New U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena called 32 players to the National Training Center in Carson, California in January to prepare for a pair of international friendlies in January and early February. It was the first training camp coached by Arena since he took over in November, and just two months before Final Round Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup resumes.
The entire 32-player roster came from Major League Soccer, representing 15 different clubs, and included nine World Cup veterans, eight 2016 MLS All-Stars, and three season-end league award winners. The group included Walker Zimmerman, a Georgia native who played club soccer with Gwinnett Soccer Association and is a current starter with FC Dallas.
The USMNT’s first game with Arena at the helm came on January 29, a 0-0 draw with Serbia at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Arena earned his first win since taking over the USMNT on February 3, defeating Jamaica, 1-0 in front of close to 18,000 fans at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Arena featured completely different lineups in the pair of tune-up games, starting 20 different players over the course of the two games.
“With games at the end of the month and the World Cup Qualifiers in March, this is going to be a critical time for us,” Arena said. “It’s important that we come in and quickly establish an understanding of what we are about and how we go about building our team. As for the players, we are coming into this with an open mind, so it’s a huge opportunity for them.”