Right before we all rung in the new year, the United States men’s national team announced they were shaking things up for 2020’s January Camp.
USsoccer.com states, “With the confidence and anticipation of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the USMNT will take a first opportunity to experience the football facilities, customs, weather, and other logistical and performance considerations in the host nation.”
That’s right. The US will begin January Camp halfway around the world in Doha, Qatar, before flying back to Carson, CA to face fellow CONCACAF foe, Costa Rica On February 1st.
Of the 25 players that Gregg Berhalter called in, 22 hail from MLS squads. Included in the squad in New York Red Bulls defenseman, Aaron Long. The three non-MLS players are all first-timers to the senior team: forward Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg and teammate of John Brooks) and midfielders Christian Cappis (Hobro IK and teammate of Emmanuel Sabbi), Bryang Kayo (unattached, but previously with USL side, Orange County SC).
Long made his debut with the Stars and Stripes in October 2018. Since then, he’s appeared 16 times, tallying three goals in the process. Two of his goals came against Trinidad & Tobago in June’s Gold Cup group stage match.
While the US is holding camp in Qatar, they will run into a familiar face. The USSF announced that the USMNT will face Jesse Marsch’s RB Salzburg in a friendly match on January 18th. Camp in Qatar will run January 5th through 25th, before the team returns home for their February 1st match with Costa Rica.
The MLS season begins February 29th, but some squads start CONCACAF Champions League the week of February 18th. The Red Bulls open at home on March 1st against FC Cincinnati.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography