By Michelle Kaufman
U.S. national coach Jurgen Klinsmann invited 22 players to Miami this week for a training camp as the team begins to prepare for the Copa America Centenario in June. The players chosen for this camp are based in Europe and Mexico, and just completed their club seasons. Major League Soccer players will join the group at a later date.
At the end of the week, the team will fly to Puerto Rico for a May 22 friendly in Bayamon, the first-ever between the two teams. The match will be at noon, and shown on FS1 and UniMas.
After Puerto Rico, the U.S. team plays Ecuador on May 25 in Frisco, Texas (7 p.m. CT; ESPN2 and UniMas) and Bolivia on May 28 in Kansas City, Kansas (7 p.m. CT; FS1 and Univision).
Fifteen of the players in camp -- including Weston's Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes) -- are eligible for the Copa America 23-man roster, as they were included in a 40-man provisional roster that was due at the end of April. The final roster for Copa America must be submitted by May 20. MLS players who make the final roster will be released by their clubs on May 23 and join the team that day in Dallas.
Among the players invited were veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is headed to the Colorado Rapids after a 10-year career at Everton in England, and Bobby Wood, who just set a scoring record for American players in Germany with 17 goals for Union Berlin of the 2 Bundesliga. Wood was so impressive that on Sunday he was transferred to Hamburg of the Bundesliga.
The Mexican club most represented is Club Tijuana, with Michael Orozco and national-team rookies Paul Arriola and Amando Moreno.
"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."
All the U.S. practices are closed to the public.
The Miami camp roster....
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)