After 110 caps, 14 goals and a solid-if-unheralded career captaining the United States national team, Carlos Bocanegra is no longer a contributing member of Jurgen Klinsmann’s side.
He’s going to watch his first World Cup as a non-participant since 2002 this summer, in all likelihood. And in an interview with Goal.com, he sounds like he’s mostly got a handle on it… though he isn’t closing the door and he isn’t anywhere near ready to retire from club soccer.
“They stop calling you in and it comes to an end for everybody,” Bocanegra said. “That’s how I looked at it. I gave everything for that team and I feel like I can hold my head up high and be proud, and say, ‘You know what? I don’t have regrets.’ It was them who told me they’re not bringing me in anymore.”
“If someone goes down or whatever, a change of heart, they need me back in there and he thinks I’m playing well for my club team? Great. But if not? I’ll cheer on the team just like I would any other time.”
And it’s not like Bocanegra doesn’t have a challenge to occupy his time. Chivas USA is now 1-1-2 on the season under Wilmer Cabrera, with a win over Chicago and draws against New York and Vancouver.
He’s gone 90 minutes in all four matches, and he’s staring straight-ahead at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.
Personally, I’ve always been a huge fan of Bocanegra and am a bit puzzled that there hasn’t been more of a debate at whether his exclusion is righteous. When a nation is fit to keep a younger player for the experience, why not a vet for, well, the experience.