When US men’s national team soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann named his 23-man roster on Thursday, all eyes were diverted to the biggest ommission on the roster, the extremely gifted and internationally known Landon Donovan.
“This is certainly one of the toughest decisions in my coaching career, to tell a player like him, with everything he has done and what he represents, to tell him that he’s not part of that 23 right now,” Klinsmann told the media Thursday. “I just see some other players slightly ahead of him. He’s been in that final 30 roster and now the last 10 days, he did everything right. He was always positive; he took it the best way possible. His disappointment is huge, which I totally understand. He took it very professionally. He knows I have the highest respect for him, but I have to make the decisions as of today for this group going to Brazil. I just think the other guys, right now, are a little bit ahead of him. I told him that and he understands it, but obviously he is very disappointed.”
The reverberations of Donovan’s cut are still being felt in the soccer world as the US prepares for the World Cup this summer in Brazil. But not overlooked here in Massachusetts is one Geoff Cameron, the defender for Stoke City F.C. in the English Premiere League and an Attleboro native. He was first called up to the USMNT roster in 2009 but this will be his first opportunity to make an impact on the international stage for the US.
With two years in the EPL to his credit after time with the Houston Dynamo, Cameron has the versatility to fill a number of positions on the team. He plays right back for Stoke City, but he has experience as a center back, which Klinsmann views him as first and foremost, and as a midfielder. That versatility could be enormously advantageous for the US, which along with dropping Donovan, cut midfielders Maurice Edu and Joe Corona, as well as right back Brad Evans, all veterans of the team.
“It’s an exciting moment when you have narrowed it down as a coaching staff and these 23 players that you’ve chosen can focus now purely on Brazil,” Klinsmann said. “We can go into more specific things about technical approaches and about the opponents. For the players, it’s very important to know that they are now part of it, they can relax and know they are on the list going to Brazil and taking it from there.”