Even Jurgen Klinsmann sounded as if he wasn’t 100 percent sure about this one, about hauling Stoke City’s newly arrived property back to North America.
Cameron was on the 22-man list of names announced Sunday as Klinsmann began gathering U.S. troops in Mexico City. His team meets Mexico on Wednesday.
Cameron is one of three center backs on this young squad, which turned into a hodgepodge of old hands and newbies; some of his top choices weren’t available for different reasons, so this trip became a science lab set-up for a few important experiments. That is, Wednesday’s contest will be a brilliant test for a few lesser experienced types at international level.
Even Cameron, talented as he is, has just five career caps.
So, it’s great on the one hand that he’s in Mexico City today, getting the crash course acclimatization on the altitude and smog there. With Carlos Bocanegra being left in Europe to sort out his highly unstable club situation, Cameron will apparently be the leader in the back against a Mexican attack of abundant pop.
So, good for him. On the other hand …
Cameron just arrived into Stoke City, having only last week secured that prized work permit that finalized his move out of Houston. His season with the English Premier League club begins Saturday, a day after he’ll arrive back into England from nearly halfway around the world.
Cameron played last week as a midfielder for the Potters in a friendly, but this unsettling situation with Stoke City center back Robert Huth (he was diagnosed with meningitis last week) may open a larger door for the former Houston Dynamo man.
The very last thing Cameron needs is to begin this critical stage of his career with a clunker because he simply could not be at his best, physically.
Suffice to say, it’s not ideal to bring Cameron back to North America, just as he gets his feet planted abroad. Klinsmann knows so.
“It is what it is, you know,” the U.S. manager said Sunday evening on a national teleconference from Mexcio. “We would be happier if he had been there for three weeks already. … It was his big goal to get a transfer there. It was a big dream. So, he’s on a very positive path.
“He had a very good [U.S.] June camp. He becomes now more and more consistent. So, he has to deal with this [the logistical challenges]. He has to deal with the travel issues. The other European guys, they come in today and tomorrow, as well, so he has to deal with that.
“It’s a little bit of an emotional roller coaster for him,” Klinsmann admitted. Then the coach said, in effect, things won’t be easy on Wednesday, considering the crowd and blue ribbon opposition. But Klinsmann knows if he can trust Cameron to police the beat in this environment, he can trust the guy pretty much anywhere.