Jurgen Klinsmann tapped on the shoulders of three Real Salt Lake players for his upcoming "dry run" at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Captain Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando are no surprise — the two have become fixtures for the national team under Klinsmann.
But then there’s 20-year-old Luis Gil.
Called up to his first-ever USMNT senior camp, the RSL midfielder clearly impressed Klinsmann and those watching with his play down the stretch in the regular season and the MLS Cup playoffs. RSL fans clamored on Twitter for Gil to be invited, and now, he’s got his shot.
This January camp is essentially a "show me" camp for those MLS players who want to make an impression on the coaching staff. That isn’t necessarily the case for guys like Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Graham Zusi, Brad Davis or Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez.
It’s more predicated toward players like Gil and fellow youngsters Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids) and DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders). Klinsmann himself said that in a video posted on USSoccer.com.
"It’s very important, especially for MLS players, to get off vacation and start working again and get into a rhythm and build your foundation for your entire season for that upcoming year," he said.
Klinsmann also said taking 23 players to Sao Paulo for 12 days to train and soak in the atmosphere of soccer in Brazil will more be served as a learning tool on what it could be like to be an athlete on the world’s stage in a country known for soccer.
"It’s really exciting kind of to start working with players here and there that sometimes don’t know what it really means to go to a World Cup, shat it means to be part of a senior national team program," he said, "so that kind of educational part that we’re going to play just start working with them twice daily and guide them throughout that couple weeks."
Rimando, Beckerman and Gil will report to the camp on Jan. 6 in Carson, Calif., to train at the StubHub Center from Jan. 7 to 12. Following those days of training, Klinsmann will choose a 23-man roster to travel to Brazil for a dry run at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in June 2014. Players will stay train in Sao Paulo from Jan. 13 to 25 before returning to Carson for the final five days of the camp.
The January camp will conclude with an international friendly against South Korea on Feb. 1 at the StubHub Center.
As pointed out and tweeted by Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe (@tribkurt), the RSL trio will be back to work prepping for international duty as well as RSL preseason just 30 days after the penalty-shootout loss to Sporting Kansas City on Dec. 7.
Due to their call-ups, Beckerman, Rimando and Gil will miss the first leg of the club’s preseason, which will take place from Jan. 25 through Feb. 1 at the home of the RSL-Arizona Academy at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz. The RSL trio will be expected to return to the club and participate in its last two preseason trips to Irvine, Calif. from Feb. 4 through 14 and Tucson, Ariz. for the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup from Feb. 19 through March 1.
Many expected defender Chris Schuler to earn a nod to Klinsmann’s January camp, but the center back had surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle on Dec. 12. Had he not needed the procedure, my best guess would be Schuler makes the trip to Carson and to Sao Paulo. When speaking to one national soccer scribe at the MLS Cup final, he said there’s no reason Schuler couldn’t be a fixture at center back for the 2018 World Cup.
But that is a ways away, with RSL players in camp focusing on getting to Brazil.
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