World Cup Countdown: 27 Days!
The US team opened training camp in Palo Alto, Calif., on Wednesday, and players have been warned that this will be a tense, grueling few weeks. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann must cut his roster from 30 players to 23 before June 2.
Here is what he had to say on Chris Wondolowski:
We believe that Wondo absolutely deserves to be part of the 30-man roster. He knows it’s a big opportunity and a big chance for him to make his case now in the next three weeks to become part of the 23-man roster. His personality, he doesn’t have to change anything. Every time he comes to the National Team environment, he gives you everything he has. He always goes 1000 percent. He knows he’s getting evaluated by the coaches and what he’s doing day in, day out. He personally doesn’t have to do anything different in how he has done things over the last year that we’ve worked with him, and he came quite a way. He came from a position in which over a longer stretch he hadn’t scored for the National Team, to his first goal then, and into more goals during the Gold Cup and now the last goal he scored against Mexico. He built his own case and he built it stronger and stronger. We’re looking forward to working with Wondo because it’s always a pleasure to have him in camp. He is a competitor. He is determined. You give him a one percent chance and he wants to make it 100 percent at the end of the day. He will be one of those drivers going into the next couple of weeks.”
And here are Klinsmann's thoughts on Jozy Altidore...
“I think it’s very important that you understand the phase a player is in right now, as of today. What phase of his career he’s in, what he’s learned so far throughout his career, and what he’s able then to do in the future time. Jozy is still a very young player and he is going into his learning curve. We have worked with him now over the last three years, and he’s gone from a much younger player into a more mature player, playing very good games for us and scoring important goals for us. Still, we see Jozy in his development phase. Jozy is not built yet. Jozy has not reached his potential yet. Our job, as coaches, is to help him reach his highest potential. I think the next two months will be a big part of that next learning curve for Jozy Altidore. I’ve always said that he has upside; he hasn’t shown it yet in different places maybe. I think we saw last summer a big part of that upside in the World Cup Qualifiers and in some friendlies as well. We coaches are looking forward to having him in camp and having our influence into the next step and we believe that Jozy can play a very big World Cup. Obviously he has to work the next couple of weeks to confirm our trust, which we think he will absolutely do. But I think he is still a player to be developed; he is not there yet.”