U.S. national team camp roster to be announced Friday

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The roster for this year’s annual January national team camp will be released sometime Friday, U.S. national team spokesman Michael Kammarman confirmed to me late Thursday afternoon.

U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann will name 26 players for the camp.

There is something quite important to know about this year’s gathering: it’s anything but a “Camp Cupcake.”

That’s a term I always thought was a little silly anyway. Nothing “cupcake” about early morning sessions of the run-til-you-hurl variety. Nor anything “cupcake” about ambitious, talented players doing all they possibly can to elevate their careers.

Either way, this year’s January camp, which begins Jan. 6 at the usual place, the national team’s training center just outside Los Angeles, will feature more players bound for the World Cup than past winter camps. (Which makes it more newsworthy than past camps.)

That’s not something U.S. Soccer has said officially, but if we examine the recent roster and put a brain around it, this becomes all too clear.

The January camp is usually for MLS players (who are in their off-season) and U.S. men earning their way in Scandinavian leagues (which are on winter break). Well, this time around, about half of the World Cup roster will come from MLS. That’s a big jump from 2010, when just four of the 23 players were Major League Soccer men.

So, expect a dozen or so MLS men who are all but booked for Brazil, plus a few MLS-attached Americans who are breaking into the national team program, or who stand along the bubble of World Cup roster selection.