Camp Cupcake: Please RVSP This Week

As Camp Junior Mint (U-23) gets underway in Florida this week, Jurgen Klinsmann should be shortly submitting his roster for who gets an Evite to the annual Camp Cupcake in Carson, CA.

This will of course be Klinsmann’s first time selecting for the camp that normally sees predominant enrollment of fringe US and Nordic domestic league players.

What have we learned thus far fromt Klinsmann’s selections into previous camps is: (1) Jurgen has his favorites just like former coach Bob Bradley did and has his reaches, just like Bradley–so expect a few projects in camp as well as a few head-scatchers (2) Klinsmann favors possession, attacking oriented players at the expense of typically defensive stoppers–perhaps with the thinking that he can mold good athletes/attackers into better defenders, (3) much like any manager Klinsmann prefers to give youth more and more of a chance as you move up from the back. For that reason, vets Herculez Gomez and Chris Rolfe seemly won’t get call again in this one. (Gomez for his part will be at work for Santos Laguna)

What will be interesting here is to see if Klinsmann sticks with what US coaches before him did and makes this a novice camp with one or two veterans or if he makes it more of a “working camp” for the senior team.

Expecting the former and here’s a clearly discounted forecast of what else transpires in advance:


Good to have around in camp: Nick Rimando

Locks: Bill Hamid

Probable: Sean Johnson, Nick Rimando

Bubble: NA

The skinny: This seems pretty set. Hamid has already been tabbed the back-up to Howard–a somewhat interesting call given that he hasn’t featured for the States senior side yet. he should however get the most reps with the “first team” in Carson. Sean Johnson–fresh of U-23 time as well as Everton training–is likely nipping at Hamid’s heals.

And then Nick Rimando–veteran presence in camp; Klinsmann favorite. Note, should Brad Guzan start impressing you’ll see him right back in there fighting for a spot.


Locks: Zach Loyd, Tim Ream, Heath Pearce

Probables: George John, Geoff Cameron, Michael Parkhurst

Bubble: Omar Gonzalez, Chance Myers, AJ De La Garza, Corey Ashe

The skinny: Locks for Klinsmann this camp in the back appear to be Zach Loyd, Tim Ream and Heath Pearce. All have been called in previously under the German in 2011. In regards to Pearce, he’s got the necessary speed and handles; he’s also the ability to shift out wide left if necessary.

After those locks, the centerback pecking order is chaotic; essentially four guys fighting for maybe one? two spots?

Our guess? George John is in. Michael Parkhurst, in as he provides some flexibility like Pearce to play multiple positions. Plus, for Parkhurst, Klinsmann will have a shade less flexibility to get him into camp in 2012 given his club location.

On the bubble? Los Angeles Galaxy pairing Omar Gonzalez and AJ De La Garza. Gonzalez deserves an invite, but I would be one of the few not completely shocked if he didn’t get in.

Still searching for that leftback–our bubble man is Corey Ashe. Why can’t Robbie Rogers be tried back there? Michel Bastos, Juan Vargas and even Fabian Johnson to name three shift to the leftback for club or country for multiple reps.


Zusi, an invite?

Locks: Benny Feilhaber, Mix Diskerud, Jeff Larentowicz, Robbie Rogers

Probables: Freddy Adu

Bubble: Graham Zusi, Luis Gil, Josh Gatt, Dax McCarty

The skinny: Got to believe that Feilhaber gets his runout here (but another guy I wouldn’t be shocked without a call-in).

Larentowicz is the midfield anchor for the second January camp in a row. Your starters accompanying them on the early clipboard depth chart are Robbie Rogers and Mix Diskerud.

Freddy Adu. Will he graduate from U-23 camp in January?

And then wild cards. Zusi deserves a look and there is no deadball specialist ahead of him. Luis Gil conspicuously absent from U-23 camp and Josh Gatt. Gil and Gatt are likely too young, but we’ll make them the two reaches of the column.

And will Dax McCarty get a shot in the Jose Torres role?

Sapong: Shoo-in?


Locks: Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo

Probables: C.J. Sapong

Bubble: Omar Salgado, Terrence Boyd

The skinny: Amazingly, the forwards are perhaps the easier to sort out. Agudelo and Bunbury–starts of last season’s Camp Cupcake 1-1 draw with Chile–should be in camp. C.J. Sapong–just a shade to old for the U-23 squad–makes it as well.

Omar Salgado and Terrence Boyd–unlikely with club commitments–are more reaches for the piece.


• Unknown if players from the U-23 camp will be given a runout again here.

• Somewhat interesting that Sacha Kljestan can’t get a runout for the senior side and Benny Feilhaber not a sniff. Both players are known to have a somewhat me-first–not as bad as Bobby Convey though—attitude. Just something to ponder.

• Any other reaches? Conor O’Brien in Denmark (don’t ask–we don’t know anything about him). Dilly Duka? Ethan White? Perry Kitchen? Nick LaBrocca?

41 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by prizby on 2011/12/13 at 6:57 AM

    the only thing teal bunbury is a lock for is not making a world cup squad


    • Posted by mathmatics on 2011/12/13 at 7:53 AM

      Boom. Take that, 21-year-old-forward-who-can-obviously-not-develop-at-all-over-the-next-30-months.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/12/13 at 8:15 AM

      Canadian, eh?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/13 at 8:22 AM

      Or a lock for the camp as well. Note, he has trained at Stoke City and somewhere this winter I believe.

      Strikers develop in two bands of time. Before their 20’s or around 23 (check the stats) — getting real close here with ALtidore.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/13 at 10:39 AM

        Please expand on your two band development and stat comment. Thank you.


        • Posted by mbw on 2011/12/13 at 10:48 AM

          Ditto — this would make for an interesting data-driven piece.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/13 at 11:49 AM

          There is some research I did once –couldn’t find it when I searched the site–about the age of strikers and when they develop. It was on a Didier Drogba piece I believe.

          Jeff Carlisle did some work on it as well when he was looking at the careers of Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson. Basically you have a 20% I believe you develop before 18. And then a grouping that develop by 23–the so-called Leap.

          Will have to find it.


          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/12/13 at 12:25 PM

            Thanks Matt.
            I was actually asking “what was actually measured?” Not trying to be contrarian, but in the early stage of this data revolution in football, I am fascinated by this subject. And what can be measured effectively and meaningfully.


            • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/13 at 12:46 PM

              Oh, very fair question.

              It was a relative shot on goal & goals vs. start count per season. That simple — not exact science.

              But the consistency after 23 for many strikers is amazing. If there trendline doesn’t pick up consistently by 23 — it typically doesn’t pick up.

    • Posted by JGD on 2011/12/13 at 9:36 AM

      Bunbury has the potential to be the best up-and-coming U.S. striker, better than Agudelo, Altidore, Sapong, or Boyd. Don’t be surprised if he really takes off in the next couple years.


      • Posted by dude on 2011/12/13 at 5:06 PM

        I think it’s foolish to put Boyd down right now, we’ve seen a lot more of the other candidates. Besides, it’s going to depend a lot on how much playing time these players get as well as the qualities JK is looking for.


        • Posted by JGD on 2011/12/13 at 9:00 PM

          I wasn’t trying to put Boyd down…if anything, I was putting him up there with those guys already. I think Boyd’s a tremendous talent…he’s pushing hard for a roster space on Dortmund’s senior squad right now. That says a lot.

          But you’re right, all that matters is what JK is looking to do. In the mean time, I hope these guys can crack the Olympic squad and get some needed experience.


          • Posted by jake on 2011/12/15 at 11:23 PM

            Bunbury? Sorry, but I have to disagree. The guy doesn’t have a soccer brain. He may be the most gifted athlete out of that bunch, but Agudelo and Sapong have such higher soccer IQs. Both of them have more potential that Teal, and are willing to learn the game from players better than themselves, Teal is too arrogant, and will suffer in the long run for it. Just my opinion.


  2. “Unknown if players from the U-23 camp will be given a runout again here.”

    That’s the big question, and I hope that they are, otherwise the whole thing will be so watered down that it might not be worthwhile.

    I think I’m right in saying that the January matchdays are NOT official FIFA friendly dates, so there’s zero chance we see the full squad called up instead.


  3. […] Shin Guardian examines the invitees and potential selections for Klinsmann’s latest […]


  4. Matt, what about the possibility that anyone being considered for the Olympic Qualifying U-23 team may be called into that squad as it runs concurrently and leads up to a tourney US Soccer is taking seriously? Realistic that the complimentary senior squad features more Parkhursts and Herc Gomez’s than Agudelo’s and Diskerud’s?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/13 at 11:53 AM

      It’s a great question and I don’t know the answer because I have 0 idea on how Klinsmann will handle. What we have seen is some firm separation between being a senior team player and a U-23 player. My guess is it you’ll have a few U-23 in January Camp but not more than say 4? Not sure.



      • Posted by Tony on 2011/12/13 at 7:27 PM

        Zusi is in. Good call!


      • We have seen that firm separation up to this point, but who knows which guys go to which camp as we get closer to the most important tournament for US Soccer in 2012. It’s also not a stretch to say we’ll see a much stronger group of U-23’s in London if we qualify than we’ll see in Nashville. Your move Klinsmann.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/12/14 at 6:45 PM


        A little more perspective on how the man views young players:

        “What can the U.S. learn from the European academy system?


        The U.S. has a very impatient sports environment. They want an 18-year-old to already be a superstar. The strength of an academy system, whether South American or European, is that they identify a talent and let him grow at his own pace. Certain players have a technical foundation and can read the game, but they can’t keep up physically yet. It doesn’t mean he gets cut; it means we give him time. We have a couple of forwards from MLS who need time: Teal Bunbury [Sporting Kansas City] is 21, and Juan Agudelo [New York Red Bulls] is 19. I don’t want a really big talent like Agudelo getting burned for something that he’s not yet. The media would like to do that because they need to sell. Totally understandable. But if you’re honest with the player, you tell them no, this is too early. You’ve got to be patient, come off the bench, work harder in training, be emotionally balanced. And if it takes four years, that’s okay. I became a national team player at 23 and still had over 100 caps.”


  5. Posted by jwrandolph on 2011/12/13 at 9:11 AM

    Cheers on the Sapong caption.


  6. Posted by dth on 2011/12/13 at 10:13 AM

    Salgado’s club commitments? Which?

    Obviously there’s about a o% chance Borussia Dortmund will release a striker on the cusp of the first team during their winter break.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/13 at 11:52 AM

      None for Salgado–that was vague
      As for Boyd–interesting that he’s on his way to U-23 camp right now with Dortmund having a game left before the break.

      Dortmund have no other game until January 22nd. I wouldn’t put it above 5% but I wouldn’t say it’s impossible either.


      • Posted by DJ on 2011/12/13 at 12:45 PM

        “As for Boydinteresting that hes on his was to U-23 camp right now with Dortmund having a game left.”

        Boyd is on his way to U-23 camp?? He wasn’t listed on Porter’s roster. Just wondering where you got the scoop on this.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/13 at 12:48 PM


          • Posted by scipio on 2011/12/13 at 1:40 PM

            sick! But does this mean no Sapong?


            • Posted by dth on 2011/12/13 at 2:36 PM

              Sapong’s not u-23 eligible. Maybe as an overage player–but I doubt it. The difference between Sapong and, say, Bunbury and Agudelo is arguable; the difference between say, Geoff Cameron and Ethan White is pretty huge.

      • Posted by dth on 2011/12/13 at 2:38 PM

        While it’s true Dortmund have no game until the 22nd, it’s a bit of a misnomer to call it a “break.” Basically it turns into a break and then a training camp. So Boyd would definitely want to be present for the training camp. For context, winter break training camp was Tim Chandler’s breakout opportunity. Given Dortmund’s oft-mediocre strike force, if Boyd’s the ambitious sort he’d be crazy to leave Germany.


  7. Posted by dj_reverse on 2011/12/13 at 11:43 AM

    Conor O’Brien has no shot at starting, the guy has done absolutely nothing over in Denmark and while having a great trial against Wolfsburgh, is the next Kamani Hill in terms of what he’s produced. Funny you mentioned him though.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/13 at 11:47 AM

      Don’t know anything about him. Klinsmann has given everyone a runout (with the exception of Bradey’s guys: Bornstein, Findley) — Ricardo Clark, Jonathan Spector etc.
      Worth a mention. Doubt you’ll see anything, like you said.


    • Posted by Alex on 2011/12/13 at 4:32 PM

      Did Conor O’Brien spit in your icecream when you were little?? I mean, he went from a 3rd tier Denmark team and was good enough to get onto a 1st division team. And he’s a part time starter and sub. Sure he doesn’t haul in a lot of goals but if Eugene Starkiov can get called in, O’Brien has a shot.


      • Posted by dth on 2011/12/13 at 4:39 PM

        “Not hauling in goals” isn’t necessarily a huge criticism of him either. From my understanding he’s a #10.


      • Posted by dj_reverse on 2011/12/14 at 10:34 PM

        Dude, his best attributes in college were “finishing” and dead ball opportunities. Yes he went from a third tier to a first tier side, but when that third tier is most likely the same as England’s League 2 it puts things in perspective. Had he not performed well against Wolfsburg’s scout team, its debatable if he’d level up. He didn’t steal my ice cream by the way, but when you alienate your college teammates because of your cockyness (i’m not one of them, didn’t go to his school) its says a lot about your character (deity).

        Its also not fair to compare him to Starkiov because he plays in a higher UEFA league. Remember as well that he had a chance at MLS during combines and he was rejected, not saying he’s bad but the nuber 10 he is not. Especially considering short passing is the biggest area his game needs to improve on.


  8. Posted by Luke S on 2011/12/13 at 4:27 PM

    what do you think of sean franklin’s chances?
    think beckerman and shea will be rested as they are considered solidified first teamers now or do you think they will be at some other european clubs training?
    is brad davis still going to be out due to his injury or do you consider him too old to get a look?
    also, do you think chris rolfe and wondolowski won’t be called in due to their age? rolfe’s had a good year and so did wondo.

    also, ethan white, listed in your ‘other reaches’, is hurt and should be out a while.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/12/13 at 7:11 PM

      Sean Franklin took a step back this year. I also think with Cherundolo, Chandler, Loyd, Sheanon Williams ahead of him now he’s going to be challenged to get back in the picture. Outside shot at this camp.

      Shea and Beckerman are at two different player stages. Both “could” be in camp. Beckerman is stop gap while Shea is still a very talented prospect. We’ll know more about JK by which one is selected (or neither.)

      Rolfe, Davis and Wondo all won’t be called because of age I don’t think. Makes sense in my opinion. Very unfortunate for Davis.


      • Posted by Luke S on 2011/12/22 at 10:19 AM

        what do you think of wondolowski making it but not rolfe, especially when we have no true rm’s and that’s where he has been playing? also, it’s discouraging to see jurgen go back on his word in terms of call ups to people who haven’t been seeing regular minutes (ricardo clark). also, very surprised to see ream not in the squad. do you think rogers’ exclusion is telling of a january transfer? i hope so.


  9. Posted by dth on 2011/12/13 at 10:03 PM

    Couple of new call-ups: Kelyn Rowe and Boyd. If we’re calling up college kids, wouldn’t’ve minded a look-see at Tyler Polak, whom–admittedly–I haven’t seen a ton of, but when I have I’ve liked what I’ve seen.


  10. Posted by Marmaduke on 2011/12/14 at 7:28 AM

    I’ve always agreed with you guys on Benny F. The guy has some skills that few others in the system possess. We saw all of him up here in New England this year and (A) he is as talented as I thought (B) he needs to get a handle on his emotions. He has the ability to lose his cool and get stupid cards. More critically to the Revs, he has really bad body language when the team is not playing well (which was often this year). He doesn’t disappear like I feared he would in those situations, but we need more from him. He also needs to show more to force his way back into the US pool.

    I think he will turn it around, but it was an ugly year here and he didn’t help his case much.


  11. How close is Boyd to cracking gameday roster for Dortmund? I’ve read a few different things, and I know he was called in once already this season, though he didn’t see pt. With Goetze out, how much of a chance does that give him? (In other words, where is he in the pecking order? If we know that…?)


  12. Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/12/14 at 10:10 AM

    I think the players called in will be ones that have already been called in and are available plus 5-10 new guys who are available and not going to the U-23 camp.

    Players who should be available who have been to a Klinsman camp before:
    Goodson, Beckerman, Shea, Rogers, Larentowicz, Agudelo, Bunbury, Donavon, Hamid, Rimando, Kljestan, Adu, Pearce, and Ream

    New players to add who are not U-23:
    Cameron, Sapong, Feilhabor, Loyd, McCarty, John, Zusi, Gonzalez

    I think Klinsman is looking for Club starters that are over 23 for his camps or guys who have played at the national team level before. I think anyone who is youth can impress during the olympics and then be intergrated into the team later. When he was head coach for germany his youth movement was to guys who were 24-26 from guys who were 32-36, not from 28-29 to 20-21. Also he was credited with integrating youth, not wholesale going to a young team.

    I see Klinsman’s philosophy as:
    -Build a consistant “core” of 25-35 guys who come to camps and you are comfortable with and then add in 2-3 guys as they show something elsewhere. January camp add maybe 8 guys who are new because of how much of the “core” is unavailable.


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