The U.S. Men's National Team 26-man January camp roster was announced earlier today, and San Jose Earthquakes stars Chris Wondolowski and Clarence Goodson were among the 25 domestic based players named to the MLS-heavy roster.
"We are all very excited for this camp because, as a team, it will give us our first taste of Brazil," head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a U.S. Soccer release. "This is a very important camp in our preparations for the World Cup. It's important for the players to continue developing their bond and sense of urgency for the tournament. It's important for us to see how they do in Brazil, how the new players fit with the group and to make sure everyone is focused on reaching the highest level for next summer."
With most of the European-based national team members unavailable for selection, as is the case every year at this time, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann elected to assemble a roster that will pit numerous World Cup hopefuls against one another in a last chance effort to catch the eye of the team's technical staff. Goodson, just behind presumed centerback starters Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler on the depth chart, will hope to cement his place on the plane to Brazil this June, while Wondolowski will face tougher odds in joining his San Jose teammate at the World Cup.
"Anytime you get called up it is such a true honor," Wondolowski told the San Jose Mercury News. "I think any opportunity I get could be my last one. I want to enjoy it but at the same time put everything I absolutely have into it."
Wondolowski had a breakout year with the national team in 2013, scoring 5 goals in the U.S.'s triumphant Gold Cup campaign and capturing a share of the tournament's Golden Boot award, but is by most considered a long shot to make Klinsmann's final 23-man roster for the World Cup. However, the 30-year old is a known commodity to Klinsmann and, depending on the availability of the other hopefuls at forward -- Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson, Terrance Boyd, Herculez Gomez, and Aron Johannsson to name a few -- could still sneak into the picture later this spring.
Goodson seems more of a lock to make the World Cup roster, especially given the defenders contributions during the qualifying campaign that left the U.S. as the top team in CONCACAF. The 31-year old centerback will represent the third-most capped player at the January camp with 44, a number that eclipses the two presumed incumbents Gonzalez and Besler's combined total of 28 caps. Still, Goodson knows his inclusion in the World Cup roster is not a given.
"The approach is always the same when you step into a national team camp," Goodson told the San Jose Mercury News. "That is to be fully focused to give everything that you have. It's not a god-given right to be there. You have to prove that you deserve to be there day in and day out."
Wondolowski and Goodson will embark this weekend for the first leg of the January camp that begins on Monday at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson. Klinsmann will then select a 23-man squad to travel to Sao Paulo for a two-week training stint that will serve as a dry run for the national team's stay in Brazil this summer. The roster will then reconvene in Carson ahead of an international match against Korea Republic on February 1. Wondolowski and Goodson are expected back in San Jose to join the already in progress Earthquakes preseason camp following the Korea friendly.
Wondolowski is making his fourth consecutive appearance at the USMNT's January training camp. Last year he was joined by former Earthquakes teammates Justin Morrow, not selected this year, and Steven Beitashour, now a member of Iran's national team. Goodson is making his first appearance at the camp as a member of the Quakes.