Jurgen Klinsmann’s US January camp squad is a sharp contrast between young and old

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Long-time United States international Jermaine Jones joins Toronto FC stars Micheal Bradley and Jozy Alitidore in a US January camp squad divided between Major League Soccer stalwarts and national team prospects getting their first shots at a long-term camp. US Soccer announced the 23-man squad on Wednesday, with players set to report to Carson, Calif. on July 11 for the senior program’s annual winter training camp.

This year’s camp runs through Feb. 6, with the near-month-long evaluation culminating with friendlies against Iceland (Jan. 31) and Canada (Feb. 6). Both matches will take place at StubHub Center in Carson.

“As we always do, we start out our year with a January camp where we give the opportunity to the next wave of players to come in and make an impression and see if they are ready to step it up into international level, if they are ready to understand what it takes to become a National Team player.” Klinsmann explained, via US Soccer. “This camp will be a little bit different because we’re going to mix it with almost half-and-half with senior players that are already National Team players or some that are older and maybe get the chance to play their first cap, and a lot of the Under-23 players that hopefully qualify us for (the 2016 Summer Olympics in) Rio de Janeiro.”

Altidore, coming off his first season back in Major League Soccer, is the senior member of a forward group that includes former Stanford University standout Jordan Morris and Galaxy attacker Gyasi Zardes, two players who’ve been frequent callups over the last year. But the strike force also includes Columbus’s Ethan Finlay, New York City FC 22-year-old Khiry Shelton and Stuttgart prospect Jerome Kiesewetter. Finlay will be looking to establish himself in Klinsmann’s player pool, while the latter two will have their sites on this summer’s Olympic games.

“The January camp has always been the camp of opportunities for players that badly, badly want to knock at the door of the Senior National Team and want to become a player of international status …” Klinsmann said.”You want these players really to come in and make a point and take that opportunity to try to come back into that group by the end of March and maybe play World Cup Qualifying.”

In midfield, Bradley is joined by fellow national team regulars Jones and NYCFC’s Mix Diskerud, as well as fellow Major League Soccer veterans Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution) and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew). Highly-regarded San Jose midfielder Fatai Alashe is also part of the corps, as is Columbus’s Cameroon-born veteran Tony Tchani, who moved to the U.S. from his country of birth 12 years ago.

“The camp will be led by Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, and the established guys that badly want to use this camp to get a head start into their very busy season,” Klinsmann explained. “The other huge focus really is that we need to help our younger, standard U-23 players to get a head start because they still need to qualify for Rio de Janeiro.”

In defense, Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler is the most experienced of a group that includes New York Red Bulls’ Matt Miazga and two players who can play fullback as well as midfield: FC Dallas’s Kellyn Acosta and Montreal’s Eric Miller. Chicago’s Matt Polster and Vancouver’s Tim Parker, coming off their first MLS campaigns, get their first extended senior team looks, while San Jose midfielder Marc Pelosi, previously part of Liverpool’s system, is listed as a defender by US Soccer.

In goal, DC United’s Bill Hamid is joined by Red Bulls veteran Luis Robles, who will look to build on the one senior cap he earned in at the 2009 Gold Cup.

The January camp roster, as announced by US Soccer:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (DC United), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

DEFENDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (Unattached), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)

FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Jordan Morris (Unattached), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

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