US men's team set for winter camp in Qatar

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The US men’s national team is set to visit Qatar for a long winter camp, details showed yesterday.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter has named 25 players who will feature in the training camp to be held from January 5 to 25 at Aspire Academy, a story posted on said.

The squad ‘will train and play closed-door scrimmages’ during the camp, the story added.

After the three-week winter training camp, Berhalter’s boys will return to Los Angeles to face Concacaf rivals Costa Rica on February 1 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

“At the start of an exciting year, this is a great opportunity to continue our process and build on the foundation established in the last 12 months,” Berhalter said. 

“At the same, there are a number of players getting their first exposure to the senior national team who will be provided the platform to make a positive impression. We appreciate all the support and cooperation from MLS and the clubs that released their players and gave us a chance to get a head start on the challenges ahead,” he added.

US men’s national team is expected to make the most of their time in Qatar, hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

Berhalter’s players are also getting ready for the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which kicks off in September.


The January training camp in Qatar, along with the friendlies against Costa Rica and away to the Netherlands in March, are the prelude to the important official competitions for the US men’s national team in 2020, the story added. 

Having won its group, the US advanced to the final four of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League where it will face Honduras in a semifinal in the first week in June. The winner moves on to the championship match three days later against the victor of Mexico-Costa Rica.

From there, the road to Qatar begins with the start of the “Hex”, a six-team group that will be play a round-robin format to determine the three automatic entrants from the region for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The participants in the Hex will be determined by the June edition of the FIFA rankings, and the first six matches will be played on double-dates during the windows in September, October and November.

With the confidence and anticipation of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the US men’s team will take a first opportunity to experience the football facilities, customs, weather, and other logistical and performance considerations in the host nation. 

Utilising similar opportunities prior to the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil proved extremely beneficial in the team’s planning and preparations for those tournaments.

When camp opens in Qatar on January 5, the roster will have an average age of 23 years, 83 days and eight caps.

Twelve players are uncapped, while a total of 18 hold eight or less senior-team appearances.

On the flip side, Gyasi Zardes (55), Jordan Morris (39), Paul Arriola (32), Cristian Roldan (19) and Aaron Long (16) are the most-capped players on the squad.

Fourteen players are age-eligible for participation in the 2020 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship in March.

Additionally, fourteen MLS clubs are represented on the January Camp roster, with FC Dallas leading the list with three selections.

Two players hail from clubs abroad, with Wolfsburg U-19 forward Ulysses Llanez joining midfielder Christian Cappis of Danish SuperLiga side Hobro on the roster.

Having represented the USA at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup, unattached midfielder Bryang Kayo also joins the squad.

Six players have earned invites to their first senior team camp: defenders Julian Araujo and Sam Vines; midfielders Christian Cappis and Bryang Kayo; and forwards Jesus Ferreira and Ulysses Llanez.

The roster features four players from the US squad that advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup: Araujo, Llanez, Mark McKenzie and Paxton Pomykal.

Meanwhile, veteran goalkeeper Bill Hamid returns to the national team camp for the first time since June 2018.