Tuesday, January 05, 2016

REPORT: Feilhaber and Zusi Not on January US Camp Roster

The US men's national team was originally supposed to start their January training camp, aka Camp Cupcake, yesterday in California ahead of friendlies against Iceland and Canada. Last week though it was announced without reason that the camp would start a week later. Today a report from Grant Wahl came out with the reason for the delay. Apparently a number of veterans expressed concern over the camp, specifically that the first week of camp would be focused entirely on fitness to both US Soccer and coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Klinsmann and the federation listened pushing the start of camp back a week, but at the same time mentioned how the USA's first opponent, Iceland is already training in preparation for the game. The article implies that a number of veterans on the original 36 man preliminary roster were not included on the final roster because of their speaking up to the federation and Klinsmann. The list includes World Cup veterans like Nick Rimando, Chris Wondolowski, Clint Dempsey, and Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi.

Zusi's absence from the roster while a little surprising based on the history that he has had with the US team and Klinsmann regularly calling him up isn't fully surprising. Based on his form this past season Zusi really didn't deserve a call up to the national team right now, he finished the 2015 season with just two league goals and five assists, both career lows since gaining a regular starting spot for Sporting. As a whole this may be the best thing possible for Zusi, it'd mean he'd be with Sporting KC throughout all of preseason this year and be able to focus solely on that and improving his performance in 2016.

One player that should have been called up based solely on form is Kansas City's Benny Feilhaber. The 30 year old finished the 2015 season with 10 goals and 15 assists, numbers that saw him named to MLS's Best XI and a finalist for the Landon Donovan MVP award.

As has become the expected outcome when it comes to Feilhaber and the US national team, Feilhaber though will not be included in the roster for Camp Cupcake according to Wahl's report. Considering nothing has likely changed since this article that mentions Feilhaber having not heard from the national team since 2014. While it's great for Sporting that Feilhaber will be available to Sporting KC instead of splitting time between club and country, it speaks poorly from the aspect of being able to "earn" a call up to the national team by playing well for your club team.

That likely leaves Kansas City with just a single call up to this January's camp, Sporting's captain, Matt Besler.

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