With the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) eyeing play in the summer Olympic Qualifiers, 2021 Concacaf Nations League Final Four, the Gold Cup, and the start of 2022 World Cup regional qualifiers, senior team head coach Gregg Berhalter and his staff have kicked-off the new year by announcing today the invitees to the annual January training camps.
Colorado Rapids players Kellyn Acosta, Jonathan Lewis, and Sam Vines have all earned invitations to the camps, starting January 9 at IMG Academy in balmy Bradenton, Florida.
Both Acosta and Vines recently enjoyed good outings for the Yanks during their caps. Lewis has been waiting in the wings and deservingly earns another opportunity to impress U-23 head coach Jason Kreis and Berthalter, alike.
Noticeably missing is Rapids midfielder, Cole Bassett. He was in the USMNT’s December camp; however, did not earn a cap in the friendly vs. El Salvador.
The hard-working Acosta has been pre-assigned to the senior team camp, while Lewis and Vines will start off in the U-23 camp.
Acosta will be paired with the likes of L.A. Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget and Seattle Sounders’ Cristian Roldan. Veteran forwards Jozy Altidore, Paul Arriola, Jordan Morris, and Chris Mueller will also be members of smaller-than-usual senior roster.
Jonathan Lewis and Sam Vines have more competition with a roster that includes 7 forwards and 10 defenders, mostly from MLS clubs.
In January, the two camps will operate side-by-side. The senior group will be compromised of 12 players ages 24 and older and operate on one pitch, while a U-23 squad led by Jason Kreis will train on an adjacent field.
Berhalter and Kreis intend move the younger players to the senior side throughout the three-week camp period. Match play is planned for the end of January. No opponent has been officially named, but it is rumored that the USMNT will play Serbia on January 31 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.
“This is an important year for our national team programs, and we are looking to maximize every possible opportunity,” Berhalter said in a USMNT press release. “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.”
Kreis added, “With Olympic qualifying approaching quickly, this training camp is a great opportunity to prepare ourselves and evaluate some new faces. While 2020 was a very challenging year, it was impressive to see so many U-23-eligible players make major strides on the field. Some of them have been involved with the senior team over the last few months and it’s exciting to now get our players and staff back together in camp alongside Gregg and his group as we prepare for a very important qualifying tournament.”