CHICAGO (May 16, 2016) - U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called 22 players to Miami for a transition camp to begin preparations for the 2016 Copa America Centenario. The opening week will culminate in a friendly against Puerto Rico for the first time in team history on May 22 in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Kickoff at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium - home of future NASL side Puerto Rico FC - is set for 12 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on FS1, UniMas and UDN.
In the group made up exclusively of U.S. players based in Europe and Mexico who have just completed their club seasons, a total of 15 players traveling to camp in Miami are in contention for the 23-man squad that will compete in the 2016 Copa America Centenario, having been included in the binding 40-man preliminary list submitted on April 29 to tournament organizers. The final roster for Copa America must be turned in no later than May 20. MLS-based players selected to compete in the tournament will be released by their clubs on May 23 and join the team that day in Dallas.
"We are doing this week in Miami and finishing off the week with a game in Puerto Rico because it's really important in terms of transitioning our players coming in from Europe and some who are already done in Mexico to keep them in a flow, to keep them in a rhythm," said Klinsmann. "One of our lessons from last year's Gold Cup was because the tournament was pushed into July, we couldn't transition our European-based players and some of the Mexican players perfectly."
"We added some players coming from the younger side to look at them and to get a roster together, but the main purpose of this camp is to keep the rhythm, keep going and to transition perfectly into the preparation for the Copa America Centenario."
The match against Puerto Rico will be the first of three warm-up games for the U.S. heading into the Copa America Centenario in June. Following the trip to Puerto Rico, the USA will face Ecuador on May 25 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas (7 p.m. CT; ESPN2 and UniMas) [ TICKETS] and Bolivia on May 28 at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas (7 p.m. CT; FS1 and Univision networks) [ TICKETS].
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Zach Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (7) : John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham)
MIDFIELDERS (7) : Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (5) : Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Fabrice Picault (FC St. Pauli), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
- Tim Howard joins the squad after having played his final match as a member of Everton FC. Ending his 10-year career at the club, he will join the Colorado Rapids following the Copa America Centenario.
- Bobby Wood finished the 2. Bundesliga season with 17 league goals for Union Berlin, setting a single-season record for a U.S. international in Germany. His performance led to a May 15 transfer to Hamburg SV in the German Bundesliga.
- Fabian Johnson completed the Bundesliga campaign with Borussia Monchengladbach tallying six goals, including two in the Champions League. 'Gladbach finished the season in fourth place and earned a spot in Champions League qualifying for next year.
- Weston, Fla., native Alejandro Bedoya finished the second half of the Ligue 1 season with four goals and two assists for Nantes.
- Geoff Cameron completed the year with 30 appearances for Stoke City, which ended up in the top half of the Premier League title.
- DeAndre Yedlin capped off a successful loan spell at Sunderland by helping the Black Cats retain their place in the Premier League. Having spent 237 days in the relegation zone, the team secured another year in the top flight on the second-to-last matchday of the season.
- After extending his contract with Hertha Berlin, John Brooks dealt with nagging injuries at the end of the campaign. The capital club finished in seventh place, meaning the road to the Europa League will begin with qualifying in late July.
- Club Tijuana contributes three players to the MNT camp, including veteran defender Michael Orozco along with newcomers Paul Arriola and Amando Moreno.
- Seven players in this camp are not eligible to be selected for the Copa America Centenario roster, as they were not a part of the binding 40-man preliminary list. This includes five players making their debut appearance in a senior MNT camp: Arriola, Moreno, Fabrice Picault, Caleb Stanko, and Zach Steffen.
- Stanko and Steffen are part of the SC Freiburg side that claimed the title of the 2. Bundesliga and promotion into Germany's top flight.
- Julian Green returns to the senior team for the first time since April of 2015, while 20-year-old Emerson Hyndman is back after having made his debut for the Senior Team in the 1-0 win against Czech Republic on Sept. 3, 2014 in Prague.
- Perry Kitchen made the most of his winter move to Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League, appearing in all 10 of the club's league matches following his arrival in March.
- ussoccer.com -