fans can follow both games live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.
The players and staff will report to Phoenix, Ariz., on Jan. 3 to begin training. The team will move to U.S. Soccer's National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., to continue training Jan. 13-20, and then return to Arizona to finalize preparations for Venezuela.
"This is a very important opportunity for these players," said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of his January roster. "They are the next in line behind the established players, and this is a chance to prove themselves. 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. I’m very curious and excited to see this group."
The annual camp held in January for players in their offseason is a largely domestic-based group that includes 18 players who ply their trade in the United States. More than half the players have two caps or less for the full National Team, and five will be seeking their first appearance.
Major League Soccer is well represented, with 12 clubs contributing players. FC Dallas sends a trio, led by midfielder Shea, who along with Omar Gonzalez is part of the 2011 MLS Best XI. Shea is one of only three players to appear in all seven matches coached by Klinsmann thus far.
Six of the players spent time in the offseason training with clubs in Europe: Agudelo (Stuttgart, Liverpool), Beckerman (FC Kaiserslautern), Bill Hamid (West Bromwich Albion), Sean Johnson (Everton), Jeff Larentowicz (Bolton) and Shea (Arsenal). Additionally, five players on the roster are age-eligible to compete in qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games: Agudelo, Bunbury, Hamid, Johnson and Shea.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
DEFENDERS (7): Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), George John (FC Dallas), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)