Gyasi Zardes may be 24 years old, but that makes him older than 11 of his teammates for January’s United States men’s national team camp.
In a camp focused heavily on players eligible for the U-23 national team’s Olympic qualifying playoff, Zardes is also the seventh-most capped player (Which six have more? Brainstorm while you’re reading the rest of this post, then get the answer at the bottom).
Whether that makes him a veteran for Sunday’s match against Iceland and Feb. 5’s showdown with Canada, well, he’s cool either way.
“I’m just me, and if the coaching staff considers me a veteran that’s okay because I actually look up to Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore… those guys, they’re clinical and consistent and I definitely look forward to being like those guys in work ethic.”
Parker (right) said the “mixture of younger guys kinda makes the younger guys want to know each other a bit more”, and he’s definitely happy to have gone from college ball to MLS to the national team in one year’s time.
The 22-year-old Parker is the fifth-oldest of nine defenders in camp, five of whom are looking for their first cap.
Defenders at USMNT camp (age/caps)
Matt Besler (28/29)
Brad Evans (30/25)
Steve Birnbaum (25/1)
Eric Miller (23/0)
Tim Parker (22/0)
Matt Polster (22/o)
Brandon Vincent (21/0)
Matt Miazga (20/1)
Kellyn Acosta (20/0)
*The six players in USMNT camp with more caps than Zardes’ 19 are: Michael Bradley (109), Jozy Altidore (89), Jermaine Jones (56), Mix Diskerud (36), Matt Besler (29) and Brad Evans (85).