LONDON — After receiving a shock call up for the U.S. national team for their last set of international matches, Miguel Ibarra has taken it all in his stride.
[ WATCH: Ibarra nets superb chip ]
The Minnesota United attacker is coming off a fine season for the Loons as they made the semifinals of the North American Soccer League’s (NASL) postseason but lost to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on penalty kicks on Saturday, allowing Ibarra to be called up to the national team. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining.
Ibarra scored a stunning chip to open the scoring in that match, and dispatched his spot kick in the shootout, but is now looking to end his breakout 2014 season on a high note by impressing U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann against Colombia on Friday in London, and the Republic of Ireland on Nov. 18 in Dublin.
The 24-year-old — who became the first second-tier player to be called up by the USMNT since 2005 — is also eager to learn from the USA’s veteran core as he aims to improve and impress during the training camp in London.
“I am happy to be here, I just finished up my season with Minnesota. So I’m coming back and getting along with the experienced guys, learning from them and listening to whatever they have to tell me,” Ibarra told ProSoccerTalk at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground. “It’s a great experience being out here. It is already the end of the year so you just have to keep working hard and take everything on board they have to tell me and take it in. I am going to take it in and learn a lot from them.”
Ibarra has a penchant for the spectacular, as his chipped goal last Saturday proved, and he scored nine goals and added five assists during Minnesota’s charge towards the regular season NASL title. ProSoccerTalk asked the Californian if he was planning on any more spectacular finishes this week to catch the eye.
“If I have the opportunity then I will take the chance and put it away. Lately they’ve been coming off,” Ibarra smiled. “I will just keep trying them. If they go in, they go in. If not, I will just keep trying.”
During his first call up to the U.S. squad in October, Ibarra did not play against Ecuador in East Hartford and came on as a late sub versus Honduras in Boca Raton. This time around he feels better equipped to make an impression and revealed the differences he has experienced between the NASL and the international level.
“The intensity, the energy, the speed. It’s about getting used to it,” Ibarra said. “Last game I got used to and now I know what to expect.”