CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team has opened their annual January camp at StubHub Center, but as preparations begin for their match against Korea Republic on Feb. 1, more details are emerging of the camp’s unique schedule.
The U.S. will train at StubHub Center for a total of 13 days before departing for Brazil where they will train at the facility of Sao Paulo FC from Jan. 13-25 where they will play a series of closed-door scrimmages against Sao Paulo’s first team. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is expected to take 23 players to Brazil, but could take more depending on the players’ fitness levels. Any player that does not travel to South America is expected to continue training in Carson prior to the Feb. 1 match.
“We'll try things out there. We want to get to know the people. We want to build relationships, if it's at the hotel, at the training ground. We want to get a feel for how things work there – for the Brazilian lifestyle, in a certain way – and this is a good opportunity,” Klinsmann told reporters on Tuesday. “So we connected it because no other [World Cup] team really has that January camp happening. It's because of the schedule that MLS has gives us that opportunity.”
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi noted on Tuesday that the competition between players for a spot on plane to Brazil “makes it all real” for all players involved in the January camp, a sentiment that was echoed by LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez.
“I don’t know if I’m going to Brazil so I have to keep on working hard and not give Jurgen a reason to say no to me,” said Gonzalez. “I have to keep on working hard and everyone is in the same boat here because no one is penciled in. It’ll help everyone work that much harder and increase everyone’s game.”
Former LA Galaxy defender Hong Myung Bo names his Korea Republic squad for friendlies against Mexico and U.S.
When the U.S. National Team take on Korea Republic on Feburary 1, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez won't be the only connections between the two teams.
Former LA Galaxy defender and Korea Republic head coach Hong Myung-Bo announced his Korea Republic squad for their upcoming friendlies against Mexico on Jan. 29 in San Antonio and against the U.S. on Feb. 1 at StubHub Center. The squad is entirely made up of Asian-based players.
The winner of the Bronze Ball at the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Korea, Bo made 38 appearances for the Galaxy in two years with the club from 2003 to 2004, tallying two assists.
— Raza Deportiva (@razaespn) January 2, 2014
LA Galaxy Academy product Brian Iloski was among the 36 players called by U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos’ for the upcoming training camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
The training camp will run from Jan. 3-12 and serve as preparation ahead of the 2015 Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Iloski, who will be a sophomore at UCLA next fall, saw little action with the Bruins in his first season in Westwood making just nine appearances scoring one goal and an assist while missing much of the end of the season with an injury. During the2012-13 U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy season, Iloski made 10 appearances for the Galaxy Under-18’s tallying a single goal.
The complete roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS (4): Jeff Caldwell (N.C. Fusion; Todd, N.C.), Santiago Castaño (New York Red Bulls; Union City, N.J.), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Maryland, Philadelphia Union Academy; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (10): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake; Rochester, N.Y.), Michael Amick (UCLA; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Sulaiman Dainkeh (Maryland, D.C. United Academy; Reston, Va.), Conor Donovan (Capital Area RailHawks Academy; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Trevor Haberkorn (Furman; Roanoke, Texas), Grant Lillard (Chicago Fire Academy; Hinsdale, Ill.), Jalen Markey (North Carolina, Seattle Sounders Academy; Renton, Wash.), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Shaquell Moore (IMG Academy; Powder Springs, Ga.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (14): Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy; Escondido, Calif.), Arun Basuljevic (New York Red Bulls Academy; Mahopac, N.Y.), Marco Delgado (Chivas USA; Glendora, Calif.), Luis Felipe (Cruzeiro Esporte Clube; Ouro Branco, Minas Gerais), Ian Harkes (Wake Forest, D.C. United Academy; Fairfax, Va.), Jacori Hayes (Wake Forest; Bowie, Md.), Brian Iloski (UCLA, LA Galaxy Academy; Escondido, Calif.), Eric Lickert (SC Freiburg; Glotteral, Germany), Saalih Muhammad (Dinamo GNK), Adam Najem (Akron, New York Red Bulls Academy; Clifton, N.J.), Cristian Roldan (Washington; Pico Rivera, Calif.), Herbert Robinson (Club Santos Laguna; Monclova, Coahuila), Joel Sonora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina), Omar Thompson (Unattached; Miami, Fla.)
FORWARDS (8): Andrew Brody (Louisville, Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy; Orlando, Fla.), Benji Lopez (Real Salt Lake; San Diego, Calif.), Ricardo Lopez-Espin (Shattuck-St Mary’s; Miami, Fla.), Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls; Morganville, N.J.), Alex Muyl (Georgetown, New York Red Bulls Academy; New York, N.Y.), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union; Dresher, Pa.), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; Beaverton, Ore.), Travis Wannemuehler (NC State; Evansville, Ind.)
LA Galaxy Academy products Malcolm Jones and Jorge Ruiz were named to upcoming U.S. Under-18 camp in Florida by head coach Javier Perez on Wednesday.
Ruiz is one of the Galaxy Academy’s leading scorers with 10 goals in 12 games this season for the U-16’s while Jones, a defender, has made nine appearances with a single goal. The camp runs from Jan. 4-11 in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
The camp has a distinct California flavor with the two Galaxy Academy players being among five Californians to be called up to camp, the highest number of any state.
The complete roster is below.
— LA Galaxy Academy (@LAGalaxyAcademy) January 1, 2014
The LA Galaxy announced their first match of their 2014 preseason schedule on Monday as they will face Armenian champions FC Shirak at StubHub Center on Feb. 8 at 6 pm.
Shirak are currently in second place in the Armenian Premier League and are led by Ivorian midfielder Serge Debl who is currently tied for the APL lead in goals with nine tallies. The club from Gyumri, Armenia -- the second largest city in the Eurasian country -- have won the APL three times, the Armenian Cup once and the Armenian SuperCup four times. The preseason match is the first time that the Galaxy will host a club from the Armenian Premier League.
LA are expected to open the preseason in mid-to-late January and the match is undoubtedly the first in preseason slate that will be designed to prepare the Galaxy for the start of the 2014 MLS regular season and their 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match against Club Tijuana.
Tickets for the match will go on sale on Jan. 14 at lagalaxy.com or by calling 1-877-3GALAXY.
In what might be my favorite holiday video this year, Juninho offers his own special Happy Holidays message after firing a free kick in front of a wall made of Christmas trees.
Check it out below.
Landon Donovan is widely considered one of the most accomplished players in U.S. Soccer history and it was no surprise on Friday when he was named to the federation's all-time Best XI.
Donovan was the leading vote-getter with a total of 52 votes in a list that included such luminaries like Carlos Bocanegra, Eddie Pope, Clint Dempsey and Eric Wynalda.
The LA Galaxy forward has a total of 144 appearances for the U.S. and holds the all-time leads for goals (46) and assists (47). Due to his success with the U.S., Donovan has made a total of three FIFA World Cups in 2002, 2006 and 2010, and is expected to make his make fourth tournament next year when the U.S. head to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Donovan has 12 World Cup appearances with five goals.
The 31-year-old also had a storied career with the U.S. youth national teams as he was awarded the Golden Ball award when he helped the U.S. Under-17's to a fourth place finish at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand while also appearing in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina with the U.S. Under-20's.
The complete list is below:
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 20, 2013
LA Galaxy product Haji Wright is fresh off his five goal Golden Boot performance helping the U.S. Under-17's win the Nike International Friendlies.
Wright, Christian Pulisic, U-17 head coach Richie Williams, and goalkeeper Kevin Silva reacted to the U.S. performance following the Americans' 4-1 victory over Brazil in this video by U.S. Soccer.
Check it out below.
It’s been quite a week for LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright.
The Galaxy Under-16 forward scored two goals during the U.S. 4-1 victory over Brazil to help the Americans win the Nike International Friendlies for a second year in a row. With his two goals against the Brazilians, Wright brought his total to five, taking home the tournament’s Nike Golden Boot.
It’s been quite a run this week for Wright who has started all three games in the tournament against the likes of Portugal, England and Brazil with a brace in each of the final two matches. Wright began the week scoring the lone goal in U.S. 2-1 defeat to Portugal, but then shined in the U.S. victory over England with a pair of second half finishes that helped the Americans win 5-1.
The forward added to his account twice against Brazil as he gave the U.S. the lead in the eighth minute with an unassisted strike off a counter attack. After the South Americans equalized, the U.S. scored twice to take a 3-1 lead before Wright added the final tally with a left-footed finish off a Joe Gallardo cross. While Wright won the Golden Boot, U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Silva won the tournament's Golden Gloves and Christian Pulisic earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player award.
Thoughts on Wright’s performance?
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MLS lost one of their all-time greats on Tuesday as Pablo Mastroeni retired on Tuesday ending his illustrious 16 year playing career.
A hard-charging field general in central midfield, Mastroeni calls full time on a career that saw him suit up for the Miami Fusion, Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy while making 334 MLS regular season appearances (eighth all-time in league history), playing 27,522 minutes and earning 316 starts (both fifth most all-time). The veteran defensive midfielder was also a fixture on the U.S. National Team for nearly a decade as he made appearances in the 2006 and 2006 FIFA World Cups making a total of five appearances. However, he also played in four CONCACAF Gold Cups—winning in 2005 and 2007 –as well as making an appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.
My lasting memories of Mastroeni stem from the grit that he showcased on the field breaking up opposition attacks and the eloquence that he displayed when answering questions from journalists. A remembrance of Mastroeni’s career is not complete without discussing his confident performance in the U.S. historic 2-0 victory over Mexico in the 2002 FIFA World Cup round of 16 as he befuddled El Tri’s Cuauhtémoc Blanco and his ability to lead the Colorado Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup.
During his brief time with the Galaxy, it was always interesting to see him impart his advice on the club’s young players of all positions -- like Jack McBean who actually lived with Mastroeni in Manhattan Beach toward the end of the season -- who were eager to learn from a league great.
What’s next for Mastroeni? The tough as nails yet cerebral midfielder could head into coaching in some capacity with the Colorado Rapids. With his family still in Colorado, Mastroeni could spread his extensive knowledge of the game while also staying close to home. The Rapids have stated that they intend to honor Mastroeni for his service to their club at a ceremony during one of their home matches in 2014.
But no matter what Mastroeni decides to do with the next stage of his life, he’ll always be remembered as one of the league’s greats.
Below are some memories from a few others from around the league:
Pablo Mastroeni was someone you wanted on your team both on the field and off because he made it that much more worth it. #legend
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 10, 2013
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 10, 2013
Probably nobody in the sport that I respect more than Pab's. What an honor to play next to a legend. My Captain forever... #ThanksPablo
— Drew Moor (@drewmoor) December 10, 2013
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) December 10, 2013
What’s your favorite Pablo Mastroeni memory?
Share them below.