VIDEO: Zardes, Parker talk youth-heavy USMNT camp ahead of friendlies

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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).

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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.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Tim Parker (26) fights for control of the ball with Darlington Nagbe (6) of the Portland Timbers during the second half of MLS soccer action in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
(Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

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).