Next week, more than 20 players will report to the U.S. men's national team month-long training camp in California. While the full roster has not been released, Grant Wahl is reporting that two Sounders veterans — Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans — won't be in attendance.
Last year's camp, which included Evans and Dempsey, was filled with tension. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann criticized the fitness level of MLS players, who arrived at training after a very brief offseason, and two months before the start of the MLS season. Evans also left the camp early after getting diagnosed with tendinitis in his knee.
According to Wahl, Klinsmann's plan this year was to have players arrive on January 4, and focus exclusively on fitness for the first week. After veteran players expressed their concerns, the first day of training was pushed back a week.
However, at least seven veteran players who were on Klinsmann's preliminary 36-player list are no longer expected to be called into training: Dempsey, Evans, Nick Rimando, Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman, Chris Wondolowski, and Omar Gonzalez.
The January camp has historically been used to discover new breakout players, so it is no surprise that a number of young players are expected to attend the January camp, including Jesse Gonzalez, the 20-year-old FC Dallas goalkeeper who's eligible for the U.S. and Mexico, and the Columbus Crew trio of Ethan Finlay, Wil Trapp, and Tony Tchani.
It's hard to know what happens behind the scenes with the national team, but it appears Klinsmann's roster shake-ups will continue for the foreseeable future.
This year's camp culminates with friendlies against Iceland (1/31) and Canada (2/5), both at StubHub Center in Carson. Meanwhile, Dempsey and Evans should both be available for the start of the Sounders training camp on January 22.