Jan 092018

LOS ANGELES: Acting US national team coach Dave Sarachan opted for young prospects in calling upon 30 players on Monday for the Americans annual January training camp.

The session is set to open Wednesday at Los Angeles with the culmination of workouts to be a January 28 friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the training camp in Carson, home of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.

“It’s all about the future and opportunity. We clearly feel that we want to have a look at these players that have the chance to be a part of the National Team for a number of years to come,” Sarachan said.

The US team failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Russia and has eight candidates fighting for the presidency of the US Soccer Federation, with Sunil Gulati to be replaced in voting next month. So the Americans have no chance at a World Cup until 2022 in Qatar even as they bid with Mexico and Canada to co-host the 2026 event.

And the camp comes on the same day that reports emerged that one of their top teen prospects, Monterrey midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez, has opted to play for Mexico rather than the US senior-level squad after years on American junior teams.

The most capped player in camp with 37 is Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Gyasi Zardes followed by New England forward Juan Agudelo with 27 and seattle forward Jordan Morris with 24. “It’s a long journey forward, but this is the first step starting in 2018 for the program and for these players to now get experience at this level,” Sarachan said. US goalkeeper Bill Hamid is the lone Europe-based player on the roster. He will join Danish side Midtjylland following the Bosnia and Herzegovina match.

Gonzalez selects Mexico over USA: Jonathan Gonzalez, a teen midfielder for Mexican side Monterrey, has opted to play international football for Mexico over the United States, according to reports Monday. Univision and ESPN, citing unnamed sources, reported that Gonzalez will represent El Tri after playing for the United States at youth level. That decision must receive final approval from authorities but the 18-year-old, born to Mexican parents in suburban San Francisco, has made his choice. Gonzalez’s performances for Monterrey led to him being named in the Mexican League’s Best 11.

FIFA rules allow a player to make a one-time nationality change if they have not played for a senior national team in a competitive match.If paperwork is completed in time, Gonzalez could make his debut for Mexico on January 31 when they play Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mexican coach Juan Carlos Osorio spoke to Gonzalez by telephone and a Mexican official visited Gonzalez during the off-season while the player was reportedly unhappy at not receiving an explanation after being left out of the US squad for a November friendly in Portugal.The Mexicans are preparing for the World Cup in Russia in June, while the Americans failed to qualify.

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