New U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has named his first roster, for the annual January training camp, and three Los Angeles Football Club players were among those selected: Walker Zimmerman, Christian Ramirez, and Tyler Miller.
Of the trio, Zimmerman is the USMNT “veteran,” who has all of four caps at senior level. With a new manager, all of the players in the pool need to impress the boss, but if Zimmerman has a strong campaign, he could solidify a place in the player pool for years to come. Also, if he does not depart early, that could mean he’ll re-sign for LAFC, but we’ll see what happens there.
Ramirez makes his second consecutive January camp call-up, but the striker did not get to play in any game action last year and is looking for his first cap at senior level. Again, blank slate under the new coach and all, but he’ll want to impress because he probably get many better chances to make a case to be in the mix the rest of the year.
Then there’s Miller, the big surprise of the group. While new coaches often make surprises with their first roster, whether to shake things up for the established players or to simply get a look at a previously overlooked guy, I think Miller’s selection is a surprise not just for LAFC watchers for USMNT observers overall. He had a pretty good season for LAFC, his first as a starter at MLS level, but I’m not sure many would have projected him for the national team. At the same time, with the team overall in a transition phase, this is perhaps the best (and only?) opportunity for the 25-year-old to make a case in a goalkeeper pool that is in flux right now.
The camp will take place at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista, just outside San Diego, and will play two friendlies at the end, against Panama in Glendale, Ariz. on Jan. 27, followed by a match against Costa Rica on Feb. 2 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. Road trip, anyone?
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