Being that it is January, that means the annual early-year United States national team camp roster is out. We had been hoping to see a deserving call to FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges in this camp but instead we were pleasantly surprised to see MLS Rookie of the Year winner Tesho Akindele called instead.
Akindele was one of 28 players called up by United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Akindele is one of 14 members of this roster that is uncapped by the US team.
The camp, which runs from Jan. 12-Feb. 8, will be conducted across two continents. After 12 days in California, the team will head to Santiago in Chile for training from Jan. 25 to Jan. 29 as it prepares for its first friendly of the year against fellow 2014 World Cup side Chile on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
DEFENDERS (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (out of contract), Dennis Flores (Club Leon), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (6): Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julio Morales (Tepic), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
Great to see Akindele earn his first call. If you recall, he turned down a call from Canada back in the fall during FCD's playoff run. It appears now that he was more interested in representing the US than Canada.
So no Hedges? I'm not sure at this point what the FCD captain has to do to get Klinsmann's attention. Maybe it has more to do with other defenders being younger than him (Sorto, O'Neill, Dean, and Birnbaum) in what will be a time that sees the US focus more on the Olympic team in 2015. Or maybe it just means that Hedges will be one of those guys that is good enough on a MLS level but not good enough on an international level.