November 30, 2021


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon is the lone newcomer on U.S. men’s national roster

Coach Gregg Berhalter has called up 38 players for a split-squad national team training camp in Bradenton, Fla., in advance of one of the busiest years ever for the U.S. soccer team.

The senior team, which played just four times in 2020, will compete in the first CONCACAF Nations League semifinals, the Gold Cup and 2022 World Cup qualifying this year while the U-23 team will play in the Olympic qualifying tournament, planned for March, ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Games.

Twenty-six of the players summoned are eligible for the Olympics, which is an age-group tournament for the men. On Jan. 24, many of the U-23 players will join the 12 MLS players named to the senior team for a match at the end of the month. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the date, site and opponent have not been announced.

The camp, which will begin Saturday, will mark the first time the U-23s have gathered since the Olympic qualifying tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, was postponed by the coronavirus 10 months ago.

The lone newcomer on the small senior roster is LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon. He will join a team that includes former LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman, who last year was named the MLS Defender of the Year in his first season with Nashville SC, and midfielder Sebastian Lletget of the Galaxy. Lletget was the only player to participate in all four U.S. games last year.

Galaxy defender Julian Araujo, 19, was called up to the U-23 team. Araujo made his senior national team debut last month and is one of eight players on the Olympic team to have appeared in a full international match.

“This is an important year for our national team programs and we are looking to maximize every possible opportunity,” Berhalter said in a statement. “For the senior team players, this is an opportunity to continue to develop as a group and build on the foundation of a busy and challenging year. Being alongside our U-23 team gives that group a chance to prepare for Olympic qualifying while further integrating into our culture and game model.”

The U-23 players will be auditioning for coach Jason Kreis, who called the camp “a great opportunity to evaluate some new faces.” Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are eligible for the Olympic team. Twenty-four of Kreis’ 26 players come from MLS teams.

National team roster

(club and international appearances in parentheses)

Goalkeepers: Sean Johnson (New York City FC, 9), Matt Turner (New England Revolution, 0)

Defenders: Tristan Blackmon (LAFC, 0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls, 18), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC, 13)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids, 24), Sebastian Lletget (Galaxy, 17), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC, 19)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC, 115), Paul Arriola (D.C. United, 34), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC, 39), Chris Mueller (Orlando City SC, 1)

U-23 roster

Goalkeepers: JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), Brady Scott (Austin FC)

Defenders: Julian Araujo (Galaxy), George Bello (Atlanta United FC), Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew SC), Henry Kessler (New England Revolution), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)

Midfielders: Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC), Bryang Kayo (Wolfsburg/Germany), Andrés Perea, (Orlando City SC), Tanner Tessmann (FC Dallas), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

Forwards: Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Daryl Dike (Orlando City SC), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Benji Michel (Orlando City SC), Djordje Mihailovic (Montreal Impact)